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The Wyrd #1

Liesmith

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At the intersection of the magical and the mundane, Alis Franklin’s thrilling debut novel reimagines mythology for a modern world—where gods and mortals walk side by side.
 
Working in low-level IT support for a company that’s the toast of the tech world, Sigmund Sussman finds himself content, if not particularly inspired. As compensation for telling people to restart their computer a few times a day, Sigmund earns enough disposable income to gorge on comics and has plenty of free time to devote to his gaming group.
 
Then in walks the new guy with the unpronounceable last name who immediately becomes IT’s most popular team member. Lain Laufeyjarson is charming and good-looking, with a story for any occasion; shy, awkward Sigmund is none of those things, which is why he finds it odd when Lain flirts with him. But Lain seems cool, even if he’s a little different—though Sigmund never suspects just how different he could be. After all, who would expect a Norse god to be doing server reboots?
 
As Sigmund gets to know his mysterious new boyfriend, fate—in the form of an ancient force known as the Wyrd—begins to reveal the threads that weave their lives together. Sigmund doesn’t have the first clue where this adventure will take him, but as Lain says, only fools mess with the Wyrd. Why? Because the Wyrd messes back.

308 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2014

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About the author

Alis Franklin

8 books66 followers
Alis Franklin is a thirtysomething Australian author of queer urban fantasy. She likes cooking, video games, Norse mythology, and feathered dinosaurs. She’s never seen a live drop bear, but stays away from tall trees, just in case.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 107 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books1,987 followers
February 11, 2016
some of this was lots of fun, but most of it wasn't for me.

didn't think the horror elements were all that well-done; lots of stupid-people-doing-things-stupidly (seriously, dad? seriously?) and lots of gross things that aren't really all that genuinely terrifying, just... gross. felt gratuitous.

the beginning is portentous and BEHOLD THE APOCALYPSE COMMENCES but then the focus shifts to an IT dork in his underwear frowning at his slacks.

which is an approximation of this book's tone issues in general: one minute it's supposed to be a snarky office romantic comedy and the next it's angling for stephen king's gunslinger finale.

honestly, i didn't mean to spend this much energy cataloguing my thoughts on this book but the more i type the more i recall how sharp my disappointment was.

the author's talented as fuck, but between multiple useless POVs—dead people, alive people, the spirits of dead people occupying people who are alive—and the irritating shifts in tone and the occasional WTF moment that makes no sense——i found it hard to get into the spirit of the thing.

things made no sense so often i gave up caring. i swear it's an editing issue—the narrative just gets away from the meat of things too often to manage every single stray implication and intimation attendant to 3000 years of norse mythology and modern day queer politics and the semi-urban australian racial diaspora and—

however!!! i can tell you that of the friends of mine who read this book i am (of course) pretty much the only one who was in any way bothered by any of it.

which means a lot of things, but mostly that your milage will almost certainly vary, so give it a go if you, like the author, enjoy things like feathered dinosaurs and norse mythology and splatty horror and things like 1000 years of corrosive eyeball torture being a minor background detail that gives a particular character the faintest edge of irony to his winsome sense of humor.
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,107 followers
September 2, 2014
Oooh, I enjoyed this hugely. Delightful non-traditional protagonist in Sigmund, excellent worldbuilding, a really twisty plot (all the points for the reveal of the villain). Great use of the Norse myths and a strong idea underpinning it which pulls together what seems to be niggles and inconsistencies very cleverly. A rather lovely romance too, nicely suited to Loki's mythological character.

Lain/Loki is more of an action hero than a twisty thinker, which is very true to the original stories, where he is much more a blagger than the evil plotter of modern portrayals. Very interesting thoughts on his sexuality and the power relationship between the main characters.

