Monday, March 30, 2020

The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

Reviewed by Jeanne

I have always had a fondness for Norse mythology dating back to my elementary school days which was nevermind how long ago.  A couple or four years ago I came across Harris’ book The Gospel of Loki which is a brilliant retelling of the myths from Loki’s point of view (talk about unreliable narrators!) I recommended it to many people and reviewed it here.

I was sorry when the book was over because Loki was such a memorable, entertaining character.  I wanted more.  Lucky for me, Harris apparently didn’t want to quite give up on Loki either and wrote The Testament of Loki in which the God of Mischief finds a way out of Ragnorak and into. . . a computer game. 

It’s his chance at becoming flesh again and he does accomplish that, except that he is sharing the body with its original occupant, a teenage girl who already had problems of her own.  Loki soon finds that he isn’t the only one to have escaped; Odin has preceded him and is playing a complicated game of his own which isn’t likely to bode well for Loki. But Odin has some surprises awaiting him as well. . . .

I admit I wasn’t sure about this.  It sounded a little too—cute, maybe, but I should have trusted Harris.  It’s a glorious ride through mythology, social commentary, and world-building, all conducted by one of fiction’s best and slipperiest narrators.  Even as I cheered for Loki, a part of me wondered if I was being suckered but hey—if you have to be played, be played by the best. I had several favorite scenes, mostly involving Loki’s exploration of this brave new world (especially the food, like that delicious exotic chocolate.) 

All I can say is that I was vastly entertained and am sad that there isn’t a third book.  I am going to read Harris’ two juvenile novels set after the Fall of the Gods just because I enjoyed her writing.

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