By Alexandra Bracken
Publication Date: January 5, 2021
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53375824-lore”?Goodreads
A few CW for this book: Sexual assault, violence, and death (of parents, kids, others)
I’m a sucker for any retellings on Greek mythology, and Lore hit the spot for me. It’s the perfect mashup of The Hunger Games meets Percy Jackson.
Every seven years, the old Greek gods become mortal and are hunted by the descents of ancient bloodlines who can gain immortality and the god’s power by killing them. Lore Perseous has hidden away from her community to escape the bloodshed after the brutal murder of her family by a rival line. However, Lore gets drawn back into the world on the eve of the new Agon when an old, thought to be dead friend, Castor reenters her life and a gravely wounded Athena ends up on doorstep. Determined to end the bloodshed of the Agon once and for all, Lore binds her fate to Athena and gets swept up in a large scheme of revenge, betrayal and violence once again.
I loved this book! Yes, there were a few things I would have liked to have been different (we’ll get to that in a minute), but once this story got going, I was hooked. I ended up devouring the pages and could not wait to see what happened next. Bracken’s plotting was superb as there were so many great little hints and breadcrumbs left that setup big reveals later on in the story. I loved the big twist as well that happens in the later part of the book. It didn’t feel like it blindsided me, yet I was still shocked by it and loved realizing all the hints were there before that should have made the reveal more obvious.
I loved the spin Bracken put on the Greek gods and mythology. It both felt like a thoroughly modern take on the Greek mythology, yet also a classic interpretation of the myths and stories. My favorite reinterpretation she wove into the book was around Medusa. The conversation between Lore and Athena about Medusa was possibly one of my favorites. I loved how the story of Medusa was reframed from her being a monster to her being a survivor and regaining the power and ability to protect herself. Much like many Greek myths, Medusa was a victim of sexual assault and the conversation recenters her story on being able to turn men to stone as a way for her to regain control of her body and have the power to protect herself. I never thought of it that way, I truly loved that reframing. I also found many parts of this book incredibly feminist. The society Lore grew up in is incredibly patriarchal and men look down on the women, and I love that Lore pushed against that. I also loved that Lore called out Athena for only backing male heroes because honestly, what is the deal with that? I love Athena but she did little for the ladies in her day and age.
I also loved Bracken’s writing in this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read one of her books, but I found so many lines that I loved while reading this and just found the story really empowering in a way. I literally have so many quotes from this book saved in my phone that gave me chills while reading them.
Now, one thing I wish this book did better was setting up the world more at the beginning. I was definitely a bit confused at the beginning as to what the Agon was, how it worked and who all the key players were. There are a lot of names thrown out there in the beginning as it was hard to keep track of who all the ancient bloodlines were, what God’s they were associated with and balance that with the rules of the Agon, how it works, the different roles people play and everything. The more the story progressed, the easier it became to understand this, but I could have used a little more world building and explanation at the start as I did feel a bit confused for a while on all the details.
I also wish Lore was aged up a bit. Yes, I know this is YA, but Lore felt like she was in her early 20s, not 17. When I realized she was 17, I was like huh. Her personality just really doesn’t read that age to me at all and I felt like she had gone through a LOT in her 17 years. I can see some people also finding Lore’s personality a bit hard to connect with and flat. I personally didn’t really have tat issue, but she could come across at times a bit two-dimensional. This didn’t really bother me though as I felt I connected with her and her story. She has gone through a lot of trauma in her past, and I’m amazed she was still standing after it.
For me, this book was a lot of fun. It felt like an action-movie for a lot of the time. There was definitely a lot of action and violence though, so if you’re a bit squeamish it might not be the read for you. Some of it was really brutal too. For example, the murder of Lore’s family was a lot. I felt so bad for Lore and finding out who was behind it was like a punch to the gut. The ending had a really epic fight and the stakes felt really high. I wasn’t really sure who was going to survive and come out on top. I did love the ending a lot as it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
Overall, Lore delivered on the action, the mythology and the story. I was kept on the edge of my seat once I got into it and I felt it didn’t let me go until the literally last page. If you’re looking for a fun, fresh, modern take on Greek mythology, look no further than Lore. I highly recommend picking this one up!