I would have liked the two girl gamers to be more developed as characters - Franklin sketches the father with great deftness and skill in a relatively small number of lines, she has the skills. And honestly, I think this book could have been significantly longer (I never say this) and given the world more space to develop. I seriously wanted more romance between Loki and Sigmund, giving the latter a bit more time to grow into his own feelings and confront his situation.

Overall, a really enjoyable fantasy, a terrific, well-developed concept, great action, and fabulous queering and feministing* of Norse myth. A cracking debut.

*It's a word if I say it's a word.

Disclaimer: the author swapsied me a copy, which is how come I got it early. /radiates smug/
Profile Image for MLE  .
Author 3 books86 followers
July 1, 2015
I received this book as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


I have to admit I have a weakness for a certain kind of main character. All the stories with main characters that start off big, bad, and kick ass are fine. They make sense in a certain context, but I've always found it boring, and anti-climatic to read about someone who you're pretty sure is going to triumph over whatever the plot throws at them.

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I also understand the books about people who long for adventure, and challenge. I mean most of the time it's that desire for something new, and different that drives the action of the story, and it's usually hard to write about someone who'd rather stay home, and read than slay dragons.

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This book however found my personal favorite main character: the reluctant, ordinary person.

It's probably pretty easy to see this love from my favorites list; from Arthur Dent who would rather have a nice cup of tea than intergalactic travel to Richard Mayhew whose act of kindness sends him on an adventure he never wanted, I love the main character who has to almost be dragged into the action of the plot. I think I identify with that kind of person much more easily than the invincible swordsman or the girl who sets off to find her destiny without a backwards glance. I'm a bit of a coward, and I like tea, and reading by the fire.

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Sigmund Sussman, for me, fit the bill perfectly. I liked that he was not immediately excited about the prospect of intrigue, and mystery in his life. I liked that he was an ordinary guy, a bit of a nerd, who didn't feel too much like a complete stereotype. He was not defined by his interestes, and I didn't feel like the author overwhelmed the story with references to prove their nerd cred.

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The relationship between Sigmund and Lain was well done, and I liked the pace at which it developed. It never felt like instant love, or that they were destined to be together, which all things considered, is a very good thing. Another thing I appreciated was that the love story never took over the plot.

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It wasn't a romance novel thinly disguised as an urban fantasy, but fully fledged urban fantasy with a bit of romance.

The plot was nicely developed, and I loved the twists, and turns. It kept me guessing, and I enjoyed that. The mythology fit very nicely into the plot, and story. It was well integrated, so it never felt like awkward information dumps or stilted exposition. I liked how the mythology fit into the modern setting, and how much it added to the plot, the setting, and the characters. I also loved reading an urban fantasy that wasn't set in the United States, or England. It made for a nice change of pace. Overall I really loved this book, and am really looking forward to reading more from this author. I love it when a book sweeps me off of my feet.

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Profile Image for Elspeth.
836 reviews131 followers
February 9, 2015
This isn’t going to be much of a review, because I can’t say much without ruining the plot. All I can say that even with the twist at the end it wasn’t enough. I thought it was going to be sharper, wittier than what it was. Yeah that is my problem not the books, but its how I feel.
There were some fun parts, the writing was well done, but overall it just wasn’t enough for me.
Profile Image for Karen Wellsbury.
822 reviews38 followers
November 30, 2014
Another review that didn't make it

There were so many things that were great about this book.

First the clever premise, that Loki the shape shifter, has for Reasons been living in Australia doing various things in IT. Norse mythology woven into the mundane worked fantastically well for me.

Sig, a wholly believable character, a man, with doubts about his masculinity in all aspects, black Jewish and slightly overweight, a sense of lies and a man who cannot tell a lie himself. His relationship with his dad, David is beautiful, complicated and real.

Lain/ Loki is defiantly the action version, a complete charmer, keeping his version of events and half truths close to his chest.

Wayne and Em, Sig’s game playing female best friends – are the best supporting female characters that I have come across in a long time, the kind of women that you want to spend your Friday night gaming sessions with. Credible women are hard to come by – and here are two of them in one book.

