Leigh Ann: All right. Welcome back, lit nerds, to another episode of the Modcast. Today Carrie will not be hosting. It is I, Leigh Ann, your favorite Modcaster. She has unfortunately broken her pinky toe, possibly. Not sure if it’s left or right, but either way, it’s not good. So we’re going to go ahead and plow forward without her, and do our–and do our best today because we’re going to be talking about Lore by Alexandra Bracken, who is a New York Times best-selling author, who is not quite so impressive to us.
So let’s go ahead and introduce all of ourselves before we really start getting into this. Daniela, would you like to introduce yourself?
Daniela: I’m Daniela and I’m, I’m excited to get into my review of this book.
Diany: Um, hi, everyone. I’m Diany, and I’m also, um, looking forward to also reviewing this book, uh, with the rest of the group. [Chuckles.]
Forest: Hi, I’m Forest, also your favorite Modcaster, not to, you know, give any offense to Leigh Ann, but whatever we’re moving on. Um, I am probably the least excited to give my review of this book. Um yeah, all right.
Lane: And I’m Lane. And, you know, I was really excited for this book, but I was let down so many times. So let’s get into why that is and then later the spoilers, so back to Leigh Ann.
Leigh Ann: Okay, so we’ve already got a few mixed reviews. Some people are excited, some people are not. So, Lore by Alexandra Bracken. Here’s a synopsis, before we start talking about
all the spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, you better read it for yourself and then come back to this podcast after it’s been ruined for you.
Okay, so I’m just going to go ahead and read the blurb that’s on the inside of the flap of the book cover:
[In a dramatic voice.] “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.”
[Normal voice.] Okay, very dramatic, right? I thought it had potential. I really did.
And then I read it, and I was like, [Pained laugh.] This is not good. Um, and I don’t know if you know how I take notes, but I take notes when I read. It doesn’t matter what I’m reading, I always take notes and annotate in pencil in the margins. This book is like, 90 percent pencil marks now because I could not get over all the badness, the not-well-executedness that this is. And on this fancy Modcast notepad that I made myself and for the rest of the group, that you can’t see, but I–Just know I made one–I wrote two pages of notes on this about how bad it was.
But I do want to…I’m going to go ahead and start my review and be aware, again, plenty of spoilers are ahead. I want to start off with positives.
As a feminist work, I think this is good. As a feminist work, if you look at this through a feminist lens, especially with the interactions between Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and the main character Lore, um, it’s definitely pro-woman, you know. Pro woman being strong, main characters with powers and abilities.
But then, um, negatives very much outweigh the pro-feminist message here. And I’m not going to go over all of the negat–negatives because then we’ll be here forever because I’ll talk for a very long time. But aside from all the plot holes, and you know the lack of world-building, and any reasons for any character’s actions or motivations, [laughs], there was one thing that really stuck out to me was the diversity. It was–It had terrible diversity. And I’m not talking about race, but I’m talking about complete lack of disability representation in any capacity.–Unless you count the fact that Lore, the main character can lipread as a spy tool.
But as a person who daily lipreads–I was professionally trained in lipreading. She’s able to–It kills me because Lore–or Bracken, actually, wrote in the, in the story that only 50 percent of words are readable on the lips. That’s not even true. Only 35 percent at the most is lipreadable. And then after saying she could only read 50 percent of the words on the person’s lips, Lore is able to understand 100 percent of it all of the time. It doesn’t make sense. Make it make sense!
Um, but aside from that, that’s not even disability representation at all. So let’s talk about the diversity, which–I have an entire page, okay? So there’s no disability representation, there’s no female queer characters at all. Um, now for the seven minority characters, seven minority characters in the entire novel that actually impact the plot: stereotypes galore.
Okay. They are all tokenized; they are all stereotypical, one-dimensional representations. Um, so I’m just gonna go by characters.
