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Loki's Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods by J.…

Loki's Saga: A Novel of the Norse Gods

by J. D. Foslan

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I’ve read quite a few novels that retell and are intertwined with the Norse myths, particularly Loki’s role. Harris’s “The Gospel of Loki” was an especially good re-imaging from his perspective. This is the first that I’ve read that goes off script, but stays in the myth, and it pays off in spades!

The book opens with Loki bound beneath the serpent, enduring millennia of punishment for arranging the murder of Baldur. He’s about to be released, which heralds the coming of Ragnarok in the original myths. But the author makes a surprising move by not taking that path. Sure, Ragnarok will happen eventually, but who says it has to be now? Instead, Loki returns to Asgard and the gods begrudgingly accept him back into the fold – because Odin demands it. The centuries of torment have left him angry and vengeful, but slowly his playful, mischievous self comes back. Here he is the god of mischief, but also the god of fire – the blood brother of Odin, not his son.

The story then follows Loki as he assimilates back among the Aesir, and has a few adventures. The tales are original, but perfectly suited to the characters. How can he get some payback against the most powerful god who had him imprisoned? The answer lies with Thought and Memory. Heimdall and Loki have an enduring enmity, but if they can’t kill each other until Ragnarok, how can they settle anything? With an ingenious battle of wills. The Goddesses meet periodically for a female-only council each month. And Loki is desperate to know what goes on there… Mixed among the new tales are flashbacks to his life before imprisonment – referencing or recalling familiar episodes from mythology. It’s an exceptional blending of the old with the new. Loki is portrayed more positively here, he is the protagonist after all, but remains true to his nature. Aside from Odin, the author provides another main character that is rarely if ever mentioned – Forseti, son of Baldur. He’s the god of laws & justice, and he wants to know why Baldur was killed. He suspects it was more than just Loki’s jealousy, and that mystery is subtly woven throughout, until the finale.

The conclusion is the highlight of the book. The revelation of why Loki had Baldur killed is brilliant – I LOVED IT. Moreover, the book has a satisfying ending that manages to be positive without betraying the source material. Overall, this was a fantastic read and I would definitely try another book by the author. Highly recommended! ( )
  jshillingford | Feb 17, 2017 |
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