I received an advanced copy of Lore from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Make sure to check out the book when it comes out January 5th!
As a longtime fan of Alexandra Bracken’s, I’ve had Lore saved as an anticipated 2021 release pretty much since it was first announced. The Darkest Minds was one of my favourite book series back in the early-mid 2010s, and I’ve liked everything else that Bracken has put out, though I’ll admit nothing has quite compared to that breakout series. I’m pleased to report that while Lore didn’t wow me, it was an enjoyable read that I think will appeal to fans of the author’s work, and to anyone nostalgic for the Hunger Games era of YA literature.
Lore takes place in a world where, every seven years, nine Greek gods become mortal for a week. During that time, known as the Agon, they are hunted by the descendants of great heroes, who all know that killing a god means taking their power and becoming a new god. Our protagonist, Lore, left this world years ago. However, when a childhood friend and an ancient god both seek out her help, she finds herself pulled right back in, and right at the start of the new Agon.
This book’s greatest strength is its worldbuilding. Bracken weaves Greek mythology into a contemporary setting in a way that feels new and exciting, but still features plenty of easter eggs for people already familiar with the stories. Fans of the Percy Jackson books will love this new take on Greek mythology, and maybe learn something new along the way! It also has strong Hunger Games vibes at times, hence my earlier comparison.
In many ways, Lore feels like a throwback to the mid-2010s era of YA literature, perhaps with a slightly more diverse cast. It’s a bit trope-y, and rife with girl power feminism that isn’t exactly bad, but feels just a little bit outdated in 2020. The romance subplot is fine, if forgettable. The plot is fast-paced and easy to follow.
I almost feel bad comparing Lore to The Darkest Minds or Passenger, but I generally felt like this book was lacking both the emotional punch and the wit of Bracken’s past work. One of the weak points of this book, for me, was the characters. This surprised me, because the characters and their relationships were probably my favourite part of The Darkest Minds – and Passenger too, for that matter. I just didn’t feel like I got a good sense who any of these people were, and that made it hard for me to get into Lore. I kind of felt like it might have worked better as a series.
All in all, this was a fun read, and I would recommend it to fans of YA fantasy and especially anyone who’s into Greek mythology. It did, however, fall somewhat short of my admittedly high expectations.
Lore comes out January 5th, 2020.