A review by Elizabeth Manthos
The Gospel of Loki is the first adult epic fantasy novel from the best selling author of Chocolat.
The novel is a first person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods, all from the point of view of the trickster god himself, Loki. It tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of Nose God head honcho, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself.
With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, 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 on of their own and, for this, he vows to take his revenge.
With so much hype around Loki and Norse mythology, especially being propelled into popular culture through the Marvel movies, there is a bit of hype around any Loki novels coming out. The Gospel of Loki made it onto my to-read list, a list that was already a mile long.
Having received a review copy of the novel, I started it, eager to read of the rise and fall of the Norse gods from Loki’s sassy point of view. In all honesty, I made it about 6 chapters before closing the book and leaving it to the side.
I was disappointed with the novel, it could have been much better. I found Loki’s voice to be grating, constantly referring to himself as “Your Humble Narrator”, quipping “so shoot me” and talking about how awesome he is. In all honesty, Loki in this novel was not awesome.
The novel did not hook me in at all and I found it to be a chore to pick up and read. For any other fantasy author, this novel could have been an amazing piece, delving more into world building and epic battles but with Joanne Harris I found that it was bland, the modern language doing nothing to instill the belief that you were in Asgard. It was a simple retelling, not hooking you in to believe you were there.
Major characters in the novel were one dimensional, Thor especially, perhaps because he wasn’t given any development or maybe because they wanted to pump up Loki more.
The only upside of the novel was that Harris did focus on Norse mythology, which was entertaining but bland with Loki’s preachy retelling.
I don’t know if I can honestly recommend the Gospel of Loki to any particular person, if you want to read it, give it a go. But I was disappointed and could not finish the novel.
Publisher: Gollancz (Hachette)
Page count: 320