The world building, the Really Real World and the Bleed, got me every time, most of it was genuinely scary and I so wanted to know – what’s going to happen next. I had no sense of what was coming of who was going to ‘win’, and that, all by itself was more than enough to keep me hooked.
But there was more, the relationship between Sig and Lain was great – both of them I would describe as gender fluid, Sig is, as I said before male, and initially his concern of not being ‘manly’ enough shines through, Howeever as the story develops, so does he. I really want to see how he progresses.
Lain – he’s a god.

It could have been a little longer, as I could have done with more exploration of Sig and Lain, but I’m just being greedy.

Although this is part of a series, there is no cliff hanger and it does end solidly.


Profile Image for M'rella.
1,308 reviews181 followers
March 29, 2016
I am DNFing at roughly 40% and it's totally me, not the book.
Gender games & fluidity is not my kink to begin with, but this book messed it up for me even further.
Otherwise, a little nutty, but ok enough to enjoy, if you get past some editorial funnies (another fine mess).
I might, or might not pick it up again.
Profile Image for Ellie.
814 reviews165 followers
October 28, 2014
I enjoyed a lot of things in this book but the Norse mythology was too much for me and a few things left baffled in the end.

Full review also posted on my blog - http://elliereadsfiction.blogspot.com/

This is a rather unusual read for me, a queer urban fantasy, which I picked up after a recommendation from a friend.

I liked a lot of things in the story and enjoyed reading most of it but at some point I felt lost in the the complexity of the Norse mythology which was presented in overwhelming detail. I had to google far too many things in order to make sense of the story and this took away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

The strongest element in the story for me was the way the author played with/subverted traditional sexual roles and romantic standards. Sigmund was an adorable, so-not-typical romantic lead - geeky, neither ubermanly, nor gay, just ordinary, yet capable of loving without a question. His two best friends were interesting and unusual female characters, together with his father they made strong supporting characters who contributed a lot to the main story.

The other main character, Lain/Loki was rather complicated and difficult to understand and evaluate. His was interesting and his episodes were both amusing and confusing. Sigmund and Lain's love story was very sweet - real, intimate, there was no pretence, despite how non-traditional it seemed.

The writing was strong and convincing, creating an intriguing and complex world building. Besides the strong romantic element the story was really action-packed, especially the second half of it. I'm not a gamer myself, but I found the gamer perspective and jargon which permeated some of the story telling well done and interesting.

Still, I felt there were to many unresolved issued by the end. It was difficult to appreciate the subversion of traditional mythology in the story when I'm not sufficiently familiar with the original myths. It's a HFN ending and I hope that the sequel which is coming next year it will clarify some of the things that baffled me here.

Overall, it's a curious, unusual story, well told, which will be better appreciated by people who are more familiar with Norse mythology than me.
Profile Image for Ije the Devourer of Books.
1,715 reviews53 followers
November 12, 2014
I really enjoyed this Urban Fantasy novel which has gay and minority ethnic characters who don't meet an untimely end or endure lots of angst and heartache. These characters are involved in action, battles and lots of peculiar creatures, dimensions etc etc

Sigmund is a twenty year old nerd. He is a computer geek, plump, lives with his Dad and lives for his computer games, and dungeons and dragons. He has two close friends who are girls and just as nerdy as him and life although mundane is generally ok. Sigmund is also a junior employee in the IT department at LB a global technology firm.

But there is more to this firm than meets the eye and much more to Sigmund. Sigmund has a gift and is able to tell when people are lying. He doesn't understand this gift because it is something he has always had, but he doesn't understand it because he doesn't understand who he truly is.

Along comes Lain. Lain is hot, funny and attractive and the newest member of staff in Sigmund's team. Sigmund is attracted to him but has never had a boyfriend or any friends apart from his childhood friend Em and their mutual friend Wayne ( a girl). Lain really likes Sigmund and does his best to engineer time together and flirts with Sigmund who after a long time and along with hints from other staff members finally gets that Lane likes him.

