Jan 28 2021

Marvel’s Black Panther: Sins of the King by Ira Madison III, Geoffrey Thorne, Tananarive Due, Mohale Mashigo & Steven Barnes

I feel like a dope for admitting how confusing I find the marketing/formatting of this product. It’s an audiobook, but I read it, and you can only get text samples from the website at the time of writing? Oh, wait, depending on what link you use, you can access both the text as well as audio narration by Chidi, I mean, William Jackson Harper (but honestly, I can see Chidi standing at a whiteboard, animatedly reading this out loud to me before offering me Peeps chili, lol.)

Anyway, I read this in its entirety and sampled the first chapter as audio. As far as Marvel novelizations go, it’s decent, with the edge probably going to the audiobook version (and I’m generally not good at listening to books, so this is pretty high praise from me.) King T’Challa of Wakanda a.k.a the Black Panther is pensive on the anniversary of his father’s death, wondering whether he’s doing his best in maintaining T’Chaka’s legacy, especially in the face of constant criticism from his still-isolationist council. When the Avengers call, letting him know that the villainous Graviton is heading to the neighboring country of (siiiigh) Rudyarda to steal secret technology, T’Challa leaps at the chance not only to do something heroic but also to prove to his council the worth of improving foreign relations, especially with a neighboring nation they share a contentious relationship with.

Post-apartheid Rudyarda is appropriately thankful for the help, even though casualties are high and destruction of infrastructure even worse. But when T’Challa later attends a benefit to help rebuild the city of (siiiiiigh) Kiplingaard, he’s assailed by an assassin whose subsequent death is captured on social media, labeling Black Panther a killer. Heading back to Wakanda under a cloud, he’s stunned by the sudden, mystifying appearance of perhaps the last person he’d expected to see: his very own father, whose secrets may go a long way to explaining recent mysterious events.

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Jan 23 2021

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Well this time around — the first in at least eight years — I read the Tom Bombadil chapter, and I’m glad I did. I had gotten in the habit of skipping it, so it had lodged in my mind as both much longer — turns out the chapter is only 15 pages — and far duller than it is. (Though I still skip or at most skim the poetry and songs in LotR.) Tom’s important, though, both narratively and mythically. He’s the first character who’s unambiguously magical. Gandalf, to that point, is just a whiz with lights and fireworks, and unusually adept at blowing smoke rings. Frodo knows that Gandalf knows a lot, but doesn’t yet have the framework to reckon with a world that’s got a lot of magic in it, and precious little well-disposed toward Shirefolk. The Black Riders have been mostly an unseen menace, good with cries that carry across the miles or some odd sniffing. Frodo and friends have sense enough to avoid them from the beginning, but again don’t, can’t appreciate what they are. Tom Bombadil and the Old Forest show the four hobbits a thing or two about magic, almost without thinking, and they begin to know Middle Earth outside the friendly confines of their home fields.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Mythically, Tom is the thing that does not fit in Tolkien’s carefully worked out cosmology. He’s got nothing to do with Valar and Maiar and all the rest from the oldest of the Silmarils down to the latest of the Dúnedain. Tolkien worked out three Ages of the history of Middle Earth and knows where everything came from, how everything descended from the songs and the Trees and the breaking of the world this way and that. And then there’s Tom. He just is. Not part of the scheme. Not affected by the entire rest of the mythos. When Frodo puts on the Ring, Tom basically says, “Dude, stop.” And when Tom tries on the Ring himself, his reaction is one big “Meh.” If myths are like languages, then Tom is an irregular verb. There’s no reason that verb shouldn’t behave like other verbs, but it doesn’t. It just is. And that’s the sort of thing that makes an artificial language, an artfully constructed mythos, feel real. A mythology where everything fits together perfectly, where every piece has its place, will feel both incomplete and too perfect. So Tolkien gives his readers Tom Bombadil, who does not fit in, and by not fitting in helps to make Middle Earth whole.

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Jan 22 2021

Hall Of Smoke by H. M. Long

This was a weird and wonderful story of a warrior priestess coming to realize that maybe the gods are liars, and that the most important thing is to work for the betterment and security of one’s people instead of haring off to get yourself killed for an idea of glory.

