Author Alexandra Bracken's skill for blending world-building, adventure, and romance makes this book worth the hype of its release. Although it takes a moment to fully process all of the backstory to the Agon (for example, the precise reasons Zeus punishes the Olympians with the Agon is vague) and all of the Hunt's families and major players, readers will quickly feel immersed in Lore's story. She's quick-witted, a gifted warrior, and a keen tactician, but she's also impetuous. The comparisons to The Hunger Games are apt, as her fierce personality, loyalty, and protective nature are reminiscent of Katniss, making Castor the Peeta of the book -- generous, open-hearted, and utterly devoted to Lore. The twist here is that Castor, while boasting a gentle heart, is also gorgeous and godlike; he's almost too good to be true.
There are plenty of villains in the story, one looming far larger than the others. And with his cloak of godhood, he seems virtually indestructible. Some of the plot twists are surprising and downright heartbreaking, so it's best not to go searching for spoilers. One of the best parts of the story is the best friends: Lore's Miles who knows nothing about her past and the Agon until there's a goddess in his home, and then's fully ready to risk his life to help in any way he can. Then there's Castor's Van, who is serious, rule-following, and willing to do anything and everything to make sure Castor survives the Agon. Castor makes that a difficult task, since his first priority is to protect Lore. The only downside to the narrative is that Lore's friends are all men, with the exception of Athena, who's more of a frightening, all-powerful role model than a friend. Fans of slow-burning romances will appreciate how Bracken develops the central couple's tension. Although the story is resolved, readers may hope the author returns to the world one day, even if it's just a bonus novella.