THE TESTAMENT OF LOKI
JOANNE M. HARRIS
SERIES: Runes, #2
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Urban Fantasy, Mythology
REPRESENTATION: Queer Fat Black LI, FF relationship, Side Character with Chronic Pain/ Uses a Wheelchair
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Eating Disorder, Body Image Issues, Self-Harm, Internalized Homophobia
Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.
Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .
But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.
The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .
This series by Joanne Harris surprises me each time, and that’s a very good thing.
In the first installment, The Gospel of Loki, I was slightly thrown by the fact that the book was essentially a retelling of Norse mythology from Loki’s point of view [You can check out my review here]. I had been sort of expecting The Testament of Loki to be, if not retellings of Norse mythology, then perhaps similar, original stories of those kinds of short, explanatory myths. Instead, Harris completely turns the tables, and this novel is actually set after the fall of Asgard, in modern times. Loki manages to come through into our world via a video game, and inhabit a teenage girl. Here, he meets up with Odin and Thor, in similar predicaments.
While one of my criticisms of Gospel was that I didn’t think it was original enough, I did really love the voice. I kinda have the opposite problem with Testament. I know, I know – I’m never happy. I thought the premise of Testament was entirely unique and nothing like I ‘d been expecting, but I kind of felt that the charm of Loki’s narration from the first book had fallen a little by the wayside.
As you can see from the trigger warnings I’ve listed, the second main character, Jumps, suffers from an eating disorder and self-harming. I’d like ownvoices reviews, but I felt this wasn’t dealt with particularly well. Basically, Loki shows her his vision of her — beautiful and strong — and she just accepts it without ever relapsing or having doubts. It’s not quite a magical cure for a mental illness, but it comes close.
That said, The Testament of Loki is a rip-roaring, fast-paced adventure. and I’ll definitely be looking forward to reading the original two novels in this series, Runemark and Runelight. However, strangely, I couldn’t help but think longingly of the episodic misadventures of Loki and his snarky commentary from the previous instalment.
I will say, as I did last time, that the narrator for these audiobooks is absolutely fab, and the covers for the UK editions are even more gorgeous in person.