Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.”

REVIEW:

Lore has been on my TBR for the last couple of months because I am a sucker for any type of involvement of Greek Mythology. I was a little hesitant because I had read some mixed reviews from reviewers I normally agree with, but it became available at my library so I just had to grab it.

I’ve seen Lore described as Greek mythology meets Hunger Games, which feels pretty accurate. We follow Lore, whose entire life had been built around family legacy and the Agon. She is the only surviving member of her family, who were victims of the last Agon. Because of this destruction and other traumas that have happened to her being a part of this world, Lore made the decision to leave it all behind. She has been successful in blending into the world around her until now. Her old friend Castor has re-entered her life after she thought he was dead and now an injured god is on her doorstep. The next Agon has begun and Lore has been brought right into the middle of it.

Lore had a bit of a slow start for me. The first 100 pages were a slog to get through, but it definitely begins to pick up after that. It took me a while to remember which family was which and who was loyal to who if I’m going to be perfectly honest. I felt like I needed a pinboard or chart so I could go back and reference to make sure I was correct.

There was a lot that I really enjoyed about this book. It has a really interesting concept that hooks you in and is definitely explored well. Lore has been through the wringer, she really has never had an easy life and this book does not get any easier for her. I loved the cast of characters and friendships as well. Lore and Miles are incredible together and I loved how they meshed with Castor and Van.

This story is definitely brutal, and a lot is happening at any given time which, for me, sometimes hurts this book. The characters are constantly on the move which keeps the pacing exciting. I do wish that this had been told from a dual POV. I think it would have added an interesting element to this story if it had bounced between Lore and Castor. It grew frustrating when they were separated from each other and would have no idea what was happening with the other group, and you are never really filled in on those events

Overall, I enjoyed Lore. It was different than anything I have read recently. Fair warning, this book is absolutely brutal at times, deals with heavy topics such as sexual assault and murder, and doesn’t shy away from violence.

RATING: 4/5

Review: Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

SYNOPSIS (via Goodreads):

“The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.

Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.

When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?”

REVIEW:

I love alternate-history stories, so when I read the synopsis for Muse I immediately requested it from my library. I did not expect to finish this book in less than 48 hours, but once the plot picked up I was sucked into this story.

The fact that this takes place during what would have been the Chicago Worlds’ Fair really strengthens this plot and setting. Claire is a very passive heroine. She is smart and capable but during this time period, a woman’s place was to be seen and not heard. She is just looking to escape her cruel and mad father, not change the world. Her friend Beatrix is the exact opposite, she wants to start a revolution.

I loved the mystery surrounding Claire and her “powers”. Is this just the raving madness of the geniuses surrounding Claire’s life, or does Claire actually have some kind of magic touch? It was super interesting to try and figure out. I liked the argument presented as well for equal representation. Which is more important, just a woman in power or someone who reflects your ideals?

My one flaw with this book is that I just didn’t like the friendship between Claire and Beatrix. To me, it felt like Beatrix didn’t care about Claire and just used her to her advantage. Talking about her secrets to the D.A.R., not being sympathetic to her father’s abuse, and using her to further the D.A.R’s schemes without truly asking Claire. I just didn’t understand the bond, we weren’t really shown why their friendship was so important.

This book leaves us with a great cliffhanger and I will be eagerly awaiting the next book’s release.

RATING: 4/5

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