THE GOSPEL OF LOKI
JOANNE M. HARRIS
SERIES: Runes, #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Fantasy, mythology
Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.
So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.
Now it’s my turn to take the stage.
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.
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.
The Gospel of Loki wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I did enjoy it. I had thought there would be an original plot inspired by the Norse myths, but this is actually a retelling. This isn’t the book’s fault, but it did throw me a little. The Gospel of Loki tells most of the well-known Norse stories — building the Asgardian wall and Sleipnir’s conception, Loki stealing Sif’s hair, Thor’s fake wedding, Bardur’s death, Ragnarok etc. — all with Loki as the central character.
Of course — as with the originals — the stories are interesting, but if you already know these Norse myths there’s nothing particularly new. If you’ve not read the myths somewhere else (and there are quite a few versions available depending on your tastes) then you’ll get more out of it.
That being said, The Gospel of Loki is a good version of the mythology, and in telling it from Loki’s perspective — full of twisty logic and smarm — Harris has created an enjoyable read. Her writing is charming and makes it pleasant even to reread stories you already know. Just don’t go into it expecting the plot bring anything new.
On a side note, I listened to this as an audiobook and thoroughly recommend it that way. Each little myth/story get it’s own chapter (although it all ties together) and it makes for a perfect little series of bedtime stories. Allan Corduner does a really great job at narration and is a pleasure to listen to.