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Lore by Alexandra Bracken is the Perfect Start to 2021

From NetGalley:

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.
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 book throws you right into the clutches of action from the very first page! The stage is set, Manhattan, the backdrop, and the curtains rise on a new Agon. Melora (Lore) Perseous, our reluctant heroine, has no intention of fighting for power or immortality until the unexpected arrival of an old friend throws her completely off balance. And readers will be very grateful!

The stakes rise so quickly after that and it's only slightly hard to keep up with. At first. The revelations begin to tumble out, but Lore's wit, her education, and her heritage have all prepared her for every adjustment. Lore's characterization is the epitome of a strong female lead. Imperfect. Capable. Intelligent. Her identity is never once determined by a man, or her insecurities, but by her own beliefs. She has the confidence to continue moving forward in spite of every faltered step, and it's an example we could all use going into 2021.

She takes those unwavering steps in New York City, where Bracken has built a battlefield on the streets. From Brooklyn to Harlem, the East River, the Hudson; nooks, and crevices have been utilized in the worldbuilding of this story. Lore loves the city, and it's made very apparent in her thoughts. She has as much desire to protect it as she does to keep the ones she loves safe from the other bloodlines of the Agon.

If you love the found-family trope, you're going to love this one! The alliances are hard-earned in this book, though once formed, they're (mostly) sealed by fire. The platonic love and respect between the core group is realistically realized and that much more precious, especially to Lore. Thus, the reader can do nothing else but appreciate it. I feel it important to also mention the lack of female competition. We love to see it (or the absence of it). Particularly in young-adult.

There is, however, a ton of competition for the glory of killing an immortal. The way Bracken weaves the Greek mythos into the modern age while highlighting the heart of NYC (its people) is outstanding. She manages to give the gods a sense of humanity and in turn, make a few mere mortals seem larger than life. The level of research done to truly understand each Greek god's story, characteristics, and fatal flaw, shows so well in her writing. Their tales are meant to be lessons for the people who worshipped them to heed. Bracken made it possible for the gods to learn new lessons in Lore.

With an action-packed plot, characters to love, and a few mind-bending twists, Lore has made it onto my list of favorites! It's an unforgettable read from start to finish. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book! Releasing Tuesday, January 5th, 2021.

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