Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

The first adult epic fantasy novel from multi-million copy bestselling author of Chocolate, Joanne Harris.
The novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods - retold from the point of view of the world's ultimate trickster, Loki. It tells the story of Loki's recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself. Using her life-long passion for the Norse myths, Joanne Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel.
"Loki, that’s me.
Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.
So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.
Now it’s my turn to take the stage."
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.
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.
The first novel I ever read by Joanne Harris was Five Quarters of the Orange and from then on it has been a long lasting relationship of love and devotion. Every following book I read made fall deeper and deeper in love with Harris' characters, her writing and most of all her story telling techniques. To that her teenager books Runemarks and Runelight were no exception... But then came The Gospel of Loki - a paradox of child of fiction that I cannot really admit to being in love with.
I love Old Norse Mythology and this retelling of its most popular stories from Loki's point of view promised a lot more than it actually brought to the table. The best way to describe it would be limited. Neither bad, nor good just limited.
What did the most harm was the limitation of the gospel genre itself. Dealing with archetypes is hard enough, but when you have to adapt them and bring some originality to them the task levels to impossibility of the highest rate. Still, Harris, did better than most authors would have.
What The Gospel of Loki gains in authenticity in certainly lacks in creating an actual attachment to both story and characters.
What I mean to say is: once I started reading I couldn't put the book down, but when I had already put it down it took a whole lot of effort to pick it up. It was a never ending struggle of to read , or not to read. I am a multi-reader type of gal. I have no problem reading 10+ books simultaneously and still feel as excited for each and every one of them... Or so I thought until I picked up The Gospel of Loki.
I am not disappointed,nor am I left with any bad feelings for the book, it just missed the bonsai. That's the first time for me with a Harris! I am both ashamed and reluctant to give it three fox, for it just didn't live up to my expectations. If I ever dare to recommend it to anyone, it would be prescribed to a complete and utter Norse Mythology novice.