Hermes and Dionysus, um, or the reincarnated gods, they’ve taken the, um, god powers and they have new names but I already forgot the names, so I’m going to call them Hermes and Dionysus. Neither of them is straight, but they both die pretty much as soon as we meet them. And we never see them together, even though they’ve supposedly been dating for like, hundreds of years and decades or whatever. Um, so the white homos die off, basically.
And then Heartkeeper and Tidebringer, who are also gods. These are POC new gods. They die pretty much as soon as we meet them, and that leaves us only with the white gods.
Okay. Then the daughter of Heartkeeper, Iro. She is a person of color, obviously, because her father is. She’s also a traitor immediately, and then at the end of the book, she is superficially redeemed without having ever apologized for her actions, never had any motivation really for her
actions to begin with. So it just portrays her as opportunistic for no reason. And I’m not saying two is a trend, but this is exactly what happened with the POC character in Hush, which I read last year and it was the worst book I’ve ever read last year. It had a POC female character who was a bad guy for the entire novel, and then at the end the plot twist is she’s actually a good person who’s trying to help the main character survive by being shitty. I’m like, what? So I’m not saying two is a trend but it’s just weird that it happened twice, you know?
Um, and then Van, the Black repressed queer in the novel. Um, and then one thing that really bothered me is on page 164, he uses a prison metaphor for feeling trapped, which is valid, but the fact that Lore always uses the feather imagery for feeling trapped and her desire for freedom, and then Van shows up, like the only Black character, and he’s like, “I feel like a prisoner!” Like, you shouldn’t be…Um, awkward, ha ha!
And then Lore, like, kind of remembers her dad told her that, um, he used to say that a cage was only as strong as your mind made it, which is such a white way of looking at prison. [Laughs.] It completely ignores institutional roots that create and perpetuate, you know, the whole problem with prisons to begin with. Okay, that’s Van, who also drinks warm milk, which is just a psychopathic thing to do, besides.
Then Miles, who is our token Asian character, the only Asian in the entire novel. He’s Korean, specifically. He’s openly queer, which is okay, but he is the cliché, comedic queer that nobody actually really likes. They just, they just let them hang around and make them laugh every once in a while. Um, and the thing that really bothered me about Miles was his treatment of Van when they first meet. Miles was terrible to Van. He treated him like a criminal, almost. Very antagonistic towards him for no reason, you know. Van said, “You know what, you don’t know anything about this world so you should stay out of it,” and then Miles is like, “Fuck you, man,” for no reason. Like, what? It doesn’t make any sense!
But despite that, Van and Miles fall in love at first sight or something. Um. And there’s nothing in the story that points to their even being friends at all, and then–except like, the warm milk scene. Again, psychopathic. And I guess they must have fallen in love, um, off screen. Like, during the what, 13 chapters that they had no role in the story at all? They just disappeared and then showed up again when it was convenient. Um like, they just sat and waited around for Lore the entire time, I don’t know.
So to sum all of that up: it’s the queer-coding of, um, you know, Black Indigenous People of Color; there are no white queer characters except the ones they killed off at the beginning. Um, so all it does is reinforce white heteronormativity, um, and it reinforces–it underscores, um, Black, um, not Black women specifically, but women of color such as Iro as the outsider, as the traitor, sort of thing. And it–the whole thing, the whole diversity–quote-unquote diversity really made me feel uncomfortable through the whole movie. And then at the end of the book I was like, “This is what I’m going to talk about the whole time.”
So I’m just going to go ahead and end it there and let somebody else have a turn to complain. So Daniela, what do you want to complain about?
Daniela: I love your energy, Leigh Ann. I, um, first and foremost hadn’t really paid attention to the whole milk issue. Um, I mean first off, who drinks warm milk? And who’s still drinking dairy at this point? Like, come on. Who’s drinking dairy? I guess Van is.
Um, I had, I honestly completely passed through that I didn’t really realize that. But now that you’re saying that like I’m like that is so true he literally just handed him some warm milk. It is a crime. It’s a crime. [Laughs.]
