It’s not always the truth that survives, but the stories we wish to believe. 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. Perhaps there were some in Sparta who embodied those myths. Perhaps. But how we are remembered is less important than what we do now.
I was absolutely heartbroken when I didn’t get an ARC of this one (et tu Hachette) and so as soon as this one released I listened to the entire audiobook in one sitting whilst doing a particularly evil jigsaw. As long as it still counts as one sitting if I had to keep pausing it to pace in and out of the living room to yell about how stressed I was over this incredible Greek mythology based story.
Rating: 5 stars!
Trigger Warnings: murder (including graphic murder of children and murder of parents), death, misogyny, gore, terminal illness, abuse, arranged marriage, attempted rape.
About the book:
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
What did I think?
I knew I was going to love Lore, but I underestimated just how much. I like anything with good Greek mythology to it, and this was spectacular. The premise of the Agon, where gods are made mortal for seven days and mortals allowed to kill them to ascend to godhood, is incredible and I am absolutely obsessed with it. The ever-changing roster of gods, each taking their predecessor’s powers and choosing new names for themselves, is going to fuel my imagination for months. Hi, I’ll be challenging Hades so I can rule death. Okay, Hades wasn’t involved in the Agon, and I would instantly die, but that’s not my point. I loved the way that the world was developed, it made perfect sense that families would train their children to make ascension easier and to make it easier to take down gods. I’m a sucker for an underground world that most people don’t know about.
Lore was all my favourite types of character rolled into one. At the start of the book she’s distanced herself from the Agon, drawn back in by the original Athena lying bleeding out on her doorstep (and oh my god Athena is so scary and sexy in this book) and I loved the way that her reluctance, trained duties and her own revenge mission drew her back into the world she’d left. She’s tough and resilient and made strong by some absolutely heart breaking tragedies in her past, but still loving and loyal to her friends. I adore her, and her character arc is incredible. The romance in this book is well developed and even I, romance-hater, loved it a lot. I loved the queer side romance even more, I was shipping it from the first time we saw the characters on page and I was not disappointed.
I adore the prose here, and once I’m free of my book buying ban, I might have to go back and read Alexandra Bracken’s earlier work. I’m impressed by how well this incredibly complex book is threaded together with information given to the reader in the perfect moments for emotional impact. The ending of this book wasn’t what I was expecting, but I really liked it. It concluded this standalone in a fantastic way and I love that all the threads were neatly tied away. I know this is going to be one I reread and relisten to, a definite favourite. If you read audiobooks, I highly recommend this one. The narrator does a fantastic job and it’s clear and well performed.
Release Date: 5th January 2021