Hey everyone! Angel and I are back today with another one of our discussions. Sorry we’ve been a little bit behind with this, we promise we’re almost caught up! But anyway, today we’re discussing Lore by Alexandra Bracken.
The Darkest Minds has been one of my favourite YA series for years, so I was pretty sure I was going to like this. But I know this was your first time reading Bracken, so how’d you feel Angel?
Angel: It was my first time reading Bracken and I seriously had such a good time. I’m not sure I would go back and read The Darkest Minds but if she releases something else that I might be interested in – It’s going to be easy for me to pick up.
Lore was everything that I was hoping it to be. It had lots of action, court intrigue and was a great modern Greek Mythology retelling. It’s not for everyone – but it was sure a hit for me. I know you liked it as well, what were your first thoughts going into it?
Ely: I don’t know whether The Darkest Minds would hold up now without having read it before. It’s an old YA now, but it definitely paved the way for lots of author books and authors. I’ll always love it because I read it right at the time it was released.
I also loved Lore. It was extremely different from what I was expecting, even right from the go but I was immediately sucked in. What did you think of the character, Lore?
A: It took me a little while to get into it, but I think I was just so busy that I didn’t have the time to sit down and take it all. But once I did, I couldn’t stop reading.
I really enjoyed Melora, or as she is known Lore. She was a badass and didn’t let anyone knock her down but she still had very human feelings. The contrast was fantastic to see. She reminds me a lot of Greek Heroes and who they were written to be – and I think that was done on purpose. Lore isn’t a character everyone is going to love – but she was just written so well that I couldn’t help but want to read more of her. What did you think of Lore?
E: I had a sort of similar experience where I was like, “oh I’m just going to start this, oh whoops I’ve read three quarters of it!” It’s one of those books that is hard to put down, for sure.
I mean, you’ve heard me talk about trauma and its representation in YA fantasy at length many times. I actually liked the way Lore got to have her badass moments but also had her moments of reflection and feelings of loss. I think that way of thinking—”I’ve got to get all this done and then I’ll grieve” is a very realistic depiction. So I really liked Lore for that—I also just like that she’s smart, sassy and a little stubborn. Those are my favourite kinds of female characters in fantasy.
A: YES! I agree with everything you’ve just said. Lore is very human and adored that. We get to see her be badass, but we also get to see her break – and that is absolutely perfectly fine!
I think grief and loss is looked at really well throughout the whole book. Not only with Lore and her family, but the Gods as well. It was really interesting. While the Gods and Goddess are still to the core who they are originally, Bracken explores them as something that they are rarely shown as. Weak. And I found that really interesting. I have grown up reading, studying and deleving myself into the world of mythology, especially Greek – and I found this fascinating. What about you?
E: I thought the depiction of the Gods was a really interesting one. We often see them often held up as heroes and something to worship, or as cruel beings that should be feared. It’s very rare that we get to see anything more complex than that, and I think that’s what Bracken gives us here. The Gods are both those things in Lore, but they’re also so much more. The only other depiction that comes to mind that is kind of similar is Riordan’s series, but in particular Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And we both adore that, obviously.
How about some of the side characters? It’s kind of difficult to talk about the Gods without ruining anything, so how did you feel about Lore’s friends?
A: Yes! I can absolutely see the connection there. We see God’s make mistakes in mythology, but we don’t necessarily see them pay for those mistakes. And they literally become human in this series and can die – they pay for what they have done with their lives.
I loved them all. Miles was absolutely fantastic and is the best friend that everyone in the world needs. I smiled so much whenever Miles was there. Castor was brilliant and gosh I wanted more of him. I also really enjoyed Van – while at times I wanted to punch him in the face – there was always good intention there. The only one that I didn’t feel much towards was Iro – who I felt we didn’t know enough for me to connect with her. What about you? How did you feel about them?
E: I don’t want to be dramatic, but I would die for both Miles and Castor. They’re just brilliant. Like you said, Miles was just adorable and hilarious. He really brightened up the whole story and I think without him there it might have been a little more depressing. As for Castor, I just think Bracken writes these truly wonderful love interests. I adore Liam from The Darkest Minds and Castor just made me feel the same. I think Van is a little more of a complicated, reserved character but I did appreciate him. I felt the same with Iro—she just wasn’t on the page enough to make me feel a particular way about her.
Was there anything else that stood out to you?
A: I don’t think that is dramatic at all because I would do the exact same thing for them. I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt that way about Iro. I wanted to like her, but I just wasn’t able to see enough of her to formulate any thoughts.
I’ve been reading through some reviews, just to see what others thought of it. And like I said before it’s not for everyone. I think people went into thinking it’s going to be one thing and it wasn’t exactly what they were expecting. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.
One of the things I’ve seen is that they felt there was a lot of info dumping in the book. And normally that is something that turns me off – but I didn’t feel like that with this. I think there was just enough information intertwined into the story to let the readers know what is happening. We needed to know a lot of that background information for everything to make sense. What do you think of this?
E: I can understand why people thought it would be different. I definitely wasn’t expecting what we got, but luckily this is my kind of book anyway.
As for the info dumping, I hadn’t even thought of that honestly. To me it felt extremely fast-paced and I loved the journey Bracken took us on. However, it is a standalone and therefore there really isn’t any way that Bracken could’ve worked around sharing that information. We needed all of that worldbuilding here because it’s the only book.
A: I felt exactly the same. I didn’t realise that it was an issue until I read some reviews. And as you said it’s a standalone, I couldn’t see a way that it would have worked any other way without losing important information. I didn’t feel like the pace was bad or anything.
I think the only problem I did have was with the flashbacks. While I felt that most of them were very well places and worked to enhance the story, I did feel that it did take away from the story a little bit – and it’s not a massive issue.
I think the whole concept of this book is really interesting. What did you think of it? Gods are mortal. They can be killed for their powers? But only for this specific time.
E: I think the flashbacks could’ve definitely been dialled back a few. Some of them were really key to the story, but others made it feel a little too crowded.
I loved the idea of the hunt, though I have to admit it took a little to really get into it and understand what was happening. I think it works that way though.
A: I have to agree, it did take a little while to get used to the world and it was all about – but that wasn’t a massive deal for me.
I think one more thing we should talk about before we wrap up is the romance in Lore. We’ve talked about Lore and Castor on their own, but together they just hit me. They were just so adorable together. I loved that they grew up together, they trained together and slowly they fell for one another. I did wish we got a little more of the romance – but honestly it’s because I’m selfish and I just want more. What did you think of Lore and Castor
E: I think they were adorable! Seriously, their romance is just sweet and I really enjoyed that especially while there’s so much other stuff going on in the story. I’m totally with you though, I can always go for a little more romance!
Well, I think we’ve covered everything now?
A: I think so! If you have been hesitant to pick this book up because of the range of reviews, just do it. It’s the only way you are going to know where you stand. But I know that I loved it.
E: I agree, and with that said—we’ll see you all in a few weeks with our discussion of One Last Stop by Casey McQuisten over on Angel Reads!