Um, but um, like I said, um, like I said to the girls, when I first finished reading this book, I wanted to love this book so much. Like, it was a huge disappointment and a huge letdown. Um, I think everybody at this zoom call is feeling that same thing right now.
I, um, went into this thinking like, “Oh my goodness, this is gonna be Percy Jackson but YA style.” And that completely sold me. That’s what I thought, I mean Percy Jackson was my livelihood growing up! I mean, I love Greek mythology, and I really thought this was gonna be some kind of like you know, like some, you know, grown-up mythology you know, where like, where everybody from Camp Half-Blood grows up and it was completely not that. Um, I’ve read some, like–Recently, in the past few years, some really good Greek mythology retellings have come out, or just mythology in general. Um, like, for example, like, we have Gods of Jade And Shadow, Song of Achilles, and Circe. Those are some top-tier retellings that I personally really like. Um, this book…I was so ready to put it next to that little, little space in my favorites library, but it’s…I don’t even want to put this book in my library!
I’m embarrassed and ashamed and uh, I feel so bad saying that because uh, it really takes a lot out of me to dislike a book. Um, but I, I unfortunately have to have to. I think I’m gonna give this book a two-stars. I will, I mean–And that’s, that’s being generous, I will say. Um, personally when I read this, this little synopsis to this story, I automatically thought Athena. I automatically thought of this kind of like Hunger Games style, that’s the way this book was pitched. It was put–pitched Greek mythology meets Hunger Games, and I mean, what? That sounds really really freaking cool! But, it wasn’t.
And honestly one of the reviews that I read going into this book which um, like, shame on me because I usually hate reading reviews of books before I go into books, but um, I don’t know. Something happened, and I ended up on the Goodreads reviews. But basically, somebody had said you need a really strong understanding of Greek mythology to understand this book. Um. And I think, first off, like, what kind of book makes you come in with some, some knowledge? Like that’s, that’s pretentious. Like, that’s, that’s pretty messed up. Like I don’t think that’s fair. Like, why do I have to bring in required readings to read a book? A YA book nonetheless. Like, no offense, but it’s not like I’m reading some, some heavy literature. Like, I’m–This was supposed to be a fun, happy book, and then it wasn’t.
So um. Honestly, the first few chapters really made me wonder if this was like, a second book in a series or something, because I really felt like there was some information that I simply didn’t understand. Like, for all–for all we know, like, these first few chapters could have been literal gibberish. And I still, I still would have thought the same exact thing if they were in English or not. Like, I completely read the first few, I had to read the first few chapters a few times. It took me a while to get into it because I kept thinking, “There is something I’m missing. Does my book have missing chapters? Something’s wrong. Because there is no way, like.” I’m, I’m sorry, but Bracken, like, your, your world-building is, is–It’s pretty bad.
Honestly, like, I–That’s the nicest way I could put it because it’s, it really needs some help. How am I supposed to know? I mean, the world-building felt really flat because um…There are some, first there are some pages in the very beginning, if you guys haven’t picked up your book, um, they kind of give you a little bit of um, information. So it kind of serves as some kind of guide, and it lets you know what characters are in what house, but at the very beginning of the book? I’m sorry, but you don’t really you don’t need that information because I don’t know who any of these characters are. All I know is Lore! That’s all I know, so–because her name’s the book. You know?
