Yes, I know. I was very late in reading The Mark of Athena. The two jobs + social life + random classes = very little personal time. But I finally got around to it. May I say, it is glorious.
Following the same heroes from the earlier books, (Percy, Annabeth, Leo, Piper, Jason, Frank, and Hazel) this book is the first to have them all together and on the quest to take down Mother Earth. (Actually Gaea, but Mother Earth should suffice.) It is the most epic of the series so far with both Percy and Jason together. I, personally, enjoyed them both testing each others limits and patience as they tried to win whatever pissing contest existed between them. One would expect this. Percy is the son of Poseidon and Jason is the son of Jupiter. They can help but passive aggressively fight for control. Of course, I side with Percy. (At one point, when possessed, they actually fight. It was awesome. Points to Riordan for giving us the fight we wanted without it actually being a fight. ) It almost doesn’t need to be said that it’s really Annabeth that is running this game–as the title suggests.
If you didn’t like Leo before, by the end of this book you will. He matures(?) in such an awesome way. Yet, he still enjoys playing the clown. To be honest, I enjoy how everyone continues to mature. Especially Percy and Annabeth. I remember when he was such an aloof little child and it seems the constant threat of death beats some fortitude in even the most unlikely of heroes.
I was bound to love this book as I have loved every one in this series (and the one before). The mix of reality and mythology so perfectly balanced; characters that are funny and memorable.