Book review - The Gospel of Loki
review by Becky
With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge. But while Loki is planning the downfall of Asgard and the humiliation of his tormentors, greater powers are conspiring against the gods and a battle is brewing that will change the fate of the Worlds. From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world's ultimate trickster.
Available on Amazon.com: The Gospel of Loki
Before I start raving about how much I enjoyed this book let me make a few things clear.
You DO NOT have to have read Runemarks or Runelight to read the Gospel of Loki.
You DO NOT have to know much of anything about the Norse Gods to read the Gospel of Loki.
This is a RETELLING, some could even say Joanne Harri's own version, of the myths, legends and sagas of the Norse Gods.
Nearly every written record of said myths, legends and sagas of the Norse Gods are retellings to some degree because the originals were all oral.
YES IT IS ALL FROM LOKI's point of view.
NO THIS IS NOT THE SAME LOKI AS MARVEL COMICS.
There are thankfully NO YELLOW HORNED HELMETS OR GREEN SUITS IN SIGHT.
Is he as good as Tom Hiddleston's characterisation? YES IT MOST DEFINITELY IS. And to quote this particular Trickster's words 'not only that good, I am that much better'. Or something to that effect.
Any more questions? No? Good - then I shall begin...
This book is a true gem of norse mythology and passion combining in the wonderful medium of words. It covers all the basics (character list + myths of the beginning and the end of the Gods) in such a refreshing and unique style. It no way degrades or tarnishes the legends and the norse gods themselves. I believe this version of them keeps them alive with the power and fizz of fireworks. The length of each retold legend and myth is almost that of a short story so even train users and bus commuters could comfortably rediscover the truer and better versions of Thor, Odin and Loki unlike Marvel's depiction. This has made it not only really easy to read but also really gripping, with each retelling almost becoming like watching an imaginary fantasy TV series episode but one where you have the power to see 'next weeks' episode in advance because you want to know what happened next.
Some reader's may be puzzled by the use of Chaos and Order within this version of the myths and legends, and some traditionalists may find it stranger due to Odin's chaotic and often conflicting characteristics, being the God of Wisdom, Power & Poetry and that of War, Blood & Death. I say this - just go with the flow, don't worry, don't panic, don't fuss. Enjoy the great talent that has allowed Joanne Harris to embellish on an almost beautifully simple yet incredibly complex aspect (and I don't mean that as an intentional pun for those who know what I men) of the Gods in their rise and fall. Just let yourself be gripped, entertrained, thrilled and even emotionally moved by the world and society Loki reveals to you, in his own words, through his own eyes, justified by his own thoughts. And let yourself be enlightened by these nordic tales showing that there is no clear black and white in the world, we are all a mixture of each and how in the fantastic example of Loki, one man's right, is another man's wrong (or words to that effect).
If you truly enjoyed the Gospel of Loki then be happy and relieved that you can then go on to discover and treasure Runemark and Runelight in due course.
I do recommend all lovers of norse mythology read this brilliant piece of passion and love crafted with words.
About the sequel: Becky has reviewed that book too!
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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