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.
"Fantastic new novel from Harris"
Amazing story, thrilling and mysterious, I couldn't stop listening! Narrator perfectly suited the silver-tongued Loki.
"Snug, but loveable..."
I enjoyed this story, which was beautifully read, however some of Loki's quirky phrases started to grate - if he said, 'So shoot me!' again I think I might have screamed. Overall very entertaining, although a little overlong for the content. Had a ridiculously childish giggle at some of the babes of the gods, too!
"Enjoyed it and a bit different!"
Well worth a listen. Injects humour at the right points and holds your interest throughout. Will certainly look for others in the series.
"Great and enjoyable read"
was sad when it ended, an amazing retelling of some great stories with a good dose of trickster humour thrown in too.
"Great story and great narration"
This is a great story made much better by a very entertaining narration. In fact, I think the narration really makes this audio book as it is told in the first person and Allan Corduner makes the perfect Loki, complete with voices.
"The Real Deal"
I will listen again! This was a wittily written book, well plotted and loved revisiting the Norse mythology.
Loki's wit, craftiness and sense of "poor little me".
Loki. Corduner captured Loki's sarcasm, cunning and sense of humour wonderfully well.
Loki's capture and imprisonment. Loki's arrival and reception in Asgard was also rather sad.
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