Hessa is an Eangi, one chosen by the Goddess of War herself to bear a shard of her mystic fire. When Hessa is fifteen, she’s tasked by her head priestess Svala to kill a man with mismatched eyes. Three years later, she finally meets the man but has already offered him the hospitality of Hearth Law. Loath to break one of the more binding traditions of the peoples of the north — especially since Omaskat is kind and entirely unlike any of the people she’s killed before — Hessa allows him to pass from Eang’s temple, the Hall of Smoke, unmolested. When Svala finds out, Hessa is banished from the town of Albor until the goddess forgives her. But while Hessa is doing penance, Albor is overrun by the Algatt, their neighbors to the north who worship Gadr, the God of the Mountain. The message is clear: if Hessa wants to save her people, she must track down Omaskat and kill him as she was always meant to do.

This quest sends Hessa all over the map, as she encounters unexpected allies and foes in a landscape suddenly thick with unbound gods and demons. Eang was said to have bound all who wished humanity harm when she conquered the Old Gods, but she seems to be more and more absent from the Waking World. Hessa must contend not only with loose malevolent entities but also with her shaken faith as she seeks to protect what’s left of her people, the Eangen, from what seems to be certain doom, both in this world and the next.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/22/hall-of-smoke-by-h-m-long/

Jan 21 2021

Last Song Before Night (The Harp and Ring Sequence #1) by Ilana C. Myer


There are the bones of a good story here. Once upon a time, Poets were able to work Enchantments with their songs, but when dark magic began to take over in the form of plague, the king of Eivar demanded that magic be excised from the kingdom altogether, putting the Poets and the Academy that trained them firmly under his heel. But rumors that the Red Death has returned would indicate that magic still exists in Eivar, and that magic may be the only way to stop the Red Death for good.

Lin wants to be a Poet despite the profession being closed off to her gender. A chance encounter with the great Poet Valanir Ocune not only encourages her to keep trying, but also sets her on the path to becoming one of the greatest Poets Eivar has ever seen… if she survives the process. Her companions, after a fashion, are Darien, the most talented Poet of his age, and Rianna, the sheltered daughter of a nobleman who may not have renounced his old, banned religion. Together, they will work to defeat the source of the Red Death, and bring all the goodness of magic back to Eivar.

The first problem with this book is that it’s filled with unlikeable people doing irrational things. Lin hates herself and thinks Darien is amazing (he’s not), Darien is a jerk who gets away with everything because he’s The Special One, and Rianna…. man, she starts out so promising but her incredibly self-centered, over the top reactions to everything that happens after she runs away to find Darien are just revolting. You can’t justifiably murder a guy for not treating you like you think a tortured romance hero should. It’s just… it felt a lot like I was reading a book from the 1970s or 80s, with an oddly restrictive sense of morality, where it’s okay for the alleged hero to shove a woman just because he’s frustrated and petty, and where the heroine’s constant self-abasement is seen as sympathetic instead of tiresome. For a book written in 2015, it feels regressive (tho at points I did worry that far too earnest people might read this book and see the casual slights against the stand-in for Judaism and not get that Ilana C Myer is ironically pointing out the tropes too often used against her people in Western literature.)

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Jan 19 2021

The Sisters Vol. 7: Lucky Brat by Christophe Cazenove & William Maury

Hunh, I didn’t realize this creative team was basically two dudes, with William Ramos Jr on the lettering. The book feels very authentically female, as it tells the story of two sisters, teenage Wendy and the much younger Maureen, and their hilarious relationships with one another, their family and friends.

Well, story insofar as this is mostly a collection of one-page vignettes loosely revolving around the theme of Maureen being quite the lucky brat (do I betray my older sister sympathies here? Probably.) There’s plot development in terms of Wendy and her boyfriend Mason becoming more serious, and even enduring a bit of a rough patch, but mostly it’s a slice-of-life humor comic. One nice touch were the few interspersed pages showing the sisters as adults looking back on their childhood. Overall, it’s a sweet story with gentle humor appropriate for all ages but especially for Wendy and Maureen’s own demographics. Were I a younger reader, I would be completely charmed.

