Lore by Alexandra Bracken has been on the tip of every YA readers tongue since its release in January and yes, some may say I’m a bit late to the game reading it in April, but I’ll tell you why. There have been a lot of mixed reviews on this book. I’ve heard it’s the best book of 2021 and I’ve also heard some say they couldn’t finish it. So, obviously I had to read it to figure out where I stand on if it’s a flop or not. So here we go…..
*Possible spoilers ahead*
The book centers on a girl named Melora, nicknamed Lore for short, in New York City during what is called the Agon. The Agon is essentially punishment for the Greek Gods because of their involvement in a past rebellion. During the Agon the Greek Gods are forced to walk the earth with diminished Godly power and then are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines. Those who kill a God gain their divine power and become essentially a new God that can create money and power for their respective bloodlines. That makes everyone a bit blood thirsty. Here’s where Lore comes in. She is a part of the perseus bloodline that has been diminished to essentially just her family and then something happens and her entire family is slaughtered. Lore knows who did it…or at least she thinks she does, but with no one else to rely on or fight with she tries to run away from the Agon. That doesn’t work out as she finds a dying Athena, one of the last original Gods, bleeding to death on her front steps. Athena offers her revenge if Lore will help her through the Agon. Lore makes the deal and the real story begins. Along the way we run into Lore’s childhood friend, whom she believed to be dead, and he is the newly recognized Apollo. They go on a mad dash to stop the new Ares, renamed Wrath, from killing everyone in his way to world domination as the only God left. There’s lots of revelations that follow until the ending fight of Lore against both Wrath and Athena. The main one being that it was actually Athena, who killed Lore’s family not Wrath. Then somehow Lore convinces Athena to have a change of heart and because of this she gives Lore her powers by letting lore Kill her. Lore with her new powers is able to stop Wrath and disrupt his plans thus, saving the world as we know it.
Alrighty, now that we have that summary out of the way let’s talk about how I feel about the plot. Personally, I am a big fan of the use of mythology throughout the book and I think mythology should really have a comeback in upcoming YA books. There’s a reason there’s a huge fanbase still for Percy Jackson books. I think the plot was enough to keep me reading and there were some parts I didn’t see coming ( Castor basically getting murdered was one!) so, lots of twists. The twists for the most part were fine, but besides Castor not dying they weren’t all that surprising or impactful.
The Characters were only okay to me. I really liked Castor, but they made Lore and Athena the focuses of the novel. I feel like Athena was a little more blood thirsty then I would have liked and Lore, while I am always here for a good female warrior, just didn’t sit right with me and maybe that’s because of how they ended the story with her taking Athena’s power even when she never wanted to be a God. I’m not sure, but overall the best Characters to me were Miles and Castor and we didn’t get nearly enough of Miles.
AND now for my biggest issue with this book…. The world building. The entire Agon story, what happened to each of the Gods, the family lines, and everything in between just felt not clear AT. ALL. I have no idea really where all the families descend from or why those families were involved in hunting the Gods or even any idea about what the Gods did exactly to earn that type of punishment. How the new Gods earn their power or what type of power they actually have was also unclear. At one point we learn that Castor upon ascending to Godship couldn’t maintain a mortal form and just floated around like a little ball of power for however long. It was never explained why that happened to him but not to Wrath or Tidebringer.
Overall, I felt very confused through the entire storyline and felt pretty let down with the mythology brought to the table. I’m not saying it’s a bad book, but I am definitely saying it will not make my top ten of 2021. I would rate this book probably a 2.5/5 and it would not be the first book I suggest for mythology YA.
Here’s some YA Mythology books I would recommend instead:
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
OH. MY. GODS. by Tera Lynn Childs (for a lighter taste of YA mythology)