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December 2012

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Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate — or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
– Synopsis from Sarah Beth Durst’s Official Website

I loved Durst’s idea. Gods needing human hosts in order to walk the earth. The nomadic life of the desert people, who depended on the gods in order to survive was also well thought out. So when the Great Drought threatens to kill them all, each clan must sacrifice one boy it girl, a vessel, who will give up their body for their god or goddess. In turn, this deity will look after the clan. Our protagonist, Liyana, is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice but on the night of her ceremony, her goddess does not come. Abandoned by her clan, she is left distraught. Eventually she embarks on a quest with the trickster god, Korbyn, to find the missing gods.

Sounds promising, right? And it was. Unfortunately we spend half of the book gathering forces with the other vessels, which to be honest gets very dull after a while. I know finding the others was necessary but couldn’t Durst have spiced things up a not with an interruption? They could have made another detour or two to liven things up a bit.

My other complaint would have to be the segments with the emperor of the Crescent Empire. It wasn’t clear that he had some sort of involvement with the rest of the story and I was often tempted to skip his chapters near the beginning. Some hint that he was even in the same timeline would have been helpful.

Liyana was a strong character. She was smart, wise, and resourceful. I read a review on Goodreads that criticised her viewpoint in the ethics of gods killing mortals in order to inhabit their body. For the majority of the book, she is perfectly fine with this sacrifice and so this reader was frustrated that she didn’t question it and change her mind. Liyana is a very loyal character so if she believed that this was the only way to save the ones that she lived, the that’s what she would do. If you look at it that way, then you can only admire her. But towards the end, she does take a different perspective on things when she discovers that there is another way.

Atmitedly, the ending was not to my liking. A brief love triangle appears and after a showdown with some super pissed sky serpents, it’s all over. I don’t like how her relationship problem is solved but I’m glad that she didn’t die. It’s pretty clear to me that there won’t be a sequel which saddens me. No more Korbyn. Can I just state that he was my favourite character?! For a long time he was my only reason for continuing this novel.

So what do I rate it?

Well, it’s been a very long time since I have blogged. I have a very good explanation for that. It’s called A-Levels, that stage in the British Education system before university. It’s really stressful. I apologise for neglected this blog and it’s followers.

Anyway, quite some time ago, Riordan’s sequel to The Son of Neptune was published. As busy as I’d been, I completely forgot about it (shame on me!). Then I realised I was broke anyway :'(
But then I got some money from the BOD (Bank of Dad) for a school trip to Canterbury. It was not my decision. To go there and buy the book but there was a beautiful Waterstones store & the MoA was being displayed by the window.

All the books beckoned to me and I finally gave into my weakness.

But you don’t care about that! You want a review. Well here we go:

“Seven half-bloods must answer the call”

The very first thing that astounded me at the end of The Son of Neptune was the possibility that the Romans and the Greeks could actually work together. Both Percy & Jason had integrated themselves in the worlds of their opposing camps, and that gave the readers hope. The Mark of Athena see Percy and Annabeth finally reuniting. It’s so romantic and it just made me so happy.

But in classic Riordan style, something goes horribly wrong and the Romans and the small cohort of Greeks have a fall out and everything goes nuclear.

The prophecy (or two):
So obviously you can’t go through a Heroes of Olympus book without referring to the Greay Prophecy, and so our Seven demigods (one can only assume at this stage that the are the Chosen Seven) seek to close the Doors if Death. There also happens to be another prophecy directly referring to The Mark of Athena, and it’s no spoiler that it has something to do with Annabeth. But what is The Mark of Athena? Well, I can’t spoil that one for you. Riordan is cryptic about his prophecies (as usual- but then, all prophecies should be!) and neither one seems to have a definitive ending. The cliffhanger at the end will attest to that. It’s so amazing many fans have dubbed it the ‘Rickhanger’. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

The Characters:

One of the the things that strike me most about this book I’m afraid is the cover. This isn’t just me being superficial. Like many fans I waited a year for this book with not much more to go on but the book cover for quite some time. So when I saw Percy and Jason going head to head like that I felt like I was being torn apart. Is Riordan going to make us choose between them? It turned out that the reason for that fight was different to what I had imagined. Having said that, it was pretty clear throughout the book that the two demigods had a sort of alpha male rivalry going on. Both were used to being leaders and so when they end up on the same quest, it’s hard for them to adjust. You should see the tension emanating between them when they both try to sit at the head table! No wonder Zeus and Poseidon don’t get along. Both were born to lead.

What can I say about Annabeth in this book? Brave would be an understatement. She knew the risks that she would face; knew of the enemy that awaited her but still she had enough courage to do what needed to be done. Separating herself from Percy when they had just gotten together must have been heartbreaking. And when two certain children of the Big Three had their Alpha Mall stand-offs, she was there to do the leading. Gotta give her a lot of respect in this novel.

Leo, Leo, Leo. He had to put up with a lot of stick in this one. From the word go he’s being blamed for something that wasn’t his fault. He feels like the seventh wheel… I mean, you’ve heard of the 3rd wheel so being the 7th must REALLY suck! Then of course there’s the weirdness between him and Hazel. Sorry, I can’t elaborate on that one.

There are some interesting characters that appear of the godly variety, such as none other than Nemesis herself. You know, the one that took her kid’s eye out as payment. You remember Ethan Nakamura, right?
Then there’s the matter of finding out about what really happened to Sammy and how a certain demigod fits into this link.

The Plot: Unfortunalty I can’t say I remember much about this book now, having read it in October or November or something. Seems so long ago! I can however tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know you will too! (Well, I hope so anyway). One of favorite parts (spoiler alert!) is when they meet Dionysus’ Roman version, Bacchus. Totally awesome 🙂

And now I will leave you with these nice pictures I found online about how much I want the sequel, The House of Hades: