Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Lore Book Poster Image
Page-turning fantasy mixes Greek gods, bloody competition.

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Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will learn about Greek mythology, including the names, powers, and past stories/adventures of the nine Greek gods cursed to participate in the Agon.

Positive Messages

The book celebrates teamwork, perseverance, and courage. It highlights how important close friends are, as well as a "found family." Lore's story arc also shows how people can overcome past trauma and survivor's guilt.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lore is courageous if occasionally reckless. She's fierce, determined, and dedicated to defending her loved ones. Castor is intelligent, generous, kind, and protective. Van and Miles are devoted to and supportive of Castor and Lore, respectively. Although most of the characters are cued as White/of Mediterranean descent, a few supporting characters are Black, Asian, and multiracial. At least two characters are LGBTQ+.


Lots of hunting and killing, since it's the point of the Agon. Description of violent acts and sexual assault of a minor. Most of the violence is close contact, since blades/swords are part of the mythology. There's also mass violence and property destruction. Characters are killed in a variety of ways, and the murder of an entire family is explicitly described, even the torture of children.


Lore thinks of how attractive, beautiful, gorgeous Castor is and is clearly attracted to him. A few passionate kisses and a make-out session in the second half of the book.


Occasional strong language: "s--t," "f--k," "douche," "a--hole," "bitch," "damn," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink in a party scene. Adut gives wine as a gift to another adult.

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.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byjustdewit234 March 7, 2021

Good...or greatest?

I really loved this book. It numbers among one of my favorites. The only thing that I would change in it is tone the amount of swearing (and maybe a little bit... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 8, 2021

Amazing book

This is a great book! It's full of good role models and people. But one thing I will say is that you should only read it if your old enough or really matur... Continue reading

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?

  • Who, if anyone, do you consider a role model? What character strengths are evident in the story, and why are they important?

  • 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? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love mythology and romance

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