Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review: Loki

God of Mischief. Father of Lies. Harbinger of Destruction. Exiled and tortured by the gods, Loki swears vengeance. He will summon the mighty Fenris Wolf and the legendary Midgard Serpent, and they will lead an army of giants and all the dead in Niflheim. Brimming with the power of the most destructive being in the Nine Worlds, he will not rest till Asgard is in ashes and all the gods are dead under his heel. book description

Mike Vasich's novel, Loki, was frustratingly close to being excellent. The writing was terrific. The research and world building were first class. The action scenes were well choreographed and truly exciting. So what's not to like?

Loki is the story of the Norse gods, their battles with the giants, and the coming battle of Ragnorak. Reading the cover, I was expecting the god Loki to be the protagonist of the novel. I thought I was going to get a retelling of Norse mythology from Loki's perspective. That quickly proved not to be the case. The story is told from many points of view. The positive aspect of this is that the reader gets the whole story - you are always where you need to be in order to learn about what is going on. Unfortunately, I never became attached to one particular character. I had nobody to root for in this dramatic battle between Loki, the Norse gods, and the giants. I found myself not caring about who would win. I never had a reason to root for one side or the other. Instead of reading like a novel, it was more a narrative retelling of Norse mythology. 

As such, it was terrific. The gods are distinct characters, each with their own personalities, powers, likes, and dislikes. I know a little bit about Norse mythology. It was great to see the stories I knew from my youth come alive in a fully realized way. If you have any interest in Norse mythology, Loki is a must-read. 

I have one major recommendation if you want to read the novel as a novel and not as a retelling of Norse mythology. Every so often in the book the author has written out Norse prophesy. (You can identify these sections because they are in italics. They also make up a small percentage of the book's length.) The prophesy sections are then followed by a chapter or two of narrative. Do not read the prophesies! They give away all of the major events of the following chapters. Seriously, my recommendation is to skip the italicized sections. They destroy all of the tension in the following chapters. The book is far more exciting without them! Rant over. 

If you read Loki without reading the italicized sections it will read much more like a novel. An exciting novel with an impossible-to-beat climax. 

Mike Vasich is a talented writer. I highly enjoyed Loki and look forward to reading more of the author's work. 

I give Loki four stars (if you skip the italicized sections). 

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