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Lore by Alexandra Bracken #BookReview

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love, and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals. They are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory after her family was murdered by a rival line. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man—now a god—responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek her out: Castor, a childhood friend Lore believed to be dead, and Athena, one of the last of the original gods, now gravely wounded.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and a way to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to rejoin the hunt, binding her fate to Athena’s, will come at a deadly cost—and it may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Title: Lore | Author: Alexandra Bracken | Publisher: Disney Hyperion | Pub. Date: January 5th, 2021 | Pages: 576 | ISBN13: 978-1484778203 | Genre: Fantasy/Greek Mythology| Language: English | Source: e-arc via NetGalley | Starred Review

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Lore Review

How do you cope if you don’t really like yourself, and want to escape your destiny? Melora (Lore) has ghosts haunting her, and it’s fair to say there’s the looming possibility of death that hovers over her as well. 

This book has a really intriguing concept. It’s Greek mythology meets the Hunger Games in modern New York City. 

Lore is a kick-ass feminist YA fantasy novel that combines intrigue and action while developing a rich protagonist. Lore’s an intriguing character who’s wrestling with a lot of demons. She’s haunted by choices she’s made and regrets she has, and she’s scarred by loss. These factors inform a lot of her decisions. When someone from her past (that she believed was dead) shows up, she feels her old life imposing on the new life she’s carved out for herself. She’s still determined to avoid her past, but circumstances prevent that. When she finds an injured god on her doorstep, she has to make some tough choices that pull her back into the Agon, where she has to fight for her life against the descendants of the ancient bloodlines, old gods, and new (false) gods who remain. 

The tension between Lore’s old life and new life affects her motivation and choices throughout the entire story. On one hand, this is an action-packed book. Lore has to sneak into buildings, spy on enemies for information, and flee for her life on multiple occasions. There are also a lot of fight scenes. It isn’t enough that Lore’s own life hangs in the balance; her roommate is a potential target who doesn’t have supernatural abilities and has no idea what he’s been pulled into. As the last of her bloodline, Lore has to scramble to find allies wherever she can, and trust isn’t easy to come by. It doesn’t help that there are a lot of secrets Lore’s keeping, and she’s still wrestling with her guilt.

One one level, this is a story about epic battles and rival bloodlines, with sinister gods who will do anything to win the Agon. On another level, there’s a deep love between Lore and Castor that’s evident from the start of the story, but there are a lot of obstacles that make it hard for them to trust each other, and the possibility of a future seems hopeless. Their focus is on surviving the Agon, and as events progress this seems less and less likely.

Lore also has a rich character arc. She comes to terms with her past, and the choices she’s made that have affected her life and her relationships. 

The multiple layers of the story had me thoroughly engrossed. I felt like no part of the story lagged, and I was just as interested in their recon operations and battles as I was in her history and how it impacted the present. Honestly, after a number of great reads, I couldn’t put this book down. And it’s important to note that none of the critical storytelling elements were sacrificed. The character development was as comprehensive as the plot and subplots, and there were plenty of surprises along the way.

Lore is also one of the strongest feminist stories I’ve read in a long time. I thought it was intriguing that the author raised the fact that history is written by the victors, and that as the rulers within their society, men determined what myths were passed on and changed the substance of them. There were a lot of bloodlines and names to keep straight, and I think it would have been easier to read this in hard copy, because there was a directory at the back. I had an e-arc, so I didn’t flip back and forth. Still, the volume of names and groups didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story at all. 

Bracken uses an immersive writing style and takes you right inside the character, allowing you to feel her pain and uncertainty as she wrestles with the choices she’s forced to make, and this suits the story very well. It would have made my top 5 reads of the year if I’d read it earlier, but since I finished it after our best of lists were done, it counts as my first 5/5 read for my 2021 list.


You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads. (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Spoiler
child death, terminal illness, sexual assault

Published inBook ReviewsFantasy Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

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