Author: Alexandra Bracken
Pub. Date: January 5, 2021
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.
This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Firstly, I did not expect to tear up and cry during this book.
I find that there are very few books that purely resonate with me. I can count on one hand how many books have just truly spoken to me and have made me feel seen – even though I’ve suffered none of the things the characters have.
I honestly can’t explain it, other than the authors magical ability to tell such a moving and engaging book that I’m transported into it wholly.
I knew going into this book that I was bound to really enjoy it. I’ve enjoyed Alex’s books in the past and I’m a sucker for Greek Mythology and fresh takes on Greek Mythology. So, I knew that this book would be a great and fun read regardless. I didn’t expect to have it become an instant favorite. I didn’t expect to fall so in love with the characters that when Cas says Lore’s name and this one line that it would shatter me.
Jfc, if I guy ever said that to me and meant it – I’d marry him on the spot.
Fuck, now I’m thinking about it again and I want to cry, because I want that.
Despite everything – all the horrible, traumatizing, terrible shit both Lore and Castor go through – I fucking want their relationship. Well, my own version, but I want that friendship, the trust, the love and the absolute completion knowing that someone loves you for who you are wholly.
Alex knocked it out of the park with this book. While it’s action packed and the plot races forward and it never stops, it’s very much a character driven book. It’s about figuring out who you are, who you want to be, do you let the past define you, or do you strive to live every moment to the fullest? Do you let fear cloud your emotions, or do you face it head on and let yourself be loved? Do you create your own purgatory, or do you seek redemption and come out the other side a better person?
From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.
Lore goes through some shit. That’s putting it lightly. Her life hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t exactly been truthful, but she’s carved out a home and a life for herself. She doesn’t readily acknowledge her past, she’s out, but it only takes one visit from a long thought dead friend to turn her life upside down. Suddenly back in the middle of a war she wants no part in, she’s faced with moments of her past that she’d buried.
Lore is a badass, but she’s not without her scars – physical and mental. Her journey in this book is heartwarming but also heartbreaking. Having to come to terms with the actions of a child, to release the guilt that had been weighing her down so long and to come out the other side much stronger – it’s inspiring. It’s not an easy journey by any stretch and Alex definitely puts her characters through the wringer. Their journeys are long and tough and not without pain – but necessary. And the way she writes the journeys, portrays them – it puts you right there with the characters. You end up feeling what they feel, you get caught up in the emotions (hence my crying at one line). She wraps you up in their lives until you forget your own, and then you finish the book and “now what?”
I actually kind of feel like I’m missing a part of myself right now.
Then there’s Castor…and like, (I don’t really want to draw this comparison, but it so works) if you’re a lover of Percy Jackson, you’re going to love Castor. They’re not really the same characters, but that near fatalistic urge to protect the ones they love…yeah, Castor has that. Plus, the whole, “we were kind of shoved together as children, faced some shit, our feelings grew and changed until we were adults and some more shit happened, so we got together” thing. But Castor – like Lore – has been through shit. He’s got his own hardships that ostracized him from his people. He wasn’t like everyone else and therefore was picked on. Then later he’s dealing with a bout of amnesia and some power issues all while trying to figure out who he is, his feelings, what he’s willing to do or not do. He’s just wonderful and I’d kill to have a guy like that in my life.
Together Lore and Cas are just perfect. They have their flaws, but they complete each other wonderfully. And the ending of the book – I loved it. I love them.
As for the rest of the group – I love Miles and how almost chill he was with everything. I kind of wish he was in the book a little bit more, but that’s okay. I’d gladly read a whole book featuring him. Give me his day to day life. I love his relationship with Lore and how they both kind of mother each other, but in different ways. Though, he’s arguably the more responsible one. I enjoyed Evander “Van” and would also gladly read more about him. I feel his role – while important – was kind of small, and after that one scene before final battle shit goes down…I just want to see him happy.
I think I mentioned it somewhere at the beginning of this review – but I loved the world. I loved the fresh take on the Greek Gods and the whole concept of the Families and the Agon. The passing of power, the potential for God’s deaths and reincarnation of power – the whole idea that it’s a form of punishment. I really liked how the lore was used and how the Families weren’t just derived from the Greek Gods, but also legendary heroes. The way Alex wove it all together to create this action packed, character driven story is just incredible. It feels like the lore you know, it feels familiar, but it’s in a whole new light.
I will say that I’m a little tired of NYC always sort of being the de facto Olympus of the Modern World – which okay, the Agon does travel from city to city across the planet – but, like, other cities exist. It’s a relatively small complaint that mainly stem from my lack of interest in NYC and how everything is set there, but it would be interesting to see Greek Mythology set in like, DC or something. But I will say that I love how the city was utilized and Alex transports you right into it. I’ve only been to NYC twice, so apart from what I’ve seen in pictures, TV or Movies, I barely know what stuff looks like. That being said, I felt like I was there, running through the streets. It was easy to imagine everything – it all came to life in my mind.
I think Alex outdid herself with this book. I knew I wanted to read it the moment she announced that she was working on a secret Greek Mythology project. Then watching her Instagram Stories as she progressively wrote it, revised it, wrote it again and now to have read a finished result. I know this is a book that I can and will reread over and over. I loved it so much, I loved the characters and the world, and then how it ended.
Overall, this is immediately a new favorite. It resonated with me and I just loved it. I would get sucked in, and when I had to put it down for whatever reason, it wasn’t far from my thoughts. Even if I had to sit it down for a day or two, it was so easy to come back to it, to get lost in it again. I cannot recommend this book enough, so when it comes out January 5, 2021 – make sure you pick up your copy.
There’s also a pre-order incentive as well as some exclusive editions and ways to get signed copies – so make sure you check that out! I know I’ll be ordering a copy!