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review 2016-07-06 03:15
The Gospel of Loki, by Joanne Harris
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris

There’s never just one side to a story. Most of the time, we only hear the winner’s story, the hero’s story. The Norse myths come us through a few written sources—eddas and sagas and rune stones—that were handed down from the oral tradition. All of them are the stories of the victors and great heroes. With The Gospel of Loki, Joanne Harris gives us a version of the mythology from creation to Ragnarók through the eyes of the pantheon’s trickster. Because Loki is our narrator, this revision of the mythology is packed with schemes, humor, and chaos...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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review 2016-02-14 04:31
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris

I had such an up-and-down time with this book. At first, I was really excited to read this book because it was all about Loki, the Norse God of Mischief, and I have always had an interest in Norse mythology. However, I almost stopped reading this book because the dialogue is atrocious. For instance, the setting for this book makes it that the characters should speak in a bit of a more archaic style. BUT! What we get is Loki saying "chillax" and "so shoot me" more often than not, and it bugged the crap out of me! I really thought that I wouldn't be able to finish the book because of how much I hated the dialogue. But I persevered and, once I overlooked the dialogue, I ended up liking the story.

 

As I've said, the writing is not that great. I think the ideas and concept behind the book are amazing, just the execution of it was rather poor. However, I really did enjoy the actual story of it. Seeing how Loki got his start and then, eventually, his downfall was so interesting to me that I had to see it through to the end. This is not a very happy story for Loki, but then again, it never truly is... is it? He's always getting the short end of the stick when it comes to living in Asgard. After all, being surrounded by the gods, who are all shallow and idiotic beyond reason, wouldn't really assist Loki in having a happy ending. 

 

I think that's one of the main things I like about this book. It follows the myths nicely. Harris adds a bit of her own flare here and there, but it's mostly faithful to the myths and I enjoyed that. I just wish the writing of the story was a lot better.

 

I wouldn't recommend this book if you are looking for a serious adaptation of Norse mythology. The dialogue can be very tedious at times and the characters can be a bit of a nuisance to read about. But if you are looking for a fun, quick read about the Trickster God and wouldn't mind that type of writing, then I think you should give this a go!

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text 2016-01-31 12:02
Books read (or not!) in January
Think of England - K.J. Charles
Europe In Autumn - Dave Hutchinson
City of Bones - Martha Wells
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne Harris
Ombria in Shadow (Fantasy Masterworks) - Patricia A. McKillip
The Ghost Bride: A Novel - Yangsze Choo
Hang Wire - Adam Christopher
Saga, Volume 5 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples
Lagoon - Nnedi Okorafor

Books started: 11 (including the 2 I'm currently reading)

Books finished: 9
Books not finished:
1

 

Genre breakdown: All SFF, except for the KJ Charles book.

 

What progress made on Mount TBR? I have quite a few books on order (either to buy or via the local library system) over the next couple of months, so while I didn't make a significant dent in the TBR list this time around, it could still happen!

 

Book of the month: It's a fairly close-run thing this month, with a bunch of books getting 4 stars from me, but I think in the end I have to go for Lagoon.

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review 2015-09-30 23:36
The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
The Gospel of Loki by Harris, Joanne M. (2014) Hardcover - Joanne M. Harris

We know the story of the Eddas, the stories of North Mythology from the creation of the Nine Worlds from a cow and a giant right through to Ragnarok when it call falls apart again.

 

But this is, as Loki points out, told from the point of view of the Old Man himself, Odin. Who is not entirely a reliable narrator. It’s time for the villain of the piece to tell his side of the story.

 

 

 

 

This book is a retelling of many of the stories of the Eddas only from a different point of view – this is told from the point of view of Loki.

 

I have read many of the stories of the Eddas. I like mythology, I like Norse mythology – a book containing mythology of any kind will generally find one of us running to get our hands on it. This book came the closest of any I’ve read to taking so much Norse mythology and so many of their stories and gods and really revelling in it. And, as a fan of those stories anyway, I loved it

 

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I don’t know if I would have loved it more or less if I didn’t know all the stories inside already. In some ways, knowing what was going to happen made it more enjoyable because I could remember the original and see it through this angle the author has considered – seeing things from a different light and turning Loki into a realised and interesting and complex (and certainly not perfect) character just added new appreciation from me for these stories. Of course, if you recognise the stories you’re probably also a mythology fan so would appreciate this book anyway.

