Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris // Book Review

"Harris has enormous fun with her antihero... this mythical bad boy should beguile fans of Neil Gaiman" (THE METRO)
I'm going to start by saying that this book is exactly what it sounds like: Norse mythology from Loki's perspective. The prospect was so me I could hardly believe it. The book allows you to learn about Norse mythology in layman's terms - in the knowledge that it won't be the primary function of the book. You will also spend time laughing out loud. I loved Loki's sarcasm, his hypocrisy, his bending of the 'truth'. I love how he takes responsibility, but doesn't, at the same time. I completely agree with the Metro's assessment; in that Loki really is enormous fun. Joanne Harris has got him down to a tee - sometimes I couldn't help but hear the words in Tom Hiddleston's accent because it just sounds like something he would say in the Avengers. Something magical happened. Me and this book were a perfect match. 

The Gospel of Loki (or Lokabrenna) is comprised of a series of usually witty/ironic commandments - one at the beginning of each chapter. Each chapter covers a different anecdote from Norse mythology, but it all flows. It's so well-paced, and you get through it quickly, but it's never jumpy. You don't feel like you're missing anything. Loki himself is a completely unreliable narrator, which left plenty of room for second-guessing and fun. The fact that you can't trust anything he says somehow makes him even more likeable. I think it's because we're used to the same types of books - ones where we have to trust the narrator, because it's vital to our acceptance of the plot. It was so refreshing to read a book where, for once, not everything is set in stone. Another positive is that it leaves nothing unseen to: it covers the time period from Loki's 'recruitment' to the Realm, all the way to the (SPOILER) fall of Asgard. It doesn't stop in the middle of the story: it's the whole she-bang.

As for the Neil Gaiman side of The Metro's assessment: I agree and I disagree. I can see that this is definitely something most of his fans, if not all, would enjoy - however, after reading my first Neil Gaiman novel, I wouldn't call myself one of his fans, and yet I was able to love this book as much as I did. I'd say: if you love puns, a sarcastic voice, villains, mythology, or even just the sci-fi or fantasy genre; this is one to pick up. Let's not narrow it down to just Neil Gaiman fans, I'm telling everyone: this book is brilliant. Also, just look at the cover. LOOK.

Rating: 5 stars. Couldn't have been much better.