Disney-Hyperion, 2013. 978-1423146728
Synopsis: After Percy and Annabeth fall into the depths of the Underworld, they must brave the barren and dangerous landscape teeming with monsters that want to destroy them in order to find the Doors of Death. Meanwhile, the remaining crew of the Argo II (Piper, Jason, Frank, Hazel, Leo, and Nico) steers an equally dangerous above ground course toward Athens to find the House of Hades to rescue Annabeth and Percy…that is, if they can make it out of the underworld alive and the Argo II cane reach Athens before Gaia uses the doors to unleash her giants and begin her war with the Olympians.
Why I picked it up: Shamefully, I had forgotten the release date until a friend texted me and reminded me to pick up a copy. Also: MARK OF ATHENA CLIFFHANGER!!!!
Why I finished it: Now that all of the players in the Prophecy of Seven have assembled themselves (only to be broken into two parties), the reader gets a chance to experience the story from each of the seven’s point of view. We follow Annabeth and Percy through the darkness of the underworld, where they meet with some old foes and gain a new ally. Above ground, we learn that Hazel’s role in this portion of the quest is changing and that she must learn some sorcery in order to help keep her friends alive. Frank sort of comes into his own in this book and I like the direction that Riordan takes his character: he’s becoming more comfortable with himself and learning not to second-guess his abilities as a child of Mars (Ares). Along with new threats, some old familiar faces from previous Heroes and Percy Jackson books are reappearing to combat the crew of the Argo II as well. The only thing that kind of bummed me out was that though Riordan includes Nico, he’s still stuck as a secondary character. Granted, he does play a role in helping the chosen seven reach their goal and he prefers to be in the background as a character, but I still don’t know that he’s getting enough credit. The plot starts us out full speed and keeps up the pace throughout, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of action, adventure, and emotion as Riordan sets the stage for the fifth installment that, in my opinion, won’t come soon enough.
Other related materials: The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) by Rick Riordan; The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 2) by Rick Riordan; The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 3) by Rick Riordan; Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan; Olympians series by George O’Connor; Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome by E.M. Berens; 100 Characters from Classical Mythology: Discover the Fascinating Stories of the Greek and Roman Dieties by Malcolm Day; Oh My Gods: A Modern Retelling of Greek and Roman Myths by Philip Freeman; The Everything Classical Mythology Book: Greek and Roman Gods, Goddesses, Heroes, and Monsters from Ares to Zeus by Lesley Bolton; Greek and Roman Mythology graphic novels by Cirro Oh & C.S. Chun; Underworlds series by Tony Abbott; The Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan; Ranger’s Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan; Land of Stories books by Chris Colfer;