With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, 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 one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge. But while Loki is planning the downfall of Asgard and the humiliation of his tormentors, greater powers are conspiring against the gods and a battle is brewing that will change the fate of the Worlds.
From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world's ultimate trickster.
Read by Allan Corduner.
©2014 Frogspawn Limited (P)2014 Orion Publishing Group
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"Not what I expected but well worth the read."
I settled down to this book with considerable anticipation. I'd relished Joanne Harris' "Gentlemen and Players" and "Chocolat", packed as they were with original ideas, strong characterization, and a slightly mystical view of the world. I've been fascinated with Loki since I was a child. I discovered him in his Marvel Comics incarnation and was always puzzled that people preferred the oafish Thor to the brilliant Loki . My fascination with Loki even led me to read some of the Norse Sagas which although sometime tedious were wonderfully amoral and extraordinarily blood thirsty.
What I got when I started reading was not at all what I expected. That, of course, is my problem, not the author's.
Perhaps I should have paid attention to the additional initial the author added to her name. I think now that she was flagging that Joanne M Harris was not going to write the kind of fiction Joanne Harris is famous for.
I should also have paid attention to the title "The Gospel of Loki: The Epic Story of the Trickster God". Epic tales have a particular form and the idea that any story about Loki could be a Gospel, literally Good News, has to be a conceit or a trick.
There are lots of good things in this book: the language and the imagery are rich without being obtrusive, the original Norse stories are faithfully
rendered but made new by being seen through Loki (admittedly lying) eyes, and the scale and the pace of the book are epic. Perhaps the most admirable thing is the way Harris positions Loki, the ultimate unreliable narrator, to reveal some hard truths: that Chaos and Order cannot abide or even begin to understand one another, that humour is an honest but misunderstood act of rebellion and that not trusting anyone is a limitation and not a strength.
And yet I found myself wanting something more or different than I was being served. The book did not engage my emotions. It did not provide the intense intimacy that a novel told in the first person normally provides.
Then I realized that this book is so "novel" that it is not a novel at all but something much stranger and original.
It has now been some weeks since I finished the book and my memory of it is still fresh and bright. Harris' Loki has taken up residence in my imagination. I don't like him as much as my childhood Loki but I believe in him more. Surprisingly, I find that I have compassion for Harris' Loki. Although he is an inveterate trickster, he is also the victim of a trick by Odin that ripped him from Chaos and bound him to a world that could never truly be home.
This is not a book to read if you are looking for escapist fantasy. It is a long song about the nature of chaos and order and the betrayal that is inevitable when the two meet. It is about fate and destiny and sustaining power of humour. It is, in fact, exactly what is says on the cover: an epic tale of a trickster god, except the real trickster is Odin.
This was my first Joanne M. Harris book, although my wife has enjoyed many of her titles, including “Chocolat”, her most famous novel. I was captured by its premise, the retelling of some of the Old Norse myths from the viewpoint of Loki, the mischievous spirit so often at their centre. I had devoured these stories as a kid; Greek & Roman mythology had largely stayed with me but I felt it was high time to return to the world of the Norse gods.
This volume pleasingly delivers half-remembered stories in an engaging and entertaining way. I found myself recalling and even anticipating the individual stories characters and events. Loki’s story is told in a refreshingly modern fashion (for example his monstrous wolf-son Fenris is portrayed as a surly unruly teenager). Loki himself is an engaging narrator; humorous, cunning, devious and self-deprecatingly unreliable.
Narrated wonderfully well by Allan Corduner, the trickster Loki as depicted will linger in the memory, though overall I felt the novel to be a little slim, a bit light. I wanted to hear more of Thor, Odin and the others. I felt a little cheated; although the story goes from the birth of the Gods to Ragnarok (the last battle) it all seemed very rushed. Probably this is my fault, as my staple reading matter is generally fantasy fiction, usually hewn out over huge volumes of epic series.
I find though that I am intrigued to try more Harris titles, so I therefore do recommend this, albeit as a tasty titbit; a palate cleanser between more meaty multi-volume works.
"Never trust a demon ..."
The tone of the writing (and narration) is spot-on here. Loki is perfectly portrayed as the cunning, callous yet charming God he was. A brilliant, contemporary re-telling of the ancient tales - thoroughly recommended!
Yeah definitely, the girlfriend recommended it to me because I always found Norse mythology quite interesting. i was skeptical at first as I thought the premise was a bit gimicky but it was a fascinating story that stuck to the original Norse mythology surprisingly well while at the same time putting a more ammusing and modern twist on the tales through Loki's (the self professed humble narrator) story telling.
Humorous, gripping, entertaining
Tthe moment when Loki realises he will always be an outsider and begins to plot his revenge...
Absolutely fautless, loved the different characters accents not least because it was narrated by " Loki", especially loved his intonation and the rythm of his voice, I will look out for other books narrated by Alan Corduner,
Yes, I enjoyed the fact the story was presented from Loki's point of view,
If you are interested in Norse mythology & legend, or even if you enjoyed the film Thor, ( or the Hobbitt film or book etc) this book is for you, I hadn't heard of Joanne M Harris before this but I enjoyed her writing style and will look out for her next book! try this I don't think you will regret it, I loved it and was sorry when I finished it!
"Stand-out excellent audio book!"
gripping, playful, well-told
Hmm, I suppose for content I could compare this to Tolkein, but I much preferred this book as it took itself a lot less seriously! It is set in the world of Norse mythology with a cast of gods, demons, witches, werewolves and folk, but told with a glorious light touch.
I haven't listened to any other books narrated by Allan Corduner, but I intend to, as he is a compelling and skilled narrator.
I did not want to devour this book in one sitting! Once I realised how much I was enjoying it, I wanted to make it last. I often use audiobooks to get off to sleep, but I made time for this one well before bedtime.
I think this story is excellent as an audio book. I liked the way that it is divided into books and chapters, so there are plenty of obvious breaks in the action where I can stop and come back to it another time; I think that reading all the Norse names for everything (not just people but boats, hammers, necklaces, everything...) might have been difficult, but having them read for my by the lovely narrator was a dream; the narrator was a perfect fit for the story, and sounded like he was really enjoying the read too. My best buy so far, and I'm already wondering what I will follow it with. Listen and enjoy!
"Another Harris Winner!"
This audio version was well put together and the narrator, Allan Corduner, captured the character brilliantly.
When you start off with one of today's top authors and add in a well produced narration you end up with the best audiobook I've purchased in the last 12 months.
"Leaves a lot to be desired"
This is quite a jovial story - with Loki himself being the teller and a point of view given as he sees it. It is quite funny in places and very much spoken in an up-to-date fashion, but to be honest, I found that pretty boring. Loki, as he does in the old Nordic tales certainly likes to take the rise out of the other gods, but in this tale they are totally ridiculled. I can't really decide if I liked the book at all, but I'm not sorry I got through it. Told in a child like manner, but the content not being suitable for kids at all, I only just found the narration by Allan Cordunder bearable. Overall the tale isn't too bad, an up to date version of the Nordic Gods, who basically, I have never found stood up to the Greek, Roman or Asian Gods. Very much a take it or leave it story - I was left wanting a bit more excitment - expecially from Loki!!!
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