So I don’t know who anybody is. Um, so when I see all these names, I see Heart–Heartbringer? My–I don’t even know if I’m saying that–Heart…-something, whatever. Whatever these new gods are, I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what “House of Whatever” is. So um. It was no help. It wasn’t the help that we needed. I needed to know, um, many more things before I started into that. And even with that information page, I needed to know, like, why they were in that house, and just any general explanation of what this house represented? How do you get in this house? Can anyone be in a house…and kill a god? You know, like? I don’t even know, like, if–Is this asking too much? I just, I feel like I needed a lot of background information. I really felt like I needed some kind of, some structure. And I feel like Bracken constantly was throwing these things in your face, but then kind of…Like, treating them as if, like, “I’m giving you, like, basic information.” Like, oh yeah, this person was in this house. But it’s like, okay, why? Like what’s going on? What does this house represent? And to…and then on…
To top it all off, they didn’t even use like, the top-top, like, Greek gods. Like, I mean they used um, Aphrodite, Athena, um, Poseidon, Ares, I think, and that might be it. I might be missing one or two. Um, but they used, uh, Medusa, they used, um…Hephaestus? I could never say his name right. But um, they use, like, low–like, lower tier gods. And you don’t really understand that until the very end. And it’s a throwaway comment like, blink and you’ll miss it. But they say that the reason these gods are in this duel, Hunger Games style, is because they, they um, disobeyed Zeus? And honestly it really was, like, I almost missed that.
And then you get, you have the question of, what did they do to disobey Zeus? Like, I think that was the story. I think that’s what they should have told us from the beginning. I don’t think they should have started with like, uh, um, Lore’s, like in a boxing match? Like what? What, okay girl, okay. It just, to me, it didn’t make sense. And I, I really feel like I needed some context.
I’m really not afraid to admit when I think a book is too smart for me. For example, I think Dune is way too smart. I think that’s out of my league. That is like, some heavy world-building! And I, I, I’m not afraid to say: that book will probably take me years to finish. But this is not the case for this book. This book is not too smart for anyone, it’s just, it’s Bracken just not giving us good world-building. And…Um, I really, I really try to find the good in books, because I think the fact that somebody publishes a book alone, is just, you know, like, something that we really should be praising them for. I mean, all of us, as English students, um, who are working on M.A.’s, Ph.D.s, I mean, we write a lot. We know that this is not easy. So to kind of…I–To put this book down, I feel guilty…But no! Because she has an editor; she has people looking at this. And, I’m sorry, do your friends not read your books and tell you they’re not very good? I feel like we should all be the best possible critics. And me saying that this book was okay is not even a fair, fair review, honestly. Like um.
And I, I’m really glad that Leigh Ann brought up the whole token gay character because when I finished reading this book I really kind of just had to sit back and think. Like, I needed a, I needed a break from this book after I read this line. Because there’s a line where Miles says “the wash on them is very two seasons ago.” And that’s just one of the things that he said. Everything is just kind of like, pigeonholing him into that, that just like, that like, a gay BFF. You know, that’s what they were trying to do. And I’m like, no! I thought we left like, I thought we left that whole stereotype in the 2010s, like when Paris Hilton was still everybody’s role model. Like I, I thought we were done with that, that trope. That’s just like not accurate at all, and not a fair representation. So I’m very disappointed with the character of Miles. I feel like he could have easily been out of the book I would not have cared.
And that sounds harsh, but honestly anybody could have been out of the book and I would have been fine. Like, Lore, I’m sorry. I felt nothing for you. Like, your parents died, sucks, you know? It sucks, but I don’t care! Like, I sound like a, a, a huge you-know-what, but um, I’m sorry, she, there is no, I feel no empathy for her, I feel no sympathy.
And, um, as much as you’re trying to like–I feel like Bracken was kind of, like, trying to force our arms into caring about her. Like, poor thing! Her little sisters died, and they’re just babies! I’m sorry! I don’t care. Like, I feel nothing for her. She um…She provides no insight into this book.
And, and then to top it off, I feel like Miles only like, only purpose in this book was to kind of make her look better. And I think that’s, that’s really effed up, you know? Because all he would do would be like, “Oh, I know that Lore is so sweet!” Like no! He deserved his own role and his own time in the sun, but instead you’re trying so hard to make people feel sympathy for Lore that you give her all these little characters that just–I don’t empathize with at all. And the last character that just really–I mean, all the characters piss me off, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll only speak about one more. Um, the character of Athena. God, ugh! I, I started liking her. I’ll say it, I’ll say it: I started liking her.
