First Lines: Her mother had once told her that the only way to truly know someone was to fight them. In Lore’s experience, the only thing fighting actually revealed was the spot on their body someone least wanted to be punched.
It’s probably no secret to those of you who have been following my reviews for a while, but in the past year I’ve become a big fan of Alexandra Bracken. I’m slowly working my way through her published works and this one definitely caught my eye from the moment I first saw it.
Every seven years, the Agon begins. Nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, a punishment for past rebellions. They are hunted by descendants of ancient bloodlines who all want to kill these gods and absorb their power and immortality. Years ago, Lore walked away from this life. After her family was brutally murdered by a rival bloodline, wanting nothing more to do with this world unless it’s about getting revenge against the man–now god–who ordered their deaths. Except as the newest Agon begins, two participants need Lore’s help: Castor, a childhood friend who Lore believed to be dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, one of the last remaining original gods. Athena offers Lore what she can’t turn down: revenge and a way to leave the Agon forever. But Lore’s decision comes at a deadly cost she may not be willing to pay…
I actually genuinely really liked this. (Are there enough adverbs in that sentence?) I thought it was interesting and engaging and fun. It’s basically Greek mythology meets The Hunger Games. I didn’t realize it was a standalone until I finished it. That impresses and disappoints me.
The story follows Lore, a seventeen year old (who definitely does NOT act like she’s seventeen, but we’ll get to that) who discovered her entire family murdered seven years ago at the end of the Agon, a week-long hunt every seven years where the Greek gods become mortal and can be killed. Since then, she’s tried to escape her heritage and the Agon, wanting out. But when the Agon comes again, she finds herself dragged back into it.
First of all, I love this take on the Greek gods. The fact that they can turn mortal while still retaining some of their powers is cool. The wide range of personalities and backstabbing between them also really made the story. I felt everything was really well fleshed out, from the mythology and world building to how this Agon and hunters thing works. It was fun to sink into this world–and super easy to do so.
The characters were also really cool. As I mentioned, Lore feels much older than 17. At first, I thought it was just because of all the darkness she’s gone through, it had matured her, but now I definitely think this is the one misstep in the writing. Honestly, she acts like she’s in her twenties and I had a very hard time believing she was just seventeen, considering she’d been someone’s caretaker for a few years and a runaway at twelve and no one cared. Like…that’s odd. She was a great heroine, but I just did not feel like anyone in this story was actually a teenager. That was the most unbelievable part of a story about Greek gods getting killed in New York City.
Still, despite all that, I truly did like the story. I thought it was fun and fast because I got so pulled into the story. Lots of twists, lots of turns. Lots of fun. Easily my favorite read of this summer.