by Lizzy Hermosilla ‘23
Alexandra Bracken is no stranger to writing YA fantasy novels; her most popular books being “The Darkest Minds Series” and “Passenger.” Bracken’s newest release “Lore” takes the reader to the streets of New York where an age-old tradition begins to unfold. The Agon is an annual hunt every seven years made to punish the nine greek gods and goddesses who tried to overthrow Zeus. For seven days these gods walk the earth as mortals being hunted by skilled modern day warriors who all hope to kill and claim the mantle of a fallen god. Descendants of famed heroes like Achilles, Odysseus, Perseus, and others make up nine bloodlines tasked with hunting the gods during the Agon. After hundreds of years only a few of the original nine gods are still alive, and only five active bloodlines remain to carry on the hunt. “Lore” follows the fierce protagonist Melora “Lore” Perseous who for the past seven years has beening trying to escape the Agon that killed her family and left her as the sole mortal descendant of Perseus. Her efforts are no use after a wounded goddess asks for her help. Now deception and killing are the only way for her to survive the week when she becomes one of the hunted.
Bracken weaves an intricate story that is filled with plot-twists from the first chapter to the very last. Much of the success of this novel can be attributed to the strong sub-text of feminism in the face of a patriarchy. Bracken is careful to make the protagonist of the novel strong willed and independent in order to portray this message that women can be just as fierce of warriors as the men who traditionally take on that role. Throughout the novel Lore is consistently showing her strength and her grit, whether it is coming toe-to-toe with a god or beating the crap out of a private school boy that took advantage of her. In many YA fantasy novels there is always a male character that swoops in to save the female protagonist, but “Lore” is just the opposite and the female protagonists “wear the pants” in the relationship.
YA novels are never complete without a touch of romance, and Bracken delivers that without taking power away from a strong and independent female character. The friends to lovers sub-plot is well constructed allowing for the characters to develop separately before adding in a romantic element into their character’s arc. Despite Bracken delivering a romance that was well timed in the fast pacing of this novel, it was a lackluster plot point. Bracken misses the opportunity to create a slightly more entertaining love triangle, and ultimately decides to include a small touch of an LGBTQ+ romantic relationship that is poorly developed, and is too little too late. Despite the romantic element of the novel lacking importance, and an overly sped up ending, Bracken creates a truly spell-binding story that will leave the reader intrigued, while still wanting more from the story.