At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?
They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.
As we know, RR really likes his freaking cliffhangers and Mark of Athena was no freaking exception. I mean Annabeth and Percy were dropped into freaking Tartarus. And that's where he ended the freaking book. Are you kidding me, RR?! Are you kidding me?! What am I supposed to do with that?? Read House of Hades, obviously. So I did, and I loved it.
Hades' kids get a bad rap. I think this was ultimately RR's intention with this entire series. Select the children of the gods who are the most under appreciated, or ridiculed, or even feared and show everyone (including us readers) why everything we think about them is completely false. Book by book, plot by plot. And boy, do I love every second of it.
I love both Nico and Hazel in this book. I loved Nico before this book (I've always loved him, even when he was 10 and popping skeletons out of the ground in the Olympians series), but Hazel really won me over in this book too. Hades' kids are often feared because they're associated with death, darkness and negativity. Nico internalizes that as a character, and we get to see him combat this in this book (series, really) as he accepts himself and the other characters as friends. Hazel is just BA in this book. She's got some crazy skillz, but instead of increasing everyone's fear, her personality just wins everyone over. I loved seeing her dynamic in this group setting!
Annabeth and Percy. Oh man. They're in freaking Tartarus (I don't think I mentioned...) trying to get to the Doors of Death. It's horrible, every breath is killing them. Every noise could be a monster, and one they've killed before. I started getting twitchy just from reading about their experience in that place. But at the same time, it was the absolute most one on one character time we've seen between them in these books. It was such an interesting dynamic, because I loved them together, but I hated their context.
5 out of 5 stars.