BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra BrackenLore by Alexandra Bracken
Purchase on: Amazon
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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, 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.

*Note that these quotes come from an uncorrected eARC and are subject to change upon publication.*

“I know my fate,” she whispered to him.
And I will change yours.

I’ll tell you what, Alexandra Bracken never ceases to amaze me with how well she writes. I may not always entire love the story, but writing wraps me up and has me feeling things throughout the entire span of the novel.

This one in particular was not exactly what I had expected….and that’s to say that I guess I didn’t even entirely know what to expect other than this was going to be pretty heavy on the Greek mythology. While I’m no expert by any means, I have always had an interest and appreciation for it and I am an AVID reader of Lore Olympus on Webtoon (sorry Castor, I have an unapologetic hate for Apollo from that, lol). So, that being said, even though I personally didn’t remember what every god and goddess stood for, or what great deeds each hero had accomplished, I really enjoyed doing my own research as each character arrived on the page. Even if I wouldn’t have, there is enough information and context clues that that wouldn’t have really been necessary, anyway. I’m just a tru librarian to my core and always need to know more, more, more.

“It’s a good thing, then,” Iro said with a small smile, “that neither of us has ever been afraid of a fight.”
She opened the door, only to turn back. “By the way, that sword has a name. Makhomai.”
I make war.

Lore smiled.

The biggest part of this story that I didn’t expect was just how fucking VIOLENT it was going to be. Now, I’ve talked about this a lot with Chelsea, and both of us has said that ever since we’ve had kids, we can’t read the same thing as we used to. This, I think????, was a prime example of this. Since it’s in the summary, I’m not spoiling anything by saying her family dies a brutal death. Now, this may sound bad but if It had just been her mom and dad, I think I could have been okay….but no. It was also her two LITTLE SISTERS. Not going to get into it because it makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about but I will just say that the sheer violence that continually crops up in this book is hard to read.

Bracken does not shy away from details and I could vividly picture each death, each cut, each blow. It just got to be a lot for me and that really took a little bit away from the story for me (honestly though I should have known better and prepared, Ancient Greek was savage and we all know it).

Alone. She was alone…
“Stay with me.” Lore let out a choked cry, sobbing for breath and relief at the crush of it all. Don’t leave me…
They didn’t.
She felt her family around her–the soothing touch of them, brushing her cheeks, wrapping around her center. And beyond them, the presence of unseen eyes.

Other than that though the only thing that tripped me up was the fact that in my head this wasn’t a standalone so I wasn’t picturing everything wrapping up so neatly at the end, lol. Also my bad.

ANYWAY, let’s get on to the good stuff. The characters. It shouldn’t surprise you when I say she wrote an excellent leading lady (Lore), a best friend I wish I had (Miles), and ~the~ love interest (Castor). Also many other great supporting characters, AND villains (hooooo let me tell you that betrayal fucking STUNGGGG), but the mains are my favorite of course. I do wish we could have gotten a little more of Lore and Castor…I don’t know…happy interacting in the present??? but I lived. Still many heart-pounding, butterfly inducing moments.

The story, as I said, wraps up neatly by the end and while I at first was like waittttt, this was too easy??? I’ve been thinking about it more and I’m like nooo, girl. Lore has seen SO MUCH death. She needed an ending like that. I also liked the ongoing mention of the Fates and the talk and dwelling on what people are fated to become and how fate can’t be changed and how Lore at the end finally thinks to herself “There was nothing fated. Lore had not been chosen for this; she had chosen to come here herself. Every step she’d made, every mistake, had led her here.” I just think that was such a HUGE moment for her to realize that her life DIDN’T have to be ruled by these crazy ass gods/goddesses or the Agon. She made her own decisions and could be the person that she chose to be. Ahhh gives me shivers just thinking about it.

So, overall. I did really enjoy this but sadly my tender heart can’t take the violence anymore and I had to take a star off. Totally a personal preference (but it does also make me wonder if this is really being marketing for YA lolll).

“You may be a god,” she told him, relishing the sight of his struggle. “But I’m the Persides.”

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read an eARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback.♥

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  1. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Sounds like an interesting book, even if it is more than a little violent. I’m not sure how I feel about that either—extreme violence can sometimes make me not love a book, but it depends.
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Off On a Basement Writing “Retreat”My Profile

    • Arielle

      I know it really just depends on my mood and any number of other things. I think that it bothered me more in this one because even those there were these fantastical aspects with the gods and goddesses it was still set it the “real world” so it made it too real???

  2. Harriet

    I just finished this book too, it was amazing!!! I completely agree with you about the ending, I knew it was a standalone but I wasn’t in that headspace. It left me with one question though, I feel like the answer was hinted at but never confirmed. What the fuck happened to Apollo and how did Castor end up with his powers???? Maybe I’m missing something, does anyone know what happened there?

    • Arielle

      Well I *think* he just ended up giving his life up for Castor???????????? I think that if it was chosen freely than the magic of it worked differently, right?!?! lol I can’t fully remember now either.

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