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I feel like I have been waiting a long time for a book like this to be written. With all of the Avengers and Thor movies that are out, not to mention a growing fan base for Loki and actor Tom Hiddleston, this book was perfectly timed. And well written.
There is a lot that goes into the making of a book. Many people just focus on the words and the author and a lot of the other aspects of the book fall to the wayside. So, before I start talking about the content of the book, I want to give a shout out to Andreas Preis and Craig Fraser who did the artwork and cover design. I love the colours and mosaic design. And if you run your hand over the cover, the intends in the paper give a three-dimensional feel to the art. The gold inflections in the tree, the kingdom of Asgard, and the title also catch the light perfectly. You can’t get the full effect of the cover just by looking at the computer image, sadly. So I suggest you go out to your local bookstore, find it, and admire it in person!
So, now that I’ve nerded out over the cover, let’s get to the juicy bit…
Harris, AKA Loki, writes each chapter as a new lesson that Loki learns throughout his time with Odin and the other Gods of Asgard. The biggest lesson that the trickster learns: never trust anyone. You might think that it sounds rich coming for the father of lies, but Harris actually does a good job of creating sympathy for Loki and his plight. Through Loki, you get to see the purest forms of anger, revenge, lust, hatred, and envy. And at the end of it, you can almost see where Loki is coming from. Almost.
Loki is a reject. He is the one that you love to hate and hate to love. He was brought into the world as a half-demon creature born from Chaos itself thanks to Odin, the All Father. He never ever actually gets anything right in Asgard and he is always blamed for every misfortune. Although, to be fair, most of the time he is the one behind the trouble. After years of ‘peace’ throughout the worlds, the oracle has foreseen a huge war that will result in the end of Order and the re-birthing of Chaos. Loki may or may not have something to do with this.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and while it got a solid 4/5 stars from Goodreads reviews some people had some gripes with the book. Many people complained about the length of the book and the overuse of the phrase “your humble narrator.” Although, I found the length of the book to be quite good. It was short, but I wonder if this frustration of length is due to fact that people want more Loki? As for the use of the phrase “your humble narrator” and other similar phrases, I thought it worked perfectly with the kind of character Loki is. He is the perfect unreliable narrator. He is self-absorbed and vengeful. Juxtaposing these emotions with humility and innocence are perfect for the father of lies.
Even though Harris said that she was not really thinking of the Avengers or Thor movies at the time of writing it, I must admit that due to the those movies, I did get to enjoy the extra bonus of reading this in the voice of actor, Tom Hiddleston.
Have you read The Gospel of Loki? What are your thoughts on the book? Do you think I should read any other Joanna M. Harris books? As always, share the reading love.