And that’s what–I mean, like, looking–If you look at like, Greek mythology and stuff, like, I mean, I–She’s kind of my least favorite. She’s not, she’s not very known for being a fun guy–um, gal. But she, she got me. She got me in this book! I started feeling things for her. I started thinking, you know, like, “Oh my god, maybe she is this, like, misunderstood woman!” Hell no. Hell. No. She’s not.
I mean, she like–Bracken depicts her as this cold goddess. Um, I mean–And of course! I mean, rightfully so. She’s ancient and just lost the last of her original family members. And then, and then, just, you know. And then she gives us this scene where they’re on that rooftop. It’s a really beautiful scene. I think it was beautiful. Could have been better, but I’ll let it slide. I, I felt a little, a little something there because I started, um, feeling really sympathetic when you start talking about Medusa, when you started talking about how–And then I love that Lore–This is–Okay.
This is the only time I’ll actually applaud Lore because she was actually calling out Athena. She said, “You never, um, really help women. You’re not known for helping women. You helped Perseus find the…whatever. Um, and you know, like, you’ve never helped a woman through her quest. In fact, you’ve condemned women throughout your whole life!” I mean, she’s like, “You condemned Medusa. You don’t even claim your own mother. You claim that you were born from Zeus, when in fact, the true case of like, the actual lore says that you’re–that Zeus swallowed your mother that was pregnant with you. And now you’re just like, ‘Haha no, I was born from Zeus, of course!’” So that–I love that Lore calls her out on that because I, I kind of do feel like it was like a, a sneak diss, um, towards, you know? Like it was Bracken’s sneak diss on Greek mythology. And I really did like that and I was cheering her on.
But then…You kind of like, I feel like Bracken just threw this all in your face and kind of was just like, “Haha! I made you feel something.” Because she, Athena betrays her. And it’s actually Athena killed her whole family. And I will say that was uh, something I didn’t expect. But it wasn’t like, in the sense like, “Oh my god, I would have never seen that coming!” No, it shouldn’t have come because it made no sense. Like, it’s not like they were being sneaky about it. Like, it just made zero sense to–for–to make Athena be the bad guy.
And then in like, the last few chapters, she has a turn of heart and decides to sacrifice herself? That just made no sense. And um. For Athena and Apollo to sacrifice themselves, and I wish I could feel something, but I felt nothing. I just, I–Like, Bracken, I wanted to feel something and I didn’t. This book just made me feel empty inside, made me question myself as a human. Do I have emotions? Um. But no, I don’t, I guess. Because this book made me feel nothing!
Um, so I, I’ll, I’ll go ahead and pass it on to Diany because I could–just like Leigh Ann, I could be here all night telling you about all the things wrong with Lore. But I’ll, I’ll let someone else speak. So um, Diany, what, what did you think?
Diany: Okay. Um, so yeah. It’s, it’s a lot. [Laughs.] When I said I was really looking forward to talking about this, um. It’s because I really was trying to be positive about this. Like I, I think in a previous episode for the anticipated books of 2021, it was me and Daniela who chose this book as the most anticipated book of the year. Um, so I was really positive about this, really looking forward to this, um, you know. Very optimistic, which, which is weird because I’ve always been very like, “Ah,” like, “no,” very negative all the time. But I was really looking forward to this book because I had heard, at first, a lot of good things about it. So I was like, “Okay, so it must be really good!”
Overall, my thoughts about it…It was just confusing. Just pure confusion of the book. You know. And that was really a struggle to get through it. When I love a book, I try to read it fast because it’s like, “[Gasps.] I need to know what happens next!” You know. I usually read it within a day or within less than a week, depending on my workload from work and school. It’s been three weeks, and I still haven’t finished this book. I still have 180 pages left or something. Um, so yeah. It’s been, it’s been a struggle to, to try to finish this book because it’s, it’s just very uh, slow for me.
