I absolutely love Alex Bracken’s books, so when I saw she was writing a Greek mythology inspired standalone, I knew I needed to read this immediately. I was lucky enough to receive an e-ARC from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not impacted my thoughts and all thoughts are entirely my own. This is a spoiler free review.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken
Published: January 5, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, 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 in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. 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 out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
Lore is the kind of YA character we all “hate” because she’s so realistic that we’re mad how she’s representing society. She has given up her life of training for the Agon and wishes to live a normal life after her family’s murder. Until Athena shows up at her doorstep injured at the beginning of the current Agon, begging for help. Lore is revenge driven and accepts her offer in exchange for Athena’s help taking down the man, now god, who killed her parents. She’s a good person, with a good soul, who wants the people who killed her family to pay. But that also means she makes bad decisions that ultimately ends up hurting her and her friends. So, while frustrating, don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
This book is filled with so many twists and turns. Just like Greek mythology, nothing is at it seems, and if you aren’t careful, you will get burned. There were so many moments that I thought to myself “you’re a little too trusting”, “are you sure you want to do that?”, “I KNEW IT!” – all actual things I said or shouted out loud. As a lover of Greek mythology and its retellings, we all know that there are no “good” or “bad” guys in stories. There’s bad and worse guys and you really have to just hope that you don’t end up badly burned or dead by the end of it.
And of course we have some romance thrown in there. I loved how we get to see Lore’s past because it helped me to understand her and Castor’s friendship and how they were as children. Especially now since he’s shown up in Lore’s life again after she thought he was dead. The beginning was a little confusing on this part for me as we are introduced to him in a weird way, but with the flashbacks and more solid information, it makes sense how and why Lore thought he was dead all this time. Through it all, I loved this book, and I read it in a single day.
By the end of this story, I was teary eyed. There is so much that happens to these characters in five days, not even a whole week, five days, that my poor heart couldn’t handle it by the ending. This book is filled with a lot of action, some gruesome imagery (definitely not for the little ones), romance, friendship, and more – I loved it. Besides feeling a little confused in the beginning, Bracken does an amazing job of spoon feeding us the information we need without it feeling like she’s spoon feeding us. And the mix of present day scenes with flashbacks made the book that much more mysterious and interesting. A new favorite of mine that I’ll probably end up rereading soon! // 5 stars.