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I'm a long time reader - since way back when I was seven. That makes it over three quarters of my life that I will be a reader for. But it is worth it. When I'm not reading or wasting my time online on here or Goodreads I'll be off playing video games, studying teaching and messing around with friends and pop culture. Or reading some more.
The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, #3) - Rick Riordan
Well, that was a brilliantly entertaining book which I personally feel is Riordan's best effort to date out of any of his books. I am even including [b:The Last Olympian|4502507|The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)|Rick Riordan|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327924597s/4502507.jpg|4551489] in that statement. However it must be noted that as much as I love the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series I rate The Heroes of Olympus far above those novels.

There are several reasons I love The Heroes of Olympus to a greater extent. Firstly, the books lose the first person perspective of Percy Jackson while keeping the same charming tone I love about the original series. The third person perspective used for the writing therefore really helps remove the biased sense of the narration, granting the story allowance for parallel plotlines. Which of course leads into the second reason I love these books so much. This being that The Heroes of Olympus series features a vastly increased world from that of the originals. Rather than simply focus on Greek deities and myths it expands to include Roman mythology in a unique and fascinating way. The very thought that the gods are ideas powered by mankind is put to incredible use in this series in my view.

It's not only the increased amount of mythology which is better, it's the increased amount of characters and the visible progress in characterisation. Admittedly in the original series there is a lot of character progress, however it's more of a linear 'hero's journey' style in which Percy becomes the hero who saves the world. In this series the characterisation reaches different complex levels which are impressive for any children's fiction series. The characters struggle with relationships, hardships and their identity in a way that is organic.

The Mark of Athena is one of those books that draws you into its world from the opening line. The other impressive aspect is that it manages to keep you there for a whole 572 pages. It also quickly brings you up to speed on what went on in the previous two books with mentions of what was going on previously. And, might I add, there is a lot to remember about what happened previously with all the different giants and Gaia, not to mention the new demigod heroes! However, once the introduction and reunion of all the heroes is out of the way the book begins to introduce quest after quest after quest, all at breakneck speed and in a way that's not at all forced. This book, I must say, was brilliantly paced.

The ending was amazing and at the same time frustrating. I never like a cliff-hanger ending. Especially when it means that two people are literally falling down a 'cliff' of sorts. However I thought the way Riordan wrote this cliff-hanger really worked. For someone who hates cliff-hangers in TV shows, movies and books it worked very nicely indeed.

I recently started my 13 year old sister on this series and despite her still being a developing reader she's found these books easy reads for 500 pages. I certainly plan on recommending them to any future children I may teach or be a parent/guardian of. Fully recommended for anyone who wants an entertaining novel to read or a book to share with a child. Although I'd make sure the child is old enough to grasp some of the concepts, however I think these books would be perfect for discussing morality and actions with children in an entertaining way.

To finish I must apologise for not crowding my review with ten gifs and only a few words as appears to be the normal procedure for children's and young adult novels. I'll have to get with the program in my next review - or not!