Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Review - The Gospel of Loki

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M.  Harris

Review by Jacqui Slaney

I have always liked Norse mythology, and have read various stories about the different gods over the years, and everything I have read has always portrayed Loki as the bad guy, the Trickster who was always stirring up trouble and looking to cause the downfall of Odin.

So when I came across this book while browsing the bookshelves, how could I resist.

This is the description:

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.

Loki is definitely the bad boy here, but don’t we all like the anti-hero? They are so much more fun to read then the conventional good person.

He is the narrator in this tale and as he says at the beginning, this is his time to tell his side of the story, that he has been misunderstood before, and that though you can take his story with a pinch of salt at least you will find it more entertaining than the official version.

Entertaining it certainly is, each chapter starts with words of advice from Loki, these will make you smile, and in fact, the list of the characters alone will raise a laugh from you.

I can see some of you saying, I am not reading a book about myth’s and legends that will be so boring! Do not worry, the last thing this book is, is boring, and you do not have to know anything about Norse legends to read it either.

It is full of humour and clever writing and though Loki is the bad guy as I said, you do feel for him. He is the loner looking in, wanted by the others then pushed aside, which obviously leads to a great deal of resentment.
I liked the character alot; he is sarcastic and clever and though he makes some bad choices, you still root for him.

The author knows her subject well and obviously loves it as her fondness for the nine worlds comes through very clearly; with each chapter being a short tale of Loki and each of the gods in turn.

I enjoyed the ones with him and Thor, and the one with Loki and his revenge on Freyja.

You will read some reviews by the purists who do not like any changes to these tales, but ignore them. These are not the old myths, these are retellings with a twist. This is quite clear before you even read the book so I am surprised that people still buy the book if they are just looking for a classic rewriting.

I would recommend this book to anyone, the characters are well written and detailed with Angrboda and Gullveig and of course especially Loki.

9 out of 10