Book Review: "Lore" by Alexandra Bracken
5/5 - the new revenge narrative...
I have read many revenge narratives. Everything from Shakespeare to Marlowe, Shelley, Byron and Coleridge, Faulkner and Melville, Fitzgerald to Kerouac’s revenge on modern life and all the way down to the modern narratives of Philippa Gregory’s women of history and their own private acts of revenge. From time to time, I have noticed that changes in the narrative style of revenge make it more and more pleasing when the protagonist finally gets their revenge every single time. With each turn, we have a new meaning to the act and it is never just one single act. It can be many small acts in which the protagonist builds to a pinnacle and the climax of the novel becomes more intense than ever. There are possibilities though, left in our modern times, for even more changes to the revenge narrative. This is where “Lore” by Alexandra Bracken comes in.
Set in numerous places with the Ancient Greek Gods at work and play, every few years Zeus sends the gods back to earth as mortals in order to prove they are worthy. Lore’s entire family is killed and she, determined to find out why, must go down there and subject herself to these mortal games in which ‘hunters’ haunt the streets looking for a god to kill for their elixirs and more. In this brutal spin of ‘the deadliest game’ - cat and mouse like antics run wild whilst the underlining story of Lore’s revenge comes out like a Shakespearean play - a Hamlet-esque fight for family over power.
I was stunned when I read this book. It is filled with these odd contemplations about how power works and whether power is all there is at all for the gods. There are these philosophical moments in which Lore is thinking about what other qualities she has and that time where she kicks the ass of the boy who tries to kiss her. This fight scene is probably the most telling in all of the first part as it really shows us who Lore is. Apart from all this philosophy about mortality, death and who the gods really are, we have Lore fight against this man who has seriously made her angry. What we see of Lore is something we will see much more of later on: rage. Her rage is basically her metaphorical fire and though this may sound cliché, there is really nothing cliché about it at all.
The writing style is a beautiful blend between this mythical speak of gods and monsters and this all-encompassing existential philosophy of life and death. You can go from “what is life…” all the way to “who are the gods and how do they rule us…” in a matter of pages. You will never be bored in terms of things to think about and every single page will make you pause, contemplate and analyse before you move on. There is something incredible about this book - like it has its own sense of magic as it blends the best of each of the older revenge tragedies almost perfectly into this brand new sub-genre.
In conclusion, I would like to recommend this book to everyone who loves Greek Myths, everyone who loves “The Hunger Games” and “Percy Jackson” and everyone who loves to read a bit of existential philosophy and morality philosophy. There is practically something for everyone in this book and the way it is written gives you not only moments to think about them, but gets you deeply involved with the main character - Lore. She will become your new superhero and guide through the realm of fantasy fiction.