This time I bring a book review that falls under auspicious time… Curiously, a little different from what happens at the end of the book… The book of today’s review is The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris, just in time for the finale of Loki’s series.
As one would expect from the title, this story centres on the most famous trickster in the world, Loki. The beloved mythical figure of the norse mythology has now the opportunity to retell the history from his point of view. A different version of The First Age till the Ragnarok, always with a critical eye to the gods and some humour mixed in.
This Loki version is distinct from the Marvel’s one, and the most famous, enough to bring some fresh breath to the story. So, no matter if you are a fan of Loki because of the Marvel or because you are aware of the nordic mythology, this may be of interest to you.
What did I like?
I liked the Loki’s character. He has charm, cheekiness and humour, even in his impeding doom. His tellings of the stories bring just this and give you insight into his personality. An important thing, since the story is told from his perspective.
What did I not like?
Well… Besides Loki, there is not much to like, to be honest. And even then, sometimes by the end, I was a little unsure of what to think of him. Sure, he is a god and an anti-hero, but if you don’t connect with the main character, the story can become flat. Anyway, excluding the ending part, I really didn’t have a problem with his character. I knew he was supposed to be morally questionable, which is the mindset you should have when reading in this book.
However, the rest…. was not so likeable. The gods weren’t interesting or brought any complexity. Besides the strange connection between Odin and Loki, the other gods just blatantly hated the main character. No reason or depth on it, just like their shallow representations. I had a soft spot for Sigyn, Loki’s wife, whose loyalty to her husband was unrivalled. Reading about her always made me feel there was something more about her. Unfortunately, like the rest, she never got fleshed out. And I think they did her dirty, which was a cause for my disillusionment with Loki’s character by the end.
About the stories… while I enjoyed them, I did not feel engaged in them. The myths are used many times to bring some moral questions. In here, due the nature of the story that is taken out of it. It is a cynical view on the stories, which is fine and interesting, though it takes out the epic. The story also uses modern language and references, which can take the writer off balance.
Would I recommend?
Yes, to those interested in seeing another version of Loki and are alright with some glaring differences from the original material. It is an interesting fantasy book on it is own, even if you are not aware of the mythology behind the story.
However, you must like to read about anti-heros and flawed characters. If not, I am afraid this book may not be your cup of tea.
How would I rate it?
6 out of 10
In full honesty, when I bought the book I expected to enjoy it more. I don’t dislike it, but I didn’t adore it either, and it took me longer to read it than I had foreseen. My lack of enjoyment may be because of my unrealistic expectations. I am a fan of the nordic mythology and of Loki’s character as a whole, which is conflicting with the way the story was told.
The author’s style is nice and Loki’s character, for the most part, is interesting. The rest is well… not so much.
I say this but I liked it, and I am curious to know how the sequel would play out after the ending of this book. So in the future we may see more Loki!!
By Mother of Odin,
You can also check mine and Odin’s post regarding this, on Instagram: