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480 pages, Hardcover
First published January 5, 2021
Nine gods have been abandoned by Zeus as punishment for a rebellion filled with betrayal. Since the banishment, these nine gods are forced to walk among humans like mortals, while carrying out their bloodline. Yet, every seven years, the Agon takes place in a city for seven days, where all the descendants from all of these ancient bloodlines can kill the god they descend from and take their powers (and immortality) for themselves. And the start of a new Agon is finally here, and is going to take place in New York City, yet our main character is haunted by the last Agon where her family was brutally murdered.
"Nine gods have betrayed me and now demand cruel revenge."
And so, Athena and Lore’s lives in this Agon are forever intertwined, while they try to survive in New York City, and try to get the vengeance they so desperately have wanted these last seven years against a new god called Wrath. But things change even more so when Lore realizes she is a lot closer to another god than she realizes, and she also is quickly realizing that things are a lot more personal than she ever imagined. Especially when Wrath wants to kill all the gods, regardless of bloodline and regardless of transferring magical abilities and artifacts attached to those bloodlines.
"I will help you survive this week, and you will destroy the god once known as Aristos Kadmou, the enemy of my blood"
Overall, I really liked this unique spin on Greek mythos, and I really enjoyed how this author intertwined this story in a modern day setting. I think it was a solid standalone, and I was very impressed with the characters, so many of the themes, and the central discussions of found family and second chances, and the constant reminder that there is no “right way” to heal from trauma and grief. Also, I will always love a good reclaiming of Medusa and her whole entire monster story. Be still, my Circe loving heart. But I really enjoyed Lore and Castor’s relationship. I loved the Van and Miles and truly were amazing side characters.
"It’s okay to want good things […] and to believe that you deserve a good life."
Content and Trigger Warnings: a lot of blood depiction, murder, loss of a loved one, graphic torture depictions (some to children), graphic violence, gore, sexual assault, grief depiction, ptsd, child abuse, threat of pedophilia,, threat of rape, implied pedophilia, slavery, talk of cancer (leukemia), child cancer (and mention of chemo, radiation, stem-cell transplants, etc.), mention of heart attack, mention of cancer coming back, bombings, explosions, brief mentions of suicide, and war themes. This is a pretty dark book, and it surprised me a lot with the constant learning of the torture that happened to Lore’s family in the past, so please use caution and make sure you are in the right headspace.
"And now history remembers her as a villain who deserved to die."
The Written Review
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“They sat in silence for several minutes after Lore had finished giving Miles a ruthlessly pared-down explanation of the Agon, the nine gods it had been created to punish—including the one whose wound she had seared shut in their living room—and the nine bloodlines descended from ancient heroes chosen to hunt them.
She distilled over a thousand years of history into mere minutes, feeling more and more insane as his face remained carefully blank. It wasn’t like Lore could blame him; hearing herself say the words “For seven days, every seven years, the gods walk on earth as mortals. If you can kill one, you become a new god and take their power and immortality, but you’ll be hunted in the next Agon as well”
“The Spartan . . . they called you,” Athena breathed. “Little Gorgon . . . I searched for you . . . chose you . . . knowing that skill . . . knowing that you are no longer one of the hunters. . . . But you have . . . never been weak . . . never powerless.”
If we do not end the Agon, it will end us.
“I was born knowing how to do three things – how to breathe, how to dream, and how to love you.”
"I was born knowing to do three things - how to breathe, how to dream, and how to love you."