But you know, it just–I think Daniela did say this earlier, it–she seemed the–Alexandra Bracken seems to assume that we’ll understand? You know? And you know, by that little guide of the houses and everything. I feel like, when I was reading, you know, as she was introducing the characters, it’s like, “Oh okay. Who, who’s Castor?” Like, I need, needed to reread again, go back a few pages, and everything. And “Okay, who’s Belen?” And as I go, going back to a few pages and reread everything, and you know. I, I just had to, you know, you know. The guide wasn’t enough to depend on. And it’s like, “Okay, that wasn’t really clear, you know, to understand the context and everything, and the characters.” So it was really hard to keep track of the plot like that, with that, because it–I had to go back a few pages and reread, and then later go back a few pages and reread. So it was really hard to understand what was going on with, with the story.
Um, with some moments of the story, you know, they were like “oh, okay.” Um, I kind of, you know, I thought it was going to get better in some moments of the, in the middle of the story, and you know, some of the moments, it’s like, “I knew that was happening,” you know? When it comes to a movie or a story, I kind of predict what’s gonna happen. And with this one, it’s like, there was a prediction that I had that came that came true. And sometimes when that happens with me, it’s like, I really don’t like it because it’s like, it’s either too forced, or it’s too predictable, you know? So it’s like, [grimaces], you know? I like being surprised. And I was like, I expect to be surprised. You know like, “[Gasps dramatically.] Oh my god, I can’t believe that happened!” Um, so yeah. I feel like it was…both, you know? It was forced, and then also really predictable. Um, and one of the moments that was–that, that are really clear for me is the moment where Gil was Hermes all along. That one was like…I saw it coming. I was like, “I wish it could have been, like, another thing,” but you know. I, I think that was too predictable for me.
Then visualizing everything, that was also tricky because even though there’s like, a map of New York City in the cover, it was hard to…to visualize. Like, unless you’ve been to New York, then you would understand. Because I think one of the moments that I was reading recently was about the charging bull and, you know, bodies being at the charging bull. I’ve been to that statute. It’s actually in New York by Wall Street, but unless you haven’t gone to New York, you would be like, “What bull?” you know? It’s like, you have to be there to understand kind of like, the setting. So it’s, it, it’s…It’s hard to visualize sometimes because there were other moments in the book that were like, “Okay, I don’t know which place they’re talking about here, but let’s just go with it, with, with the story.”
So with that: the characters. I, I couldn’t like any of them. Um, you know. I usually like the main characters a lot. I could not relate to Lore at all. Um, Athena, she…You know I love Greek mythology, I’ve always been a fan of Greek mythology. Athena, you know, was one of my favorites growing up, you know, just because she was a goddess of wisdom, and. But, you know, yeah. It’s just hard to like any goddess. I did imagine her, because Alexandra Bracken described her as a really tall woman, you know. I described her kind of like, Brienne of Tarth, you know, from Game of Thrones. Like, that actress. So that’s who I was visualizing the whole time. Um, but other than that, I couldn’t really picture the the other characters. It was hard to, to visualize, or you know, set that imagery up.
Um. Overall, I think it…What…Like it, it was really overhyped. Like, I had heard a lot of good things about it previously. I was really excited for it, you know. There was a lot of promotion for it. I saw it in a lot of like, websites, you know, that it was one of the most anticipated books of the year. So I was like, “Okay,” you know, being a fan of Greek mythology. But yeah, I hate that I was disappointed, you know? Because I really tried to write good things about it. I wrote a whole page of negative things about it instead.
So when, whenever I finish a book–and I haven’t finished that, this one–I usually…Me, being a super nice person, I usually give five stars or four stars on Goodreads because I just hate disappointing an author so much. Because I know that they put a time–a lot of time and effort in this, so I was like, “Oh, okay. I like being a nice person.” But it’s like, “Let’s give them a four. I just know that, that…There were some things that I had trouble with it, but you know, you know, it’s good. It’s still a four.” I cannot put myself to, to give them a three. I, I have to, I have to give her a two stars out of five because, you know. I, I hate being that person because it’s like, “Nooo!” Like, but yeah. I…Yeah, it’s a two-star. But yeah, um. I’m looking forward to hearing Forest’s review next.
