Because I read these back-to-back and they're from the same series/involve the same characters, I'm going to do a combined review. *The review contains spoilers.*
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publish Date: October 4, 2011 / October 2, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure, Mythology, Romance
Rating: 5/5 Stars
The Son of Neptune - Beginning at the "other" camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven. (To read the rest of the blurb, click here.)
The Mark of Athena - Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. (To read the rest of the blurb, click here.)
Percy - We know Percy from the infamous Percy Jackson series. (Which lives up to its expectations, I assure you. It's just as much a part of my childhood as Harry Potter) He's a loyal, strong, and smart demigod with a knack for accomplishing impossible quests. As a son of Poseidon, he has control of the sea, and water gives him strength. Life hasn't exactly been good for him, but he has Annabeth, Grover, and now the rest of the seven half-bloods.
Annabeth - Annabeth is also one of the famous characters from the Percy Jackson series. A daughter of Athena, she's extremely smart and a good warrior, too. Because she became an orphan at the age of seven, she is extremely independent and knows what she wants to get out of her life. Her strength is outstanding.
Jason - Jason is a son of Jupiter and a demigod from the Roman camp. He first appears in The Lost Hero, and is a leader similar to Percy. He's a little less loyal to his friends, and sometimes we find him a bit confused about whose side he's on--the Romans or the Greeks. Jason befriends Piper and Leo at the Wilderness School where they become good friends (or supposedly so, because the Wilderness School was a trick of the Mist).
Piper - Piper, a daughter of Aphrodite, has a famous father and a sweet temperament. She and Jason are dating--and supposedly were at the Wilderness School, though that was also a trick of the Mist. She's beautiful, and over the course of The Son of Neptune and The Mark of Athena, finds courage she doesn't know she has.
Leo - Leo is a funny, light-hearted, son of Hephaestus. But inside he feels lonely--he's the outsider of the seven, the one who no one pays attention to. He uses his skills in mechanics to built the Argo II, a ship that sails them to Rome in The Mark of Athena. There Leo learns about his own strengths and weaknesses, and we get to see more of him as a character. I have to say, I missed Leo while reading The Son of Neptune. He definitely brings a lot to the story.
Hazel - Hazel is a daughter of Pluto, and has a curse that is seemingly irreversible. Her brother, Nico di Angelo, rescued her from the Underworld, so technically she lived in the 1940s. Nevertheless, she fits in well with the rest of the demigods and knows her place. Frank is her boyfriend, and they meet at the Roman camp where they are both newbies. She's a good addition to the seven and does have a temper--but along with that comes a girl who is extremely caring, in spite of her father.
Frank - Frank, a son of Mars, is actually very sweet. A small, half-burnt stick determines has control of his life--when it burns, he burns. It is literally his lifeline, and this makes him vulnerable. Once he becomes close with Hazel, he entrusts the stick to her for safekeeping. Frank is a good friend to have--especially in battle, because his family history also gives him the power to shapeshift.
Overall, I adore these books, and I'm anxiously awaiting the fourth book in the series, House of Hades. And Rick Riordan is coming to my town in October, so I'll get to meet him! Eek! *insert fangirly, high-pitched squealing here*