And then the first date, first kiss and everything explodes because Lain isn't who he says he is either. He is a Norse god and even though Sigmund can't remember he and Lain go way back and both of them have enemies. And these enemies are back and out for vengeance.

If you like well written urban fantasy with a frisson of gay romance, characters from Norse mythology, battles, monsters, and things that go bump both night and day, then this is the book for you. The story is solid and engaging and has a way of keeping you on tenterhooks.

As a reader you quickly get to suspect that Lain is something 'other' but you don't know what or whom. And you don't know what is at stake.

The characters are well developed and drew me in from the first page. The story gives a real feel for how boring and mundane life is for Sigmund before the 'incident' which opens his hidden life to him. Once it hits that point the book picks up a dynamic pace.

I loved the way the story had a jigsaw feel to it because it takes time to figure out exactly what is going on and the why, where and who. It can be a little confusing because the where keeps changing with flash backs to the past and appearances into another dimension which criss crosses with reality. I think a small glossary explaining the different Norse characters would have been helpful. But otherwise this is a really great start to a new series.

BUT Who is Lain truly? Who is Sigmund? Why are they in our present time and how come Sigmund doesn't know who he is. I had so many questions and the story had a great way of revealing the answers bit by bit and there were plenty of surprises.

If you like KJ Charles or Ginn Hale then you will probably like this one. I am really pleased I took the risk and bought this and I am really pleased that it appears there is more to come because everyone knows I simply adore a good series :)
Profile Image for WhatAStrangeDuck.
474 reviews35 followers
February 21, 2016
Well, that was one hel of a book. Liked it, though usually I don't like horror and there is quite a bit of that in this book. Then again, kudos to the author to make me interested enough to flit through the bits that made me more than a little uneasy. I kept telling myself "You've went through more than one Buffy marathon, so hell dimensions shouldn't bother you. Right?

Right?"

only they did but I kept on reading anyway.

So, personally I could have done with a little bit less of the questing and the icky stuff (it's manageable but I still don't like it as such) but all in all it's a pretty good book.

Also, that author can write some gripping action scenes. Wow.

With regard to Romance (TM) I'm mostly happy. I don't need/want/require on-screen sex scenes but I'm a little puzzled about why nothing at all (except some kissing and groping) has happened yet. Maybe all will get cleared up in the next book.

I'm looking forward to it.
Profile Image for Jordan Hawk.
Author 92 books2,418 followers
September 25, 2014
Queer romance. Norse mythology. Sympathetic monsters. Beautiful writing. A protagonist of color.

I'd love to go on and on about what I loved about this book, but I honestly can't without giving away things you'd be far better off discovering yourself. The first paragraph above will either turn you off or have you chomping at the bit. If the latter, then you want to read this book. Seriously.

Loved it.
Profile Image for Megan.
455 reviews74 followers
August 19, 2018
Above all else this book was a lot of fun. It's basically Loki exiled in Australia running a tech company, and one of his lowly (male) IT workers has the reincarnated soul of his dead wife, and that's the kind of set up that you're either going to think sounds awesome or.... not so much.

The prose is snappy and fun, and Loki's character was fantastic. But Sigmund (aka dead wife IT man) was kinda bland. I get that the fact that he wasn't anything special was a plot point, but it seemed like Loki/Lain was pursuing him solely because of the dead wife thing and not because there was anything attractive about Sigmund himself. (A point Sigmund almost seems to make when he finds out the truth of the situation, but it doesn't really get addressed). It doesn't help that Loki keeps thinking about what a bad kisser he is, or describing him as smelling like "self-conscious lust." Basically any scene with Loki in it was vibrant and compelling, but whenever he wasn't around things felt flat.

