This is book 3 in the Heroes of Olympus series, which follows the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. You should read the Percy Jackson series first and this post will have spoilers for that series and the other two books in the Heroes of Olympus.
Annabeth, Jason, Piper, and Leo are nervous about entering the Roman camp, but they manage to keep safe from Terminus and things seem to be going great. However Leo fires on the camp and the 4 plus Percy, Hazel and Frank manage to escape with their lives. The Argo II is damaged, which forces them to stop for repairs in Kansas. While in Kansas, Piper, Jason, and Percy learn that they will be fighting two giants to save Nico, Hazel's brother and son of Hades. They also learn they will need the help of Bacchus/Dionysus to defeat the pair. It is there that Jason and Percy try to kill each other and Piper manages to diffuse the situation. She learns the pair and Leo have eidilons or ghosts controlling them, but she is able to banish the spirits for a time. The group travels to Rome and it is in Rome that Annabeth will have her own quest. She must find the Mark of Athena and save the Athena Parthanos statue to prevent war between the Greeks and Romans and to help the gods not be divided by their duel natures. She must face down one of her biggest fears, but do it completely alone. THe others will be focused on defeating the giants and saving Leo. Can the group of seven succeed or will the cost be the lives of two demigods? The cliffhanger ending will have readers on edge for the 4th and peniultimate book in the series.
I love all of Riordan's books. They are filled with humor and suspense and while geared toward a young teen/tween audience, I think adults can appreciate the humor and his detailed attention to the myths of Greece. The end really surprised me and it will be hard to wait a year to find out what will happen next. I was worried that the 7 character perspective would be confusing, but Riordan manages to make each story flow into the next one and each character still has a unique personality and way of looking at things. I loved how he showed the growth of each character. All of them struggle with issues of trust and each learns that they must work as a team and sometimes give up the lead in order for the quest to succeed. Riordan manages to make each of the seven seem like the main character.
Favorite Character: It is hard to choose, but in this particular book, I liked Leo the best. He has some of the funniest lines and he most of all learns how to interact better with people.
Favorite Quote: "'I teach music and poetry!' Aphros said. 'Life skills! Homemaking! These are important for heroes.'"
"'Being a hero doesn't mean you're invincible. It just means that you're brave enough to stand up and do what's needed.' 'And what if I don't know what's needed.' 'That's what your friends are for.'"
This is my favorite book in this series so far and possibly my favorite series book read this year. Definitely 5 cups of cocoa!