The legends lie. They smooth over imperfections to tell a good tale, or to instruct us how we should behave, or to assign glory to victors and shame those who falter.

It’s safe to say, at this point, that Alexandra Bracken is a phenomenal writer. I was pretty on board with Lore from the start, preordering myself a copy immediately after I read the excerpt. But I did also give a bit of a warning in my review of the first six chapters from the sample, noting that this was a novel filled with violence. Immediately upon starting, you’re thrown straight into an incredibly bloody battle. What’s striking is that the novel was just so thoroughly gripping you couldn’t turn away.

How we are remembered is less important than what we do now.

Despite the incredible excess and shock of violence, Lore is the kind of book that really pulls you in. Readers can easily spend the majority of their time reading with their noses almost touching the pages. That’s how engrossed you are. In the span of an instant, you practically exist in this world with the characters. And there’s a visceral feeling to it all.

Turning away is impossible.

Lore takes place in a modern day arena, that which exists because Zeus cursed a select number of gods as punishment for their greed and anger induced behavior. This punishment forces them to spend seven days fighting for their lives as mortal decedents of famous Greek heroes fight to kill them for their powers. Every seven years, the Aegon begins. Those with the power of the gods lose their immortality for one week and the bloody vying for power is repeated.

Sometimes the braver thing is to accept help when you’ve been made to believe you shouldn’t need it.

Of course, our story really begins with Lore. She’s done everything she can to distance herself from her family’s legacy and the world that killed them after they were brutally murdered in the previous Ageon. But when her childhood best friend–a boy she believed dead–and one of the original gods forge paths into her life, Lore finds herself once again entrenched in the horrors of the Aegon.

What ensues is a violent and terrifying game in which family houses vie for the powers of the gods, intent on killing the gods of the other houses. One house, that of Kadmos, seeks to destroy all the other gods entirely. In ending the Aegon, he intends to rule over them all. And Lore? She wants revenge upon the one who made her the last of her line.

However, revenge can only get one so far when they have people to protect.

I was born knowing how to do three things – how to breathe, how to dream, and how to love you.

Lore is an amazing novel, filled with utterly brilliant characters. Better yet, it has plot twists even I didn’t see coming. As an avid reader, I’m very rarely shocked by a plot twist. And this may very well be the second time Bracken has taken me by surprise. I genuinely felt as though I were living through the story with these characters, engaged in the very moments they experienced. I recall, even, shouting out at the novel at various points while reading it. My emotions were in complete turmoil.

There are many ways in which Lore turned out to be an excellent story. Braken wove together a tale of immense power with one of the most amazing feminine heroes I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I really fell in love with these characters, the world, and all the twists and turns they encountered. I’m only one month into the year and already certain this book is it for me in 2021.

If you’ve not read Lore already, you’ve done a disservice to yourself. And I suggest you go pick it up as soon as you possibly can.

An oath was, after all, a curse you placed on yourself.

I have to say this, Fryda Wolff was a bloody fantastic choice to narrate this book. The life her voice gives to the story, while still also holding hints of power and some sort of otherworldly ethereal-ness is truly astounding. I absolutely do not think a better person could have been chosen for this one.

Now, admittedly, I do find her voice thoroughly frustrating to listen to when at the regular speed, but I wouldn’t hold that against her too much. I can’t really listen to anything on less than x1.5 speed nowadays and often even upgrade to x2.0 or x2.5, so.

But, at the end of the day, there’s something so fitting about her voice. In a very genuine way, she is the embodiment of what I imagine an Athena would sound like. And, in that sense, no one could have been more perfect.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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