The Norse mythology aspect is full on too, and it's something a lot of reviewers mention struggling with. However, in the the time since this book was published the world was graced with a little game called God Of War, and if you've played that you'll find all the umlauts and 'heims a lot easier to parse. If you play games it will also help with the gaming slang that gets thrown around. (And if you're Australian is will help with the delightful Australianness of it all).

I would have liked to have seen more of the fledgling relationship between Lain(/Loki) and Sigmund. Not because I think the book ignored it or anything, it was just my favourite part. Watching Lain try and be a bit more human, watching Sigmund try and get his head around everything, it was so much fun to read and I kind of resented the plot when it kicked into a higher gear and this all took a backseat.

But overall, a lot of fun. I'll be reading the next book for sure.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,887 reviews1,923 followers
August 14, 2021
My Burgoine Review: I'm on record as a fan of the Kiwi fantasy/sitcom hybrid The Almighty Johnsons , a treat when I discovered it and a loss when the Netflix folk gave up the rights...it's back now on IMDb TV, follow the link. I've also warbled in the past about the delights of Thorne Smith's absurd gods-walk-among-us books (eg, The Night Life of the Gods), written in the waning days of Prohibition and suited to that time's slightly hallucinatory entertainments. (Watch any of the Broadway Melody flicks...no one can tell me peyote was unknown to these men!)

I was hoping that, given those tastes and the specific aiming of Cupid's Dart at a mortal man's heart for a specific Asgardian, I'd be over the moon about this read. I was quite pleased instead. As a purchase will set one back 99¢, I think you're good to go if you want a pleasant diversion that doesn't quite know if it wants to be doom-y or dream-y. I chuckled, but I doubt I'll seek the next one out.
Profile Image for Cheyenne.
298 reviews18 followers
July 4, 2019
I loved this book. Norse mythology story set in modern day Australia. It took me a little bit to get used to the style of narration, but once I did, it was a really fun read. It made me laugh too. I really liked how Sigmund, the main character wasn't your typical 'hero'. He's kind of wimpy, anxious, nerdy, and slightly overweight. Even better is that his love interest (Loki) is a literal god that finds all of this endearing and adorable instead of trying to make Sigmund more 'manly.' Things get a bit muddy nearer to the end of the book which made it hard to keep some of the characters and flow of the story together, but ultimately it has purpose. It also depicts how gender identity and sexuality are a fluid thing (i.e. Loki is a bisexual shapeshifter that can be whatever gender they choose, and Sigmund is also newly bisexual with a female past life). I also just really loved Sig's father, since he was so accepting a supportive of his son and did remarkably well with all the unreal god stuff happening. I think the driving moral of this story is, just because your story has already been written a certain way, doesn't mean you can't still change the outcome. There's also the moral of, you get to choose who you want to be and are not bound to preconceived notions or past lives. All in all a great read, and I would definitely read more of this author's work.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Yzabel Ginsberg.
Author 3 books102 followers
April 24, 2015
(I received a free copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. However, at the time, it was an ARC, so some things may have changed.)

This is an extremely frustrating book to rate, because I cannot decide whether I actually liked it, or only liked parts of it, with the rest being OK, and nothing more. I’ve mulled over this for some time (since the previous evening, in fact, which is when I finished reading the book), and I haven’t come closer to a conclusion.

What I liked:

- The use of lesser known figures from Norse mythology (or, should I say, of figures that are less often mentioned and would deserve more spotlight). Everybody’s heard of Loki and Odin, and probably Baldr as well, but what about the others? This is both a strong and a weak point of this novel: if you know enough, it’s going to be alright, yet if you don’t, you’ll probably have to look up quite a few things (including places).

