The Heroes of Olympus series. This was quite unacceptable. To be so woefully behind on my Rick Riordan is downright embarrassing. There was simply nothing left to do but remedy the situation.
I had read The Lost Hero back in 2010 when it was released and obviously loved it, as I have all of Rick Riordan's books. In The Lost Hero, fans of Percy Jackson are introduced to new residents (Leo and Piper) from Camp Half-Blood as well as a somewhat unexpected character who seems to be of Roman heritage instead of Greek. It's fairly surprising that Jason Grace seems only to know the gods by their Roman aspects instead of Greek. This gives fans a whole new avenue to explore and much more to learn about classic mythology. And, thankfully, Annabeth is also there hoping to find the recently gone missing Percy.
As with the previous series, the demigods accept a quest. This time they are charged with freeing Hera. Those of us who are familiar with the Percy Jackson series know that dealing with Hera will be no picnic. Not only must the demigods come to the aid of this tricky goddess, they must come to understand her role in Percy's disappearance.
And this is where readers are able to join the story in The Son of Neptune. In this installment, Percy is finally located (sigh of relief, right?). But, like Jason, he has no memory of his past save faint notions of Annabeth. Percy finds himself at Camp Jupiter, the Roman training ground for demigods, as a result of Hera's plan to unite the Romans and the Greeks. Well, that sounds great, but this union won't come as easily as one might hope. These folks have spent centuries hating one another.
In this installment, readers are able to meet two more new main characters: Hazel and Frank. Both of these characters bring with unique abilities to the story. As you might expect, a quest is required of these demigods as well as our old friend Percy. This is where readers learn the true threat in this series is the old earth goddess, Gaea. Forget all notions of a kindly mother earth. That's not what we've here people. Percy, who the Romans certainly identify as Greek, hopes to gain respect their respect by accompanying Hazel and Frank on this dangerous quest.
Finally, we find ourselves with a complete grasp on the fact that the Greeks and Romans must unite in order to save the world from the rise of Gaea and her wretched horde of monsters. This is where The Mark of Athena begins. Communication between Camp Jupiter and Camp Half-Blood has been established and the Argo II manned by Leo, Piper, Jason, and Annabeth head for the west coast to meet with the Roman demigods. Their hope is that Jason's presence will foster a warm welcome, and that Percy's presence with the Romans will encourage the Romans to accept the help of the Greeks. And, you know, that might have worked if only Leo had not been possessed by an eidolon causing him to launch an attack on Camp Jupiter. Yeah, attacking a camp of Romans is not a good plan.
In accordance with the prophecy of seven, the crew of the Argo II, is joined by Hazel, Frank, and Percy. These seven demigods embark upon the most dangerous quest yet. They must stop Gaea and her army. This will take them all the way to Rome, which is quite a dangerous place for a demigod. To make matters worse, the quest is not the only goal. Annabeth must also follow the mark of Athena in order to mend the relationship between the Romans and the Greeks. No pressure Annabeth, but children of Athena have been trying for centuries.
Oh my! Here is what I can tell you. These books are worth it. I'm so glad I got myself up to date on the series, but The Mark of Athena ends in a giant cliff hanger. So, here I sit, nervous about what is going to happen next with no choice but to wait until October when The House of Hades will be released. I guess that's what I get. The up side to this, however, is that Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters will be released in theaters in mere weeks (August 7!). Check out the official movie site and trailer here.