'The Gospel of Loki' by Joanne M. Harris
"The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel."
‘The Gospel of Loki’ by Joanne M. Harris is the story of the Norse Gods from the point of view of Loki, the Trickster. I’ve always found Norse Mythology very interesting and Loki is by far my favourite of the Gods. I first heard about this book about a year ago and I finally managed to grab a copy from my local library earlier this week, then proceeded to read the whole book in two days. It was just that good!
Odin rules the nine worlds from his fortress of Asgard. When this book starts his people, the Aesir, have finally made peace with the Vanir and members of both groups make up the Gods of Asgard. The world is split into Order and Chaos, with Odin and the Gods trying to maintain Order over the nine realms. Loki was born from Chaos and is essentially a demon with no physical form (or Aspect) living in the realm of Pandaemoniem under the evil Lord Surt. But Loki was curious about the worlds where Order and Chaos co-existed so he left Chaos and traveled to the worlds above where he gained a physical Aspect, met Odin and was invited back to Asgard where he became the 25th God.
He did not receive a warm welcome from the other Gods, however, and soon lived up to his names of Wildfire and the Trickster. This book, which I would imagine takes place over a number of years, tells the story of many of Loki’s exploits in the nine realms including when he tricked a builder into fortifying Asgard’s walls without paying him, cut off Sif’s golden hair (to Thor’s outrage), got Thor to dress up as a bride to infiltrate the Ice Folk and kill their enemies, met the giants of Utgard and their own Trickster Utgard-Loki, all the way up to Ragnarok and the final battle between Order and Chaos.
Okay, I’ve just tried to describe the plot fairly simply above and I don’t know how much sense it will have made if you’re not familiar with the Norse Gods, but hopefully it wasn’t too bad!
I’ve always found Norse Mythology very interesting, mainly, I think, because of the diverse characters and fanciful stories. We get to meet all those characters in this book; Odin, Thor, Frey, Freyja, Balder, Frigg, Sigyn, Skadi, Gullvieg-Heid & many more. And as this book is written in first person from Loki, we see them all from his point of view. I also loved Loki’s illegitimate children, particularly Hel, the ruler of the Underworld and Fenris the werewolf.
I know a fair bit about Loki from things I’ve read online and books about mythology so I was a bit wary going in about how historically accurate Joanne had written her character, but I have to say that I found her version of Loki spot on! She voiced him perfectly and I also found the other characters to be very close to what I’ve read about them.
I really enjoyed the author’s writing style and the story flowed so well that I found it really difficult to put down. Loki’s storytelling was both informative and engaging and each of his stories flowed into each other very well.
This book is very heavy on the Norse Mythology (obviously) and I think it’s probably best to go into it with a little bit of knowledge beforehand. I think that if I knew nothing of the subject before, I might have found it a bit overwhelming mainly due to the amount of characters and worlds. But saying that, it is so well written and well explained that I think anyone could read it, I just think you’d get more enjoyment out of it if you knew a bit about some of the characters first. There is a very useful character list at the beginning that you can go back to.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Norse Mythology, especially Loki and Odin but I think anyone who likes a good fantasy novel would enjoy it.
I would give this book 5 stars :)
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