- The relationship: it was much closer to “two people falling in love” than to “two gay guys falling in love”. Sigmund displays both “male” and “female” traits—he comes across as “human” first and foremost. Lain isn’t even human to start with. And it doesn’t matter, and the fact that it doesn’t matter is what makes this great. I’m not a gender-driven person. I consider people as, well, “people”, not as “men” and “women”. Although the story comes close to brushing on sexuality issues at some point, with Sigmund’s father mentioning how he tried to react to his son “being gay”, it doesn’t go too far down this road. At the end of the journey, it’s about two individuals having feelings for each other, period. (The part about the reincarnated soul didn’t feel like it warped the character towards being female.)

- The Bleed concept. Not exactly original, but hey, I’m a sucker for plot devices that make the protagonist(s) fall into some nightmarish version of their world. Yes, I played Silent Hill. There’s a reason I like that type of horror-driven story.

What I disliked:

- The subverted tropes that weren’t so subverted in the end, such as the geeky characters. They felt like they were supposed to look like the stereotypical nerds, but wait, not exactly, because they meta it by cracking jokes at themselves, but by doing this they’re becoming the stereotype again, and… At some point, it was a bit too much. It may have worked for me if dealt with in a different way; unfortunately, it didn’t.

- The novel felt too long in parts, too meandering through useless happenings: gaming, the camping trip, etc. They made it read more like fanfiction, and I think they could’ve been shortened without their role in the story being lost along the way. Those parts were probably the reason why it took me so long to read Liesmith—normally, I should’ve been done in 3-4 days.

- Among such scenes were several of the romance ones. Granted, I find getting those right always tricky and difficult. Here, some were good, but others veered towards the mushy side, and contributed to that “fanfiction” aspect I mentioned above.

- Sometimes, the writing style was rather weird, with a connection made between two clauses using an italicised “([insert word])” device. However, sometimes it highlighted something that wasn’t so relevant, and it made me wonder what was the point.

- Sigmund’s friends. Their role didn’t seem so important, and made me wonder why they were here. Either they could’ve been downplayed, or should’ve been fleshed out some more. In my opinion, they kind of hung in between. (This is worth for many characters in general in this story. Sigmund was the only one that felt “real”.)

And after writing this review, I still can’t decide if I liked it, if I’d recommend it... Let’s say that on a scale from 1 to 10, I’d give it a wee 5, an “it’s OK” as far as opinion goes, and a “maybe” as to whether I’d recommend it or not.
Profile Image for Miranda.
512 reviews118 followers
December 10, 2014
It can be awkward, being a modern day Heathen reading someone else's ideas of your Gods. Most of the time the interpretations of my Goddess, Sigyn, are so offensive that I drop the book in a rage and never touch it again. (Touch of Frost, anyone?)

Initially I overlooked Liesmith because I didn't want to read yet another novel where Loki has a mortal lover and the book completely ignores his actual wife. However, I stumbled across an interview the author did that talked specifically of Sigyn, and how she thought there was more to Sigyn's story than what we have.

So, I gave it a shot. And I'm not sorry I did, but... man, it was odd sitting there reading a book that tries its best by your Goddess, but She's going, "No, I wouldn't do that."

I'll just get this out of the way first: While I do applaud that Sigyn is respected and a main driving force of this novel, at times she came across more as Freyja than she did the Goddess I know. Liesmith's Sigyn was much colder, harsher and sharper than Sigyn would ever be. The main point of Sigyn, Goddess of Constancy, is that She's constant; even in Her grief over Her sons, She doesn't allow Odin to change who She is. She's still compassionate, loyal, and gentle. She's as strong as a mountain. She looks Odin in His eye and defies Him in order to stay by Loki's side. Her strength isn't in your face -- it's subtle and easily overlooked.

Hence the other slight issue I had: Sigyn wouldn't ever go to war or wield a sword. Sorry. There's a reason She chose a bowl to protect Loki with instead of a weapon. While this makes sense in the context of the story, it still rankled me a lot, because there's an irritating habit people have of thinking Sigyn can't be awesome in Her own way. They have to give Her a sword and have Her murder people in order to be badass.

