At the beginning of October, "The Mark of Athena" was finally released. It is the third of Rick Riordan's "Heroes of Olympus" series which followed the original five-book series featuring Percy Jackson - a Greek demigod whose cut from the same cloth as Harry Potter.
Both find out following a pre-teen birthday that their everyday, troubled lives are actually very special - unbeknownst to them up until that point. Harry is whisked off to Hogwarts while Percy is swept away in Camp Half-Blood.
The "Heroes of Olympus" brings in the competing Roman mythology with the first book's story line where Jason, a Roman demigod, finds himself awakened to realize that Hera has been tinkering with his life - giving him amnesia, taking him from Camp Jupiter (the Roman equivalent of Camp Half-Blood), and depositing him around people he doesn't know at Camp Half-Blood which he didn't realize existed.
In book two, we discover that Percy has experienced the same phenomenon. Amnesia, unknown people, and at Camp Jupiter.
Finally, in this third book, the two camps attempt to come together (something that's never happened before in the history of the either mythology) and face an impending threat from Gaia who wants ALL demigods and their parents destroyed regardless of their ancient affiliation.
Like the Potteresque equivalent, this eighth book is a door-stop. LOL However, it is an easy read. While not as dark at Potter, there's plenty of danger, death, mayhem, battling, self-examination, and savvy problem solving.
The book opens with the Jason and his new Camp Half-Blood compatriots en route to first Camp Jupiter for the first time in history. They know Percy is there but have no idea what kind of reception they will receive. Things start off well but quickly turn disastrous with the intervention of the gods.
This story line is the primary...but there's several others. Each demigod struggles with personal challenges and doubts. Additionally, one character (Percy's girlfriend Annabeth - a daughter of Athena) has a separate quest that weaves in and out of the primary unifying-against-Gaia theme.
The book ends with a huge, obvious cliff hanger that makes me wonder if Riordan or his publisher said "well, this would be a good place as any to stop. This book is already 500+ pages." So, I will wait another year or so until book four comes out - but wait I will because this is quickly becoming my favorite young adult series, even outshining Harry Potter.
Somehow Riordan writes complicated and in-depth story lines with a simple art that causes the reader to sit for hours to just keep reading and reading to see what happens next. His character pool has reached a size that it's starting to get hard to keep everyone, their parentage, their issues, and their story line separate but hanging on for the ride is WELL worth it.