A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lore is author Alexandra Bracken's best-selling urban fantasy, which has been described as a mature Percy Jackson meets The Hunger Games -- a story set in modern-day Manhattan but featuring Greek gods and the descendants of ancestral bloodlines who hunt them every seven years in a tournament-to-the-death called the Agon. The book follows protagonist Melora "Lore" Perseous, who thought she had left the bloody competition behind but is pulled back in when her childhood best friend and the Goddess Athena both ask for her help. Violence can be graphic and bloody, from decapitation to stabbing to torture of adults and children. Romance is mostly limited to fraught looks until it develops into passionate kissing and making out. Strong language is occasional and includes "f--k," "s--t," and insult language like "d-ck," "bitch," and the like. Lore is an impressive protagonist who's a role model of perseverance and courage.
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What's the story?
LORE is a buzz-worthy urban fantasy is set in a universe where Zeus condemns nine Greek Olympic gods to compete as mortals able to be hunted and killed by descendants of ancient bloodlines (of demigods and mortal heroes of yore) in a seven-day competition called the Agon, which takes place every seven years in the world's biggest cities. Once a hunter kills a god during the Agon, the god's powers are transferred into the mortal hunter, who then becomes the head of their ancestral family. Once upon a time, Melora "Lore" Perseous wanted nothing more than to become a hunter to take down a god and restore pride and glory to her disgraced bloodline, but after everyone else in her family was killed during the previous Agon, she left that world behind. Now, just as the new Agon begins in contemporary New York City, Lore is approached by Castor, her childhood best friend she assumed had died in the previous Agon. Then she finds none other than Athena on her Harlem brownstone's steps. Both the goddess and her former best friend need Lore's help to stop a hunter-turned-God with maniacal plans to destroy the world as they know it.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Lore. Do you think violence impacts people differently on the page than on the screen?
What did you learn about the mythological gods from the book? Which god's powers do you consider the most compelling?
What do you think about the central romance? Do you like YA romances about friends who become more, or do you prefer them about couples with instant attraction or opposites/frenemies who turn tension into romance?
- Author: Alexandra Bracken
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: March 3, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 480
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 2, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love mythology and romance
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