There are other discrepancies in my own personal beliefs compared to the story Liesmith presents us, but honestly, they're not important. While Sigyn is most certainly not a mortal that was turned into a goddess by Loki, I appreciate how narratively, that particular storyline came together in conclusion with Sigmund and Lain's.

And really, it was wonderful to read a story that focuses on two un-stereotyped gay men who fall in love with each other and then have to deal with the world possibly ending. Added to that is the fact that Sigmund is black, overweight, and a huge nerd -- in other words a real human -- and it gets even better.

Though I will say that I expected more of an emotional introspection on his part when the big reveals happen. It feels like he kind of skims the surface of what it means, but the big questions aren't asked and he doesn't have any kind of worry over it, save for a brief moment. Still, I really enjoyed Sigmund as a character, even if it feels at times that he doesn't really grow past who he was in the beginning.

His relationship with Lain was cute too, enough that I could ignore my own personal issues with Loki being in a relationship with someone other than Sigyn.

But I found the ending rather confusing, even though I understand more or less what happened. It was a mad rush of action and there wasn't a following moment where things quieted down and the reader could make sense of what happened. I'm still not entirely sure about who or what Lain is, when I think I should.

Still, I enjoyed Liesmith, enough to possibly look into the next book. It gave enough respect to Sigyn that I can forgive Franklin's differing portrayal of Her. It really means so much to me that an author finally gave this to me.

(A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley for a review.)
Profile Image for Lila.
843 reviews9 followers
September 27, 2018

Ok, first thing you need to know about Liesmith: Book 1 of The Wyrd is that it's "queer modern version of the saga".
So, what does that exactly mean in this book?
It's a modern take on Loki and Sigyn.
Story is set in present time,in Pandemonium, Australia. Loki, the Trickster god is residing here under the cover of Travis Hale, being a businessman and good at it. At one office party he falls in love with Sigmund, a nerdy and awkward guy. Loki left some angry gods behind him, and when they get information on his whereabouts, Sig is danger, too. But Sig is not what he seems, and he's going to get a crash course on Wyrd.
Just like with every myth, gods are a bit petulant, reasons for ending the world are way too exaggerated and don't get me started on speeches.
******************
What worked for me:

There is some beautiful writing in this book:

"Everything is true, especially the lies.
That’s the trick.
Every tale ever told, every whisper, every song, every single string of words ever uttered by mortal mouths or carved in rocks or scrawled on paper. It’s the ultimate human trait, this endless urge to speak and name and label. To attach sounds to things and meaning to sounds.
To make language."


Loki is very interesting narrator and his pov has that old, "Let me tell you a story.." vibe, that sucks you in. I also have a feeling author wanted us to have Tom Hiddleston in our heads because Loki in his Travis persona has black hair and green eyes and in his Lain persona he is this charming red-haired guy. I approve this. His Loki is so memorable, I feel like if description of Loki would differ from his image in my head, my brain would protest and skip like a mechanical failure messing up pc. ;)

What didn't work for me:

In her own words, author is a huge fan of Norse mythology, light queer romances and happy endings. And reading this book, anyone can tell. This book is everything Alis Franklin loves.
So, romance between Loki and Sig is cute and fluffy. They have their hea. But the problem is about first one: Norse mythology.
Here is the thing: If your entire knowledge on Loki can be attributed to Tom Hiddleston performance in Marvel movies, you may be a bit lost here. For example, some pieces about Sigyn and their 3 children: Hel, Fenrir and giant snake I knew about because I read urban fantasy. And if there is one genre authors are trying to incorporate mythology it's UF- I often get interested and look into something I read. Like goddess Hel I read in Jacqueline Carey's series. Hence I knew who some of relevant players are (not all, I admit). But, I was 100% lost on those meta, surreal parts of mythology that are more advanced, for someone who knows more about it than me. For example, Bleeds or the fires of Múspell or tons of