I read the new entry in the Percy Jackson/Heroes of Olympus universe by Rick Riordan, Mark of Athena. Here’s my opinion:
What I liked:
Realism - The book and the series as a whole is filled with real people that do realistic things in the face of adversity, i.e. heroes.
Relationships, unromantic. Since all the characters have been introduced in previous books, I was delighted to see how these personalities clash and conform to each other throughout the book. I wished more attention was dealt to the group as a whole, but I feel that will come with later entries as this gives a more fragmented view as how
Detail - As in all of Rick Riordan's books, tons of myths and callbacks from previous books are evident. I found myself looking up more information on these old gods as much as I did looking up references to the other books.
What I didn’t like:
Relationships, romantic. There are great moments of romance in this book, but they rest squarely between Percy and Annabeth. Without giving spoilers, there are three moments spread throughout this book that show how these two characters have grown to both support and care about each other. And that’s the key word. Show. The other characters romantic relationships are just told to us through passages of internal narration that leave little to be desired.
Shifting narration - As Riordan’s other series, The Kane Chronicles, I think this book suffers from having a central narrator. I see why he would want to show multiple viewpoints, especially with such a diverse cast, but something is lost as it feels we get less in the way of following a story and more plodding from one place to another.
Pacing - Tied to the shifting narration is the choppy pacing of the book. One location to the next, jumping from action to long periods of quiet contemplation. This works at times, but the focus on all the various characters in their own narrated chapters breaks the book into fight/wait, fight/wait, instead of keeping the plot moving.
Was it banned?
No, it’s new. So far, I can see no particular instance of banning of this series, but parents may have issues with some of the relationship things, however chaised they are, the dark elements of the books and the violence.
Who would like this?
Teens and older who liked the Percy Jackson series or Harry Potter, boys and girls alike. The same attention to detail and humor with likeable characters exists here, just get ready when the power of love does not solve everything. Anyone who digs greek and roman mythology. Possibly comic book readers, as these kids have awesome powers. Aquaman can be cool.