City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare Every Word – Ellie Marney Skinjob – Bruce McCabe
i. Bloodlines – Richelle Mead
ii. The Golden Lily – Richelle Mead
iii. The Indigo Spell – Richelle Mead
iv. The Fiery Heart – Richelle Mead Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead Looking For Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
- Goose – Dawn O’Porter
Run – Gregg Olsen
- Love Letters to the Dead – Ava Dellaira
Stoner – John Williams
- The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster
- A Fatal Tide – Steve Sailah
- Murder in Mississippi – John Safran
- Elianne – Judy Nunn
- Being Jade – Kate Belle
Martha in the Mirror – Justin Richards
- Shining Darkness – Mark Michalowski
- The Hound of the Baskervilles – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- Divergent – Veronica Roth
- Insurgent – Veronica Roth
- Allegiant – Veronica Roth
- The Messenger – Markus Zusak
- Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
- The Mammoth Book of Angels and Demons
Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
- NOS4R2 – Joe Hill
The Gospel of Loki – Joanne M. Harris
- Hades – Candice Fox
- Last Night at Chateau Marmont – Lauren Weisberger
- Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
- Are You Seeing Me? – Darren Groth
Yesterday, we said goodbye to a legend. A man who brought so much happiness to so many people all over the world. I am, of course, talking about the brilliant Robin Williams. I still cannot process that this shining light of my childhood is gone. But what hurts the most is that a man who could create happiness even in the darkest of times, couldn’t do the same for himself. And that may be one of the greatest tragedies. Russell Brand wrote a truly moving article for The Guardian and I insist that you all read it before continuing into this post (click the link above).
Finally, I will leave you with this image that’s been doing the rounds on social media:
Now I think I’ll start talking about The Gospel of Loki because fantasy is easier to deal with than our, now dimmer, reality.
I will admit that the main reason I picked up Ms Harris’ fantasy novel was because I am obsessed with Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of the Trickster God himself. The Marvel Loki may not be the Loki of Norse mythology, but the tenuous connection was still enough to make me buy a $30 book.
Well, Hiddleston and the review I read on the wonderful Speculating on SpecFic blog.
This novel should come with a disclaimer emblazoned all over the front page. It took me a couple of chapters to realise that the story was being told from a Loki at some point in the future, a Loki who has lived for centuries, possibly even millennia. And why is that important, I hear you asking? Because there are flashes of modern language embedded throughout the text that feel absolutely jarring when you haven’t quite grasped where the narrator is situated. When I read that one of the gods told a fellow cast member to “chillax”, I almost had an aneurism. Plus, the Shakespeare references when Shakespeare couldn’t have possibly been born yet? No, just no. Well, not until you know that Loki is recounting a story after the final, climactic events of Ragnarók (the End of Worlds).
Now that that is out of the way, I can move onto the sheer brilliance that is this novel. How often do you hear about the myths from the side of the villain? Almost never. This was a brilliant look at how the victors often misconstrue the losers in history. See, Loki may be a manipulative, vengeful, son-of-a-bitch but at least you can see why as this story progresses. We follow Loki from his first steps outside of Chaos right up until after the End of Worlds, when Loki exists in some bodiless state, awaiting the second rise of Asgard. Because of the timespan of this book, we understand why Loki does the things he does. Although, I don’t care whether you are a god who can change his form into absolutely anything: sex with animals gives me the creeps.
The absolute best thing about this novel is that there is no info-dumping. Info-dumping is a horribly common occurrence all throughout the fantasy genre and it always detracts from a brilliant story. My most beloved fantasy series and standalone novels are all guilty of it, except the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks, and now Harris. Both Weeks and Harris simply chuck us in the deep end by giving us information as though we already know it. This is a dangerous line to walk because if the concepts aren’t shown well enough then the reader is likely to become confused and disillusioned, meaning that they put the book down. Harris and Weeks both walk this line beautifully. After the first few chapters we understand what Aspects and cantrips are, without any need for vile info-dumping.
I’ll admit that I knew absolutely nothing about Norse mythology before reading this book, so I can’t tell you whether it’s true to legend or not. But my obsession with the Marvel versions of these characters (well, some of them) gave me a few fangirl moments as I read. The biggest of these moments? Reading that a character in a book about Loki had the nickname Hawkeye. No joke.
Finally, as I closed the book and took my glasses off, I realised that I came away from this story with an echo of the feeling I had after finishing Stoner. That life is fleeting. That everything we know and love will one day be taken away by that impenetrable darkness that we all succumb to, in the end. That isn’t supposed to sound bleak. What I mean to say is that knowing this, having it shoved in my face by Loki, makes me appreciate my life just that little bit more. Today, I am alive. Being alive isn’t something that one should take for granted, because no one knows when their time is up. The tragic loss of yesterday shows us that: death touches everyone.
The best books are always the ones that stay with you after the covers are closed and the tome is resting in its nook on your bookshelf. The Gospel of Loki is definitely one of those books.
After all, words are what remain when all the deeds have been done. Words can shatter faith; start a war; change the course of history. A story can make your heart beat faster; topple walls; scale mountains – hey, a story can even raise the dead. And that’s why the King of Stories ended up being King of the gods; because writing history and making history are only the breadth of a page apart.