'Lore' by Alexandra Bracken
'Lore' by Alexandra Bracken is an extremely creative born of the classic Greek pantheon of gods. Beginning with a theme of civil war which in traditional text included all but Hestia trying to challenge Zeus, Bracken's story is a little more centralized and results in much harsher punishments by the god king.
The main character, Melora or 'Lore,' is the last surviving member of her House.. the House of Perseus. The Persedes as they're known.. are one of 9 descended Houses of legendary heroes.. who after the uprising of the gods and goddesses, are essentially tasked with their punishments.
What is their punishment? The Agon. A hunt, basically.. that occurs every seven years.. when the 9 rebellious gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals while the legendary Houses try to run them into the ground, kill them, and take their power. As it turns out, whomever kills the previous god.. becomes the new one. At least, for another seven years until the next Agon when they have to join the hunt as prey.
I genuinely love mythology and I'm always eager to get my hands on new stories that are inspired or developed from the fascinating ancient stories, but 'Lore' is just exceptional. The origin of events is certainly rooted in a believable premise that sounds as if it could have come from the same beliefs, but the modern twist is smoothly merged with the classic theme.
The dynamics, both between the old gods and new, gods in general and those heroic descendents, and all of the above and any humans they come across are each distinctive and well-suited to what one would expect. In fact, while most of the new gods are egotistical.. it feels almost performative, like a youth who knows they were raised in wealth.. rather than someone working for it and overcompensating for that fact. The old gods are just casually arrogant and it's clear they simply don't think or understand beyond their experience.
Actually, I love Athena.. she's hilarious and in that unintentional, dry wit sort of way. Also, I enjoyed that Bracken gave the old gods a very formal speech pattern and a disassociated perspective of the world and those around them. Castor is another favorite, though the characters in general all have depth to them, individuality, and distinctively clear 'voices' making the read as comfortable as any every day conversation. The dialogue is fantastic and that's the thing I find is weakest in most works from literature to tv to film.
I'm predicting already that 'Lore' is going to be in my top reads list of 2021.. but we'll see what the year has to offer. It's a definite page turner, whereas there's either some kind of tense fight or unveiled drama going on at most times. I love it so much, I have three copies coming.. and I highly recommend this title for anyone with a love of mythology and modern urban fantasy.
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