What do wine, cheese, and Lore by Alexandra Bracken have in common?
I’ll let you mull that one over for a bit, but I imagine it’s not too difficult of a comparison.
I had been out of touch with YA Fantasy for a few months as I absorbed myself in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere when I discovered that Alexandra Bracken had a new book coming out.
From the point that I learned about Lore until publication was about three weeks, so my wait wasn’t very long at all.
I’m pleased to say that Lore was a great way to kick off the new year.
Lore starts off the way I feel most books do…
The first chapter was decent as it gave me a fight scene. I like opening with a good brawl. It allows me to quickly dive into the action.
The problem came from the next 4 chapters which really failed to wow me.
Before I even began Lore, the folks over at YA Fantasy Addicts had encouraged me that Lore was an awesome book. Having read The Darkest Minds series and Bracken’s Star Wars novel, I knew she was a fantastic writer.
I don’t give up so easily anyway, so I was happy to keep plugging along.
The further I got into the story–and just like wine and cheese–the better it got. By the end, I was left breathless from what turned out to be a stunning stand-alone novel.
Lore is the name of the main character. Which is short for Melora. Lore is the last living descendant of the Greek god Perseus.
Every seven years, all living members of the various bloodlines descended from the gods partake in a week-long competition called the Agon.
Competition probably isn’t the right word as it’s more like a deadly game of hide-and-go-seek.
As punishment for their wicked acts against humanity, Zeus sentenced nine gods to an eternity in the Agon. Meaning that for one week every seven years, these nine gods would become mortal, capable of being killed.
The Blooded descendant who killed a god would obtain that gods powers and immortality, but in turn would be hunted by the other Blooded every seven years.
After the Agon killed her family, Lore wanted to have nothing to do with ancient traditions, but when her old friend Castor, and a wounded Athena show up in her otherwise normal life, she has no choice but to step back into the game.
What I loved
My absolute favorite parts of Lore are in the mystery, intrigue, and twists.
For a book that’s based around death, there isn’t a whole lot of fighting. Oh, it’s there in abundance, but the action wasn’t the main driving force of the story.
What kept me going were all the hints and nuggets Bracken left along the way. The unanswered questions, the building curiosity, and the inevitable confrontations.
These are what make Lore so great.
Bracken is a master at ending nearly every chapter with some stunning revelation or draw-dropping event. The very thing I loved also tended to be my greatest frustration as well.
There isn’t a lot of negative things I can say about Lore. And I don’t really want to!
Aside from the somewhat slow opener the only other real niggle I had was Bracken’s cursed ability to create tension and stretch it out.
That’s not a bad thing by the way! But it drove me nuts all at the same time.
What do I mean?
Imagine reading an epic fight scene, or just having read a tense dialogue heavy chapter that ends with some grand revelation or imminent death.
Then imagine the book shifting gears and refusing to resolve the issue as the story blasts back into the past seven years for an entire chapter.
That’s what happens.
And I mean like no less than six times.
Come on Alexandra! Don’t do this to me! Why?!? I just want to know what happens. I was oh so tempted to skip the flashback chapters…at least until I knew what happened.
But I didn’t!
You should be so proud of me.
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Lore. I almost passed on it. You see, I don’t really read or like Urban Fantasy. Give me medieval kings, queens, princes, swords, and magic.
And while Lore had the latter two, they were still set in the backdrop of cellphones, subways, New York City, and a whole host of other real world amenities.
But the Greek Mythology and the gods of old are what make up the majority of Lore. So while New York City was there, the story still read like a solid fantasy without too much of the urban.
What I am is a sucker for a good twist, and Lore had plenty of them.
I’d give Lore a solid 4.5/5 stars.
I can’t recommend Lore enough, grab a copy and see for yourself.