Author – Alexandra Bracken
Publisher – Disney-Hyperion
Publish date – 5th January 2021
Genre – YA Fantasy / Mythology / Urban Fantasy
POV – Third person
Pages – 480
Another cycle of the agon begins, a hunt after nine Greek gods made mortal for a week. The bloodlines vying to kill and take the old gods immortality and powers for themselves. Getting out makes Lore a target and the hunt’s brutality has begun in her own city. She think’s they’ve discovered her one night, fighting away the grief of another death, but instead finds Castor, a childhood friend thought long dead, like her family and the revenge she’d wanted from the man responsible. Her childhood friend, seven years grown apart from her, needs help. The agon is not done with Lore, and neither is he. Then Athena, bleeding on her doorstep, asking to bind their fates, offering Lore what she desires most, revenge. To finally be free. New gods versus old gods, a new age, a new god of war.
Bracken’s standalone, Lore, is mythological fantasy melded in a modern setting reminiscent of Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games series. The book holds a diverse range of characters dealing with themes of loss, sexism, destiny or the freedom to choose your own path and the breaking of long embedded patterns. Told in quick successions of action-packed chapters, Lore is not a difficult book to get through (I read it in one day). Despite the amount of background story to get through, we’re never told everything all at once or in an excessively meandering way that loses sight of the main plot. This perhaps adds to the surprising mystery throughout of not being able to see the twists and turns of the plot. I had not successfully guessed at many of the revelations which was a joy to experience.
The encompassing language holds touching character relationships within, though few. Lore and Castor have particularly sweet and emotional scenes. The two having just the right amount of tension, separation and history, past and present sparking between them. Castor is soft and grounding and Lore is harder and driven. The characters held complex stories of their own, with conflicting desires and aims. Lore in particular was conflicted between the brutality of what was taught to her, the desire for revenge and the knowledge that neither of those things were necessarily good, or good for her. She’s rattled many times throughout her development and while the ending left many things unanswered, it felt right and satisfying.
4/5 – A satisfyingly unpredictable meld of mythology and modernism packed with action, conflict and just the right amount of romance.