Moses Siregar III's Reviews > Loki

Loki by Mike Vasich
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May 06, 12

Recommended for: People interested in Norse Mythology
Read from September 09 to October 19, 2011 — I own a copy, read count: 1

A brilliant retelling of some of the major events in Norse mythology, and thus an ambitious and worthy--and ultimately significant--literary effort. Vasich brings to life things like the Norns, the gods, and ultimately Ragnarok. He brought to life the wolf Fenrir, the stonemason who offered to rebuild Asgard's wall, and Hel. Vasich has a special ability to imagine and write about mythic events, as you'll see in the final battles between Fenrir and Tyr, Thor and Jörmungandr, Heimdall and Loki.

Vasich successfully brought his major characters to life, mainly Loki and Odin. The secondary characters (such as Tyr, Balder, and Freya) weren't drawn as well, but the good news is that Loki and Odin always seem to carry the day whenever either of them were involved with a scene, and they seem to show up in at least half of the book. The book suffers a bit in the second half from Loki's relative absence, but I still enjoyed every new element introduced.

With Loki, we get to experience his ups and downs, his hopes and rejections, his realizations and transformations, and there is a pleasing element of sympathy for the devil here. With Odin, we experience his unique problem, knowing the future while possessing a profoundly passive acceptance of that future (or, at least, that's how he's presented here). This makes Odin a frustrating figure, but Odin's attitude is a perfect representation of the Norse outlook and what makes Norse mythology unique. I found myself wondering what would've happened if Odin hadn't believed so much in Ragnarok, and maybe the author wanted us to think about that, too. Because Odin's vision of the future became self-fulfilling in so many ways.

What didn't I like? The copyediting on a grammatical and sentence level was mostly very good, but also occasionally problematic. I think the author could benefit from a better copyeditor. The proofreading and formatting were great, though. I found very few typos, which is outstanding. The writing was excellent, although a bit distant with a somewhat omniscient style (the book is mostly written in a more current third person limited, though).

Having frequent point of view changes with no conventional protagonist made the reading a bit slow for me. I agree with what Hepius said in his review on this, as well as his comments about skipping the italicized parts (which function as spoilers for Vasich's rendition of the myths). However, I think Vasich still did the right thing here. To retell this mythology requires multiple points of view, and he wrote them well. It's just that this same technique distances the reader from the story a bit. Nonetheless, I'm glad he wrote it in the way that he did. I just read it in daily chunks rather than being swept through the entire story over a short period of time. Your mileage may vary. Even read in chunks, there's plenty to savor here.

My last complaint is that the reader often has to wait, to read about the same event multiple times through multiple points of views. At times this technique was used well; at other times I felt it slowed down the pace too much. The book is written in relatively short scenes, though, so you never have to wait for anything for too long, and it's nice to see things from different angles.

I came into this book knowing very little about Norse mythology, and I feel incredibly thankful to the author for writing these stories as he did. This book allowed me to explore the myths from a tight narrative perspective, to experience the major players and the events in a way that not only brought the tales to life, but which also feels like a modern continuation of the myth. Vasich takes some creative liberties with the mythology (and he favors Loki and Odin as he does so), but I feel this only keeps the stories fresh and alive. People who have read Norse mythology will enjoy his twists on the familiar, and people unfamiliar with Norse mythology will get to experience such a grand tale in a thrilling way. A brilliant effort, and one that deserves to be a classic resting on every bookshelf with space for works on Norse mythology.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Mike Vasich Thanks, Moses! I started reading "Black God's War" the other day. Pretty good so far! I'll post a review when I'm done.


Moses Siregar III No worries, Mike. Thank you!


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