Book review: The Testament of Loki by Joanne Harris

After the massive reading block brought on by Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart last year, I decided to started the new year by reading one of my favorite authors – Joanne Harris.

I started the year with The Gospel of Loki, which is a delightful retelling of the stories of the Norse gods – from the viewpoint of the trickster god Loki.

If you’ve read Norse Gods by Neil Gaiman or any other author, you would be familiar with all of these stories, there’s nothing really new there.

But what happens after the gods fall at Ragnarok? Is that the end of the road for Odin, Loki, Thor, Freya, and all the other Aesir and Vanir? Or can they return to reclaim their lost glory?

Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.

Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .

But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.

In this brilliantly original story, the gods – or some of them, anyway – return to the world. Confined to the Black Fortress of Netherworld, Loki watched as a new world was built; as man stepped on the moon. He watched the rise of paperbacks and movies and computers and video games. And then, one day he saw it – “a foreign field that was forever Asgard.”

And so through the river Dream, which also runs through the internet, Loki finally made his escape from Netherwold to this world – via a computer game called Asgard!TM

But though he is the first, he isn’t the only one to have escaped through the river Dream.

Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .

As he acclimates to this world and to his host, Jumps, Loki, as always, is delightful. His trickster personality, confidence, and sheer love for life and living makes you want to be at least a little bit like him!

“You know, ‘crazy’ is such a negative word. I prefer ‘disordered.’ Order’s so dull. Chaos is where the party is.” 

Now, who wouldn’t want a little bit of that sass?

Of course, he isn’t the only one of the gods to have made it out – Odin’s here too, and as always, what he wants most is Mimir’s head, a.k.a. The Oracle.

But The Oracle has other plans, Odin as usual has his secrets, and Loki knows better than to trust anyone. But the “darker things that escaped with him” have different plans – plans that Loki is none too pleased with.

So how will the trickster god, who is developing – to his shock – feelings for some of the humans, manage to save himself, his host, and the other humans he has come to feel emotionally attached to?

You’re going to have to read this absolute delight of a book to find out!

Book Bingo Prompt: Once Upon A Time

Also book 2 for the 10 I committed to read this year as part of Blogchatter’s TBRChallenge.

Posted in Book reviews.

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10 Comments

    • Well, she’s quite a diverse writer. This one is part of a YA/fantasy style series (but she’s not your run of the mill YA author) – if you haven’t read any of the stories of the Norse gods, start with Gospel of Loki and then this. For something more literary, you can try Chocolat or Five Quarters of an Orange.

  1. I haven’t read books about Norse Gods. But all these terms sounds familiar from the Avenger Series, which I haven’t completely understood either. Maybe I will pick this one up just to understand them better.

  2. I haven’t read any books on Norse gods, yet, though my 11 year old keeps me informed about all kinds of stories of Norse and Greek gods. Maybe I will recommend this book to him when he is a little older. Or can he read it now?

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