ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘LORE’ is Thrilling and Brutal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lore - But Why Tho?

CONTENT WARNING: Lore features themes of sexual assault, child brides, and mentions rape/attempted rape

Lore is a contemporary fantasy standalone published by Disney-Hyperion and written by Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds, Passenger). Years ago, nine gods, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Poseidon, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, Aphrodite, and Dionysus, tried to defy Zeus, overthrowing his position as king of the gods. When their rebellion was unsuccessful, Zeus began the Agon. Every seven years, descendants of the nine heroes chosen for the first Agon hunt the gods for seven days.  

Despite being from House Perseus and the last of her line, Lore wants to be a normal human. She wants to sit out the Agon, and especially to avoid the new Ares intent on hunting her down and eliminating House Perseus for good. But when the goddess Athena shows up on her doorstep close to bleeding out, Lore finds herself thrust into the middle of the Agon. She has the opportunity to regain her house’s lost honor. Lore agrees to bind her fate to Athena’s, but will it be worth the cost?

Bracken’s unique take on the interactions between gods and mortals helps Lore stand out among other Greek mythology-inspired novels. During the course of the Agon, the gods become mortals, capable of being killed by the hunters. And if a hunter kills one of the gods they will gain that god’s powers, becoming the god reborn. This remains so until the next Agon, when they will be hunted themselves. This idea is central to the book as Lore is hiding from Wrath, Ares reborn, and working alongside her childhood friend Castor, Apollo reborn. 

In the world of Lore—the world of the Agon—the lives of gods and mortals are deeply intertwined, but the gods are just as chaotic and selfish, if not more so than the mortals.

From the first page of Lore, Bracken throws readers directly into the world of the gods, old and new. While Bracken doesn’t dump all of the information on the reader at once, and the worldbuilding does feel natural, it’s just a lot of information to take in at first. There are so many different families mentioned that the guide to the houses (found at the beginning of the book) is needed for at least the first few chapters. But as the plot unfolds and the story builds, readers will become more familiar with all of the names. 

Lore is only 17, and there are moments when her fighting skills and general maturity level make her feel like she should be older. But Lore’s not a normal human. Bracken lets the reader know that she’s been training to be a hunter since she was a child and compared to the gods, including Castor and Athena, Lore is weak and very, very mortal. It’s not as if Lore is just an exceptionally powerful character; while she is a skilled fighter, she’s only about as powerful as the rest of the hunters. And she isn’t able to easily win, or win at all, every fight she’s in. 

In the world of the Agon, women are subservient to men.  While women are hunters and fight alongside the men, they’re not supposed to kill a god and ascend. Women are there to help and support the men, and to help carry on the bloodline of their house. This is where the content warnings come into play. During the course of Lore, Bracken deals with several heavy topics including sexual assault, attempted rape, and child brides. Bracken doesn’t include these moments for shock value, rather, they enforce the horrific and brutal culture of the hunters and the agon. Lore also contains moments of graphic violence.

Lore is an exciting new take on Greek mythology. And because it’s a standalone book, it’s perfect to binge read and lose yourself to the savage world of the hunters and their gods.

Lore will be available wherever books are sold on January 5th, 2021. 


Lore
5

TL;DR

Lore is an exciting new take on Greek mythology. And because it’s a standalone book, it’s perfect to binge read and lose yourself to the savage world of the hunters and their gods.