What I was completely charmed by as an adult was the delightful art that perfectly captures the kinetic energy of being this young, coupled with an adorable expressiveness of both face and motion. And that’s even before you notice all the sly little pop culture references thrown in, as editor Jim Salicrup helpfully lists in the afterword! I thought I’d noticed most of them while peering owlishly at my PC screen the first go-through, but had to go back so I could fully experience and savor all the terrific little Easter eggs hidden throughout.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/19/the-sisters-vol-7-lucky-brat-by-christophe-cazenove-william-maury/

Jan 15 2021

Looking Back On 2020

Y’all, I read a patently absurd number of books last year. With a final tally of 256 books logged on Goodreads, this was an increase of just under 70 books and over 8000 pages from the year before. On the one hand, I did a much better job of cataloging the graphic novels and children’s books I covered in the course of reading with my kids — tho I’m missing all the excellent No, David books still, as well as at least one art book. On the other, it’s not like there was aught much else to do in this hell year when I couldn’t hang out with my friends and discover fun new restaurants and games. Art and books filled that void for me, and were a very necessary escape from the chaotic mental space that is supervising three small children’s virtual schooling. I was very pleased to discover some brand new favorites, most reviewed on this site but not all. Since I feel like I did a slightly better job of reading new releases this year than previous (and I say this as someone regularly sent ARCs for review,) I’ve decided to organize my Top 12 list of 2020 by publication date, with the more recent ones at the top:

1. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko (August 18th 2020) — I said it then, I’ll say it again: this book is fucking flawless. Just a perfect YA fantasy novel of a young girl with a toxic mother whose ambitions lead poor Tarisai almost inevitably towards betrayal of those she loves most. Inventive, empathetic and deeply human, Ms Ifueko’s debut novel reimagines fantasy and spins its out again in Afro-centric form, with charm, suspense and just some really terrific writing and world-building.

2. Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross (June 30th 2020) — Barbara Ross is one of my favorite cozy mystery writers because she never, ever phones it in. Her latest series features a recently retired accountant at a loose end in her life, who realizes that her ability to problem solve might actually be turned into gainful late-life employment. At the behest of a nervous retirement community manager, Jane goes undercover to identify and neutralize the source of the community’s discord, only to find herself faced with murder. How Jane and her friends solve that as well as their own life issues (I cried at one conversation Jane had with her friends near the end) is depicted with heart and wit, making this not only the best cozy of last year for me, but also the most heartfelt work of general fiction featuring an older lead I’ve read all year.

3. Passage West by Rishi Reddi (April 21st, 2020) — This illuminating debut novel of Indian immigrant farmers in California in the early 20th century broke my heart over and over. I wasn’t even aware of the significant presence of Indian migrants in the area at that time, much less how they suffered alongside all the other people marginalized by a white-centric capitalism and government once their usefulness was deemed negligible. I learned so much about this little-discussed chapter of American history, even as I cried my way through pages that only affirmed my belief in the harm done by restrictive immigration laws.

4. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (March 10th, 2020) — Another heartbreaker of a debut, this should be mandatory companion reading for Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, as it explores the psyche of a woman who was groomed as a teenager and still views her former relationship as a tragic love story. I love Lolita because it exposes the psychology of a monster: I love MDV because it allows the victim to claim center stage and to process all her own conflicting emotions about what happened and her own role in the proceedings. Dense and complicated, it’s a necessary counterpart to the classic that will hopefully squelch for once and for all this awful notion that Lolita is a romance.

5. Lovers And Writers by Lily King (March 3rd 2020) — A wonderful actual love story is this brilliant Lily King novel. Less about the romantic entanglements of our 31 year-old heroine than about her commitment to the craft of writing, this bildungsroman is a love letter to all the people who were told to put aside their love for books and writing in order to “be practical.” Ms King sees you and loves you, even if she is punching you in the emotions as you read.

6. Dark River by Rym Kechacha (February 24th, 2020) — Another debut novel that had me absolutely captivated, this one compares the eerily similar quests undertaken by two women separated by millennia. Shaye is a Neolithic woman struggling to find the beloved father of her son as her people migrate north for a tribal ceremony. Several decades in the future, Shante is waiting for the visas that will allow her and her family to join her husband north in a city safe, or at least safer, from the devastations of climate change. Both stories are heartbreaking, and I wanted so much to hug and cherish the ones I loved immediately after finishing this haunting book.

