Saturday, 15 June 2013

Loki, by Mike Vasich

2 stars

All about one of my favourite gods and supposedly bringing the story of the "God of Mischief, Father of Lies, Harbinger of Destruction" to life as he brings about Ragnarok, this ought to have made my head explode with joy. Instead, I was mostly like this:

For starters, and for a book purporting to be all about Loki, he's not even in it for much of the time (especially the second half), and though we did initially get multiple chapters from his point of view more often than not we were with Balder, or Tyr, or Odin instead, with Loki fading further and further into the background as the book progressed.

Something in Vasich's writing style fell flat for me ("He had the weight of Ragnarok on his shoulders, as usual..."), with Loki nowhere near as much fun as he usually is to read about, and even the most outlandish bits of myth (like his birthing of the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir) rendered rather pedestrian. Unfortunately, Vasich also had the odd habit of effectively spoilering his work by constantly giving us an italicised synopsis of a particular bit of myth before going on to tell his version of it, with only a little additional detail and barely deviating enough from the source material to make it worthwhile. This echo effect may have ensured certain things stuck more than usual, but the repetitiveness soon dulled the reading experience and made me feel strangely detached, not at all emotionally invested and suffering from a severe case of deja vu. 

There were some positives, and the battle scenes that featured (particularly Ragnarok) were one of them. Others included the characters and unjust treatment of Fenrir and Hel (Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent and Loki's other child, gets barely a look in). I also rather enjoyed how the gods were shown to be raging dickbags most of the time, but sadly the positives didn't do enough to outweigh the negatives, and overall I was disappointed.

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