 

The flip side is if you weren’t familiar with Norse Mythology then this book wouldn’t be entirely spoiled for you. At no point in the book did I really not know what was going to happen next – I’ve read these stories, a new angle doesn’t change the progress, the story or the end result. There’s no suspense there and, consequently, there are times when I felt I could have skipped ahead or skimmed, like a book you’ve read several times over

 

But I don’t think this book can stand alone without the mythology geek’s glee. It relies too much on past knowledge to paint the world, the characters and make this new angle meaningful. The Gospel According to Loki simply won’t be appreciated to the same extent, even after being read, by someone who isn’t already aware of Loki (beyond Marvel adaptations) because that back story is needed.

 

But even though the story is thoroughly spoiled to me, I still enjoyed it. Loki’s character is fun, complex, deeply imperfect, slightly alien but also very very human and fun. His motives, always kind of put down to being Loki, the chaotic Trickster of extra chaoticness, who does shit because he’s LOKI and he does whatever the hell he wants to. Now we see him, the betrayals, the resentment, his eternal outsider status, how his good deeds are rarely remembered, how he thinks he’s achieved acceptance and then one trick later and everyone turns round and he’s, again, forced into the fringes. His battle between wanting to be accepted by the Aesir and Vanis, thinking he’s achieved it, and the bitterness and rage when he realises, again, how much they all hate him (especially Heimdall). It’s really excellent character development as we see him constantly swap between seethingly seeking vengeance and occasionally backing down as he almost, almost achieves acceptance only to have that hatred return threefold. Of course this leads to him both saving the gods and sabotaging them in equal measure. It also begs the question whether he would ever actually have been accepted if he didn’t sabotage himself repeatedly – or was he constantly being exploited? I like that it’s very clear that, yes, poor Loki is often abused and poorly treated – while it’s equally clear he deserves what he gets quite regularly. He’s not perfect, he gets away with a lot, but he also gets treated poorly when he doesn’t deserve it – it’s not a retelling of the Eddas to make him a saint, but nor to make him a demon – just the chaotic Trickster who turned form Odin’s blood-brother to the bitter enemy at Ragnarok.

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2015/09/the-gospel-of-loki-by-joanne-harris.html
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review 2015-08-23 08:26
The Gospel of Loki
The Gospel of Loki - Joanne M Harris

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

I was quite keen on reading this one, but now that I'm done, I can't help but feel that something was sorely lacking, and that the portrayal of several of the gods and goddesses wasn't what I wanted to read.

Don't get me wrong: different portrayals aren't bad per se. They allow to shed another light on a character, to see a specific element in another way, to cast a whole other meaning and play with what is the "officially accepted" meaning, and so on. However, even though I'm fare from being a specialist in Norse mythology, I didn't really understand some of the choices made here. For starters, what was wrong with Loki as a Jötunn (I'm not a proponento f Christian interpretations, so having here as a "demon" was definitely weird)? I especially couldn't agree with the portrayal of Sigyn done here. I've always felt there should be more to her than what we know of, but seeing her reduced to a soupy housewife made half-crazed and happy to finally control his husband in the cave didn't sit well with me. Granted, Loki made fun of all the gods and goddesses, only the way it happened with this one didn't seem like an appropriate idea.

The tone of the story was somewhat light and funny in spite of the end of the Worlds it was bound to lead to, and highlighted Loki as a Trickster. The two episodes with Sleipnir and Thor disguised as a bride were particularly fun to read—I can never get tired of the latter, I guess. The gods and goddesses in general weren't shown under their best colours, which here too fits with Loki's point of view (being able to see the defects in people, himself included, and using them to his own advantage).

The "trickster tricked", though, is another peeve I couldn't shake off. Loki has always been a very ambiguous figure for me, not an evil one, so while his portrayal as being rejected because he's a "demon" fits with his growing resentment (wouldn't things have been different he had been accepted as Odin promised he'd be?), the end result looked more like a child being constantly thwarted and then whining about his fate, than a God bent on revenge for having been wronged once too often. This is not the kind of Loki I wanted to read about. He deserves more than that; his being tricked does happen (Útgarða-Loki being a good example), yet it quickly felt as if he always got the end of the shaft without never learning anything, and it doesn't seem believable that a character like this one could be tricked from beginning to end.

I was probably also a bit annoyed by the omniscient view cast over the story, as it is told from Loki's point of view after Ragnarök: I tend to grow quickly tired of structures of the "but the worst was still to come" kind. It didn't help me to stay immersed in the narrative.

Overall it was a strange reading experience: when I was in it, it was alright, but every time I stopped, I had trouble picking the book again. It *is* pretty close to the Edda stories in some ways if you except the demon/Pandaemonium one, and probably this is both a strong and a weak point, as in the end, apart from being narrated by Loki, it doesn't bring that much novelty or development to the already known myths. The Gods remain fairly one-dimensional, and while it was somewhat fun to read, I don't feel like I'll be opening this book again one day.

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