Forest: Okay, so I’m gonna preface my, um, my uh, review with saying one thing that I did enjoy quite, quite nicely was the cover of the book. It was very pretty. It was very nice. Good, good solid choices. Whoever designed this, this book jacket…A star. You are a star in the making. But this book I can say was, uh, probably one of like, the worst things that I’ve read in a couple of years. Um, and that’s me saying that because I couldn’t even get past page 56.
Um, and I think the reason why I couldn’t even get past page 56 was because on page 52–I’ll give you a moment to flip to that, if you’ve been suckered into buying this book for some, some reason. Um, it says, “She (being Lore) distilled over a thousand years of history into mere minutes feeling more and more insane as his face remained carefully blank.” That was my face because before page 52, I honestly had no clue what was going on, other than she was an underground…boxer. [Background noise.] And Athena was shot with some, some object. Um, and you know, I’m not an expert in, in Greek mythology. [Laughs.] I’m just a regular liter–literature person, but I, you know, I do my research. I know things.
Um, I think when the author was, when Bracken was intending to write this book, I feel like maybe this is a second book or possibly a third book in a series. I do not think that this is a book that is a number one, a standalone book, or number two, the first book in…god willing, not a three- to four-book series. Um…I just, I just think the characters, like Leigh Ann said, and like Daniela said, and like Diany said, and I’m like, I’m sure Lane will say, were very one-dimensional. They didn’t have a lot of backbone. And I don’t mean not a lot of like…rage or like, you know, an ability to stand up for themselves when I mean backbone. But I mean like, I did not understand why they were doing what they were doing. And these are like, quote-unquote main characters, is essentially what I’m thinking. Um, because again I didn’t finish it. Um…
The, the story-building, [sighs heavily], was a lot like how Lore described her um, thousand years of history in a mere few minutes. Um it wasn’t very much like, that. Um, and I felt like almost like Bracken was um, trying to force her knowledge of lore–not the main character, the actual lore of Greek mythology–on us, um, without providing any feedback to this storyline. And I agree that you should never have to come in reading a novel with any background knowledge because you should be able to pick up a novel and understand it. Yeah. She was trying to show off. And the thing about that is, if you’re going to show off, it needs to be [sighs] it needs to be something like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, which is a phenomenal book. Phenomenal. Amazing. One of the best books I’ve ever read in my whole entire life and career. With that, and there was a lot of lore and mythology in that one too, but the way that she described it, even though it was such a high, a higher level of reading, especially for me coming at it in my first year of grad school and I was like, “I have no clue what’s going on but you know what, this is amazing!” I didn’t need the background information because she, she filled me in. With this one you have to legitimately go in and read all the background information, but even then it still doesn’t make sense because she’s essentially creating a world that is not within the realm of actual Greek mythology.
And…I, I think it’s a good second book maybe a good third book. Well, I don’t want to say good. I want to say maybe mediocre. Um, but that sounds a little harsh. [Chuckles.] And I’m not trying to be harsh. [Groans.] But um. Yeah, I just needless to say, when I leave back home to go to Oklahoma, this book will remain in California. Because like Leigh Ann, Daniela, Diany, and I’m sure Lane will say, it does not deserve a space in my library. So I’m gonna go ahead and pass it on to Lane now.
