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Book Review: The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson viciously collide in “Lore”

The young adult genre’s obsession with Greek mythology has made a vicious comeback since the Percy Jackson series. There have been numerous reinterpretations of classic Greek myths. Still, they have never seemed to reach the same success and critical acclaim as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books–until now.

Katniss Everdeen meets Percy Jackson in Alexandra Bracken’s January release “Lore”–a Greek mythology-based saga centered around a weeklong battle–the Agon–to steal the powers of exiled Greek gods every seven years. The descendants of classic Greek heroes hunt down these gods Hunger Games-style with little regard for bystanders caught in the fray.

Melora–nicknamed Lore–is a descendant of the Greek hero Perseus and after the disastrous last Agon, the girl cut all ties with the world and Agon. Yet, fate has different plans for Lore after the wise goddess herself, Athena shows up bloodied on her doorstep and convinces Lore to make a divine deal. As fate would have it, Lore’s childhood best friend Castor reappears in her life after believing he was dead for the last seven years.

This definitely isn’t a slow-paced trek–the weeklong Greek Hunger Games launches the novel into a near confusing, fast-paced read–at least in the first 100 pages. Although this novel is overflowing with action and plot twists, it’s definitely a character-focused plot with action (and gore) supplementing Lore’s emotional rollercoaster and backstory. Her emotional journey is the highlight of the narrative–to see a female character with such fiery rage act emotionally is refreshing in a genre where female characters are revered for their strength during emotional situations.

While Lore is utterly stubborn, angry, and, at times, very stern, each of the other characters brings the perfect amount of sarcasm, attitude, and hilarity to lessen Lore’s rage.

As a die-hard Percy Jackson fan, the Greek mythology was a significantly more realistic retelling. Yet, it hurt my little 13-year-old self as the stories were told with maturity. Despite my little tween self griping over some of the tales, Bracken’s choice to retell the myths with realistic themes and discussions on the patriarchy was a choice well-made. Sorry Rick, but let’s be honest, Athena isn’t the feminist girl boss you’ve been force-feeding us.

Plot twist after plot twist finally mounts to a nerve-wracking climax that will bring every subtle hint and fated moment to full circle. Yet, the climax comes to an abrupt halt at what seems to be the peak of the climactic sequence, leaving the sequence unfinished. Even once the climax is more or less resolved, the fate of Lore and her cadre is unresolved, and honestly–I was a little mad at the abrupt ending! From a narrative point of view, the problem was resolved and reached. Still, Lore and Castor’s stories felt cut short without any consequences post-climax.

“Lore” definitely isn’t anything like Percy Jackson–and that’s the best part. PJO fans have been begging for more adult themes to be brought into the books, and we finally have our mature Greek retelling here with “Lore.” The fast-paced and crazy plot twists will keep you on the edge of your seat, but it’s the characters that’ll make it hard to put it down.

With a hard M for maturity (or Melora?), rejoice PJO fans! Instead of helping out fickle Greek gods, we’re committing deicide with the whole gang!

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