Argo redux

I preordered Riordan's latest novel, The Mark of Athena, back in April. I had largely forgotten it until a couple of weeks ago, when I got an email that lasership was unable to deliver it, because the address was no good. Given that they've been delivering here for a couple of years without trouble, that was a bit weird.

In any event, I placed the same order (again with Amazon), and got it with no problem a couple of days later (even saving a penny in the process). I started it just about right away, and finished it earlier today.

It was not as good as the earlier books, I thought. I really didn't like the use of the eidolons (the first appearance felt a bit contrived, in particular). And much of the book just felt... Formulaic isn't quite the right word, but it's close. Kind of like, now we have a mini-quest for these two, then these three, etc.

Part of the problem was that I hadn't read the previous books in quite a while. It's possible that I'd have liked it more if I reread them right before reading this one.

Or maybe it just felt less focused because there were more demigods on the quest.  That wasn't exactly a surprise going in, and maybe I'm making more of it than I should.  Maybe it was just a pacing issue, with characters thinking more about things that were not immediately confronting them.  Maybe it was the perspective being mostly from the women.  But regardless of the reason, I had less trouble putting this book down than any of his earlier volumes.

There were no major chances from previously, however.  It was the same people, the situations were similar.  New threats kept coming at them.  The gods kept interfering.  Some threats were not touched at all, and are waiting for later.

I definitely liked Tiberinus and Rhea Silvia appearing out of Roman Holiday.  And I'm quite curious to know more about the Athena Parthenos.  In doing a little bit of online searching, I might have seen one of the copies of that, in the Louvre, a few years back.  If so, I had no idea about it, however.

I'd need to go back and reread a Jason and the Argonauts retelling, to see how closely this hewed to that.  I think not nearly as closely as the first series paralleled the labors of Hercules, though.

And the ending was certainly interesting, with somewhat of a Breaking of the Fellowship vibe to it, plus a certain irony in looking back to the title of the first book.  I certainly still want to see where the next volume goes (not geographically, of course, as that seems pretty obvious).

Overall, it was a good book, falling down mostly in comparison to the earlier tomes.

Update: I forgot to mention one huge miss in scale.  They go to the Atlanta aquarium, and mention a large tank there having 50k gallons of water.  For reference, that's a medium-large sized home pool.  An Olympic pool, for comparison, is at least (the dimensions only define a minimum depth, not a maximum) 660k gallons.  A large tank at a commercial aquarium can be several million gallons.  Not a big deal, but it was off by enough that I noticed it while reading, and had to stop to look up just how far off it was (because I instantly knew it was off by quite a bit; we had a 42k gallon pool in a house I lived in for a few years, growing up).

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