7. All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney (November 12th, 2019) — Ms Courtney would like to remind you that Muslims, and especially American Muslims, are not a monolith, and that it’s okay for people to be just as faithful as they can be because faith is a matter between each fallible person and their God. It’s a warm, open-hearted book that lightly fictionalizes so many of the dilemmas facing young Muslim women growing up in America today, offering balm and grace for any Muslimah who feels like she just isn’t good enough, and perhaps insight to those outside of the faith as to the ways so many of us really think and feel.

8. Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (September 10th, 2019) — Honestly, I would marry this book if I could. It’s a sci-fi tale of lesbian necromancers who find themselves trapped in a rivalry for divine favor with the scions of other houses/planets, which quickly morphs into a manor house murder mystery as the contestants get killed off one by one, agilely written by a whip-smart author plugged into pop culture who isn’t afraid to make demands of us readers to keep up, to figure things out as she takes us on one hell of a ride. I didn’t like the sequel, Harrow The Ninth, quite as much, but that’s asking a lot of the follow-up to a book I would marry. That said, my current Twitter avatar is Harrow, so.

9. Die Vol 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans & Clayton Cowles (June 5th 2019) — I finished this book and immediately e-mailed my oldest RPG-playing friend raving about it, which should give you some idea how deeply this struck a chord. A group of six teenagers accidentally get sucked into a D&D-type world: two years later, only five of them return. Twenty-five years later, they find a way to go back in and rescue their lost friend, but the intervening decades have not been kind. An absolute gem of a graphic novel, this one might have more resonance for gamers than non.

10. Front Desk by Kelly Yang (May 29th, 2018) — I borrowed this from my then-8-year-old, who’d borrowed it from his teacher, and oh how deeply affected I was by this middle-grade account of a young Chinese immigrant adjusting to life in America, moreso than I’ve been of books with similar themes written by adults. I cried a lot more than my kid did reading this — he probably thinks I’m a soft touch, and he’s a Pisces who self-describes as sensitive — but in fairness, my 8 year-old self probably wouldn’t have felt the same hurts either. Ms Yang also published the excellent Parachutes in 2020 but Front Desk was the better read for me.

11. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (January 2nd, 2018) — I did not think this book could live up to its hype, and boy, was I wrong! Smart, savage and seductive, the way Jude learns to survive and thrive in the Courts of Faerie is a triumph of (court) political fiction. With compelling prose and plotting, Ms Black writes circles around anyone who thinks they know how to write political intrigue, never mind fairy fantasies. I very badly need to find time to read the sequels, hopefully sooner than later!

12. The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (July 29th, 2014) — Probably the most addictive read on this list, I gobbled up all 500-odd pages in a day, so delightful was it to be in Ms Chambers’ beautifully thought-out future, following the ragtag crew of a mining spaceship as they go on a lucrative but potentially dangerous job. I also read the next two books in the series the same year, as well as her Hugo-nominated novella To Be Taught, If Fortunate, and while I really enjoyed Record Of A Spaceborn Few, her debut novel is still my favorite of her works.

The biggest commonality of my Top 12 list is an astonishing capacity for empathy, that kind that can make you both laugh and cry in the same book, followed closely by truly intelligent, audacious plotting. I am genuinely surprised that there is only one male author here, with one male letterer, but am pleased to have discovered so many brilliant new female creators from all over the world, from so many diverse backgrounds and heritages.

I also want to mention several more books published in 2020 that I’m still thinking about as the year turns. Shveta Thakrar’s Star Daughter is a terrific YA fantasy novel featuring a cast of smart, mature kids struggling with the knowledge that Hindu mythology is real. David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s debut noir novel Winter Counts is a searing portrayal of modern life on and around the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Sharon Doering’s She Lies Close is an absolutely bonkers deep dive into the brain of a woman who becomes obsessed with a child abduction, a topic that only feels more and more relevant as mainstream American politics becomes further undermined by lunatic conspiracy theories. Finally, Samantha Downing’s He Started It is a murder mystery and family drama that asks the important questions at the heart of all storytelling: who gets to tell stories and whose stories are considered to matter?