Lane: Well, okay. You were talking about you didn’t want to be harsh. Um, so the first comment that I’m starting off with is, is pretty harsh. Um, so I’ve read 19 books so far this year, and one of those was American Psycho, which if y’all have read the book or seen the movie, you know how brutal it is. I had more fun with that novel than I did with this one. Like, eve–I had fun up until the first attack. Okay? I’ll put it that way. Which was page 90-something. By this book, I think I was already checked out page 40-something. I mean, it’s just, it’s a lot. Um, I…
The plot twists just did not have the…sort of appeal they were supposed to have. I mean, when I was reading, I kept thinking, “Oh, this is this is actually the Hunger Games. This is–Katniss did it better.” And then I thought, “Oh, this is probably one of those twists, like with the Hunger Games.” And yes, it was, of course. [Chuckles.] Um, so I just, I, I really didn’t like it. Um, I didn’t like Lore, especially when she had just such heavy, um, plot armor. I mean, nothing could happen to her. She nearly died two or three times, and she always came back. Imagine watching the first Avengers movie, and Tony Stark dies two or three times. I mean, you would get tired of it. It’s–You shouldn’t be that indestructible. And um, she’s always talking about, “Oh, I’m so awkward. Um, I’ve never met a situation that I couldn’t make awkward.” Girl. At one point she climbs a four four-story building with her hands! No rope, no nothing. With her hands. You don’t have to worry about being awkward. You do not have to worry about that. I, I assure you, if you can fight a god and die three times and come out of it still alive, you’re good.
Um, but talking about the characters, and the sort of throwaway comments, the few that I really did not like, um. There’s a throwaway comment about um, it’s after one of the attacks, and Lore asks Van what the news is saying, and he says that they’re thinking it’s a terrorist attack. And I didn’t really like that. Um, and especially because like, we’ve been saying, we’re already in 2021, you know. We should have left all this behind. And yet it still keeps popping up. And just all these, all the ways that she deals with these themes in maybe a paragraph or less and that’s it. And then it’s never mentioned again. She doesn’t return to it. I mean Castor was dying, and we only really sympathize with him as Lore in one scene. That’s it. You know. And I just didn’t like it.
Um, and there’s the whole part with, um, I can’t remember his name. It’s been a while since I read this book. I read it within a week to just get it over with. And I’ve blocked out 90 percent of it because I don’t want to remember it. But um, the, the bad guy, you know. Athena’s the bad guy, but the other bad guy, who tries to get Lore to be his child bride. Those whole interactions–[groans.] I mean, just awful. Why did that have to be a part of it? [Shiver.] I don’t know. Anyways.
Um so, and then me and Daniela talked about this. [Pause to read chat.] Wrath, yes! Wrath. Thank you, thank you. Um, me and Daniela talked about her nickname and we really tore that apart. Like, you want to get so far away from the gods and the whole thing and yet your nickname is Lore. And how did you get that from Lauren? Really weird. Really odd for me. Um, so anyways. Yeah.
Like I said, I did not enjoy this book. Um, I wish we had voted on the other book instead of this one. I think that would have been a lot more fun. But um, I’m going to have to give it a two because it’s, it’s okay. Um, I did like the twist, even though it did come out of nowhere. Athena has no reason to do that. But I did like the twist. I like Athena being a villain. I like it. I think it’s cool. Um, but it’s, it’s not an enjoyable read. So if you haven’t read it, and you were thinking about it, but you were a little unsure, I would suggest you don’t read it. Maybe pick up American Psycho. You might like that one, but not this one. [Laughs.] Okay, back to Leigh Ann for the outro.
Leigh Ann: Okay, so there you have it. We did not have very much of anything positive to say about Lore by Alexandra Bracken.
Um, honestly, I’m a little surprised that you guys, like, like, you feel a little uncertain or hesitant or you feel a little bad about being harsh or mean when you leave book reviews. But I am, like, deadly honest on my Goodreads book reviews. If you read them you’ll see that I leave like, two- or one-star reviews and I’m like, “This is awful and here’s why.” Like, I’m very upfront about it.
Um, but I’m just–But yeah, I haven’t left my review yet. I’m still actually typing that review. It’s gonna be a doozy and it’s gonna be one star. If I could give it less than one star I would.
But anyway, the outro.
Thank you guys for giving us your opinions and feedback about this book. Um, it’s a little bit of a downer of an episode, but the next episode hopefully we have something more uplifting and comedic to discuss. So, all right, lit nerds, that’s going to be us for tonight. We hope you have a good one, and see you next time.