‘The Gospel of Loki’ by Joanne M. Harris

indexThis is the first adult fantasy novel by the author and although it falls short of brilliance, it makes for very entertaining reading indeed. The author takes the plot from the Nordic creational myths and populate the novel with the gods and heroes that are now famous in popular culture, thanks greatly to the Thor Marvel comics and films. In fact, it is hard to read the book without  visuallizing Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Sir Antony Hopkins as Odin and, above all, Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

As in the Marvel movies, Loki steals the show in Asgard: he is the main character and the charming, manipulative, and highly unreliable narrator that, in spite of his highly dubious moral status, has the reader at his side from the very first line. The end result is a narrative that is at the same time engaging and incredibly funny, especially due to Harris use of prochronism for humorous effect and her ability to play with the readers’ knowledge of the original material.

Apart from retelling Norse folklore tales from the perspective of the ‘bad boy’ of the Norse divinity pantheon, there is nothing original in Harris narrative and it does lack the ‘epic’ element that the publisher advertises in the jacket. Do not expect high fantasy here but a retelling of the tales in the Poetic Edda from the point of view of a cheeky narrator that is determined to allure the reader by the ‘honesty’ of his account and the sheer charm of his personality.

Harris, J.M (2014) The Gospel of Loki. London: Gollancz.