In all honesty, and despite the stress I sometimes went through trying to tackle it all, it was a great year for reading. Here’s hoping 2021 brings us all more books to delight and astonish!

Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/15/looking-back-on-2020/

Jan 14 2021

Closed Casket (New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #2) by Sophie Hannah

Given how prominently the name Agatha Christie is displayed on the cover, I wonder why they don’t just call this Agatha Christie’s… oh actually, I can see why now, nvm.

But yes, this is the second novel in Sophie Hannah’s take on the beloved Belgian detective, and I found I liked it less than the two other books in this series that I’ve read. And that’s less, I think, a function of plotting than of pacing and, at least in one significant instance, characterization.

So our narrator Inspector Edward Catchpool is invited to stay at the Irish estate of Lady Athelina Playford, famed author of children’s detective novels. He’s a bit abashed to realize that Hercule Poirot has been extended the same invitation, as he’s still smarting at the battering his own reputation has taken from association with the Belgian detective. Poirot seems oblivious, but any petty considerations are swept aside when Lady Playford makes a shocking announcement at dinner. She declares that she’s changed her will, leaving her considerable estate to her sickly secretary Joseph Scotcher instead of to her adult children. Her taxidermy-obsessed son Harry seems to find the news only mildly discomfiting despite his wife Dorro’s bitter protests. The reactions of her archly contrary daughter Claudia and Claudia’s doctor fiance Randall Kimpton range somewhere between Harry and Dorro’s, but perhaps most surprising is Joseph’s response. After first demurring, he quickly proposes to his live-in nurse, also named Sophie (why do authors do this? Is it not weird to name characters after yourself, especially when they play crucial roles in the narrative?) Anyway, Sophie claims she needs time to think about it.

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Jan 12 2021

You Have A Match by Emma Lord

Whereas Emma Lord’s debut novel Tweet Cute updated You’ve Got Mail for the 21st century, her follow-up You Have A Match is a smart, modern take on The Parent Trap. Sixteen year-old Abby Day only takes one of those Ancestry-DNA-type tests out of solidarity with her best friend Leo, on whom she also happens to have a huge crush. Leo was adopted from the Philippines, and while his parents are supportive of him trying to find out more about his birth family, his sister Carla is far more ambivalent, hence his need for moral support. When testing turns up nothing for him but informs Abby that she actually has an older sister living in the next town over, she’s absolutely flabbergasted. The eldest of four kids herself, she doesn’t understand how it’s possible that 18 year-old Savannah Tully could genetically be her full sibling.

Savvy, as she’s known, is also everything accident-prone, academically-indifferent Abby isn’t. A polished Instagram star with great hair and a wealthy family, she’s just as confused as Abby, and insists that Abby come spend time with her that summer at Camp Reynolds so they can get to know one another better and figure out how all this happened. Abby is desperate for a break from her parents’ strict regime of SAT tutoring, so she accepts the invitation while dodging summer school. Little does she know that Leo is going to be at camp as well, and that this is going to be a summer of revelations and heartbreak that could turn out to be the most important summer of her life.

I had pretty low expectations going into this book, but I was blown away by how delightful it was to follow these fallible, relatable characters as they desperately tried to figure out who they were and who they loved and what it means not only to be family but also to be friends. Abby is constantly saying the wrong thing — forgivable in a 16 year-old — but she’s also extremely conflict-avoidant, and it was fascinating and heart-breaking to read how she reacted when she and Savvy finally confronted their parents, initially blaming herself for “tricking” them but exploding later in an anger born of an entirely understandable vulnerability. It’s so nice how she feels like a real person, and not a zero to sixty stand-in for an author’s grinding plot axe, as is unfortunately common in both the YA and romance genres to which this book belongs. It was also nice how Ms Lord presented Abby and Savvy’s parents as people who’d made awful mistakes but who with time were capable of overcoming the past in order to mend broken relationships.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/12/you-have-a-match-by-emma-lord/

Jan 11 2021

Death Of A Messenger (Koa Kāne Hawaiian Mystery #1) by Robert B. McCaw

It genuinely felt like this book was written by one person for the first 60% and another for the last 40%. Maybe this has something to do with the book being a reissue from 2015, telling the first chronological story of the Koa Kane Hawaiian Mystery series, and perhaps being updated for 2021. What I know for sure is that there’s a definite cognitive dissonance from the first sixty percent, where Koa sounds like a moderately racist, moderately misogynistic white man in disguise, with the last forty where he wonders whether non-native Hawaiians have undergone sufficient sensitivity training in their professional fields for saying milder things than he himself has expressed or let pass without comment. I was certainly glad for the 180 in attitude, but it happened so abruptly that it made for really weird reading.

The story itself is alright: Koa Kane is a 40-something detective on the underfunded Hawaii police force, living with his seven years younger (tho the numbers get fiddly partway through the book for no discernible reason) partner, astronomer Nalani. He’s worrying about budget cuts and a pinched nerve in his neck when a mutilated body is found in a lava tube on an army firing range. Investigations lead to such disparate factions as the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, as well as to archaeological black marketeers and the scientists up at Nalani’s workplace, the (fictional) Alice Observatory located on the slopes of Mauna Kea. It’s a wide-ranging look at current Hawaiian society and politics that serves as a fascinating introduction to the area. Did you know that Mauna Kea in winter features sub-arctic temperatures and snowfall? I sure didn’t! In fact, I actively doubted what Robert B McCaw was telling me for the longest time because he did not acknowledge that snow is not something you’d expect in fricking Hawaii of all places! I don’t expect to have my hand held in real world narratives but I do expect some awareness of out-group perspectives, tho I guess the constant disparaging allusions to an ob-gyn as a “baby doctor” (like, why is that disreputable? He helps bring children into the world. Is it because he does this by helping people with uteruses and heaven knows, those people aren’t to be taken seriously?) after also saying, “The army probably killed his relatives during the war. At least, I hope so” about a Japanese-Hawaiian person who dislikes the military, are indicative of blissful lack of same. And then there’s a weird bit in the afterword where I wondered whether somebody needed an explanation as to how sex can lead to pregnancy. I still also don’t understand why Kane was so hostile to the sovereignty groups, likely because their aims are never really explained in comparison to the amount of scorn heaped on them. I’m fairly certain sovereignty groups aren’t advocating for Hawaii to cut off all its electricity, as claimed in the book.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/01/11/death-of-a-messenger-koa-kane-hawaiian-mystery-1-by-robert-b-mccaw/

Jan 08 2021

Lore by Alexandra Bracken


In the year 2021, is describing a book as being like The Hunger Games even a good reference any longer? Especially since, if you’re really looking for an on-the-nose comparison, Highlander would be much more appropriate?

I suppose I’m focusing on the petty business of book marketing because I don’t want to address how disappointing this book was to me overall. It’s blurbed as being The Hunger Games (sigh) only with Greek gods in modern-day New York City, and if that isn’t a cool as Tartarus description, I don’t know what is! Especially since the heroine is essentially a cage fighting orphan who thought she’d gotten out of the world of the Agon, only to reluctantly get dragged back in again when old friend/flame Castor shows up at one of her matches with a cryptic message, swiftly followed by the appearance of the wounded goddess Athena herself, begging for help. Athena promises that she’ll get Lore, our titular heroine, out of the Agon for good, as long as Lore helps her survive this latest in the cycle, due to end in seven days. Lore grudgingly agrees, binding her fate to Athena’s for the duration. Hijinks ensue.

Really great premise, completely undermined by the fact that nothing about the Agon makes a lick of sense. Some distant time ago, nine of the Olympian deities rebelled against Zeus, and in retaliation he cursed them to be mortal for a week once every seven years, during which any non-god who killed them would gain their powers instead. The bloodlines of ancient heroes train for these hunts but also seek to protect their own immortals, should one of their (male) heroes slay a deity, as the powers of a god grant not only immortality but also mystical power and influence. In the 21st century, only a few of the original gods remain, the rest having been slain and their powers usurped by humans, who have not always survived being hunted by other bloodlines themselves. Apparently, tho, should a god kill another god, the slain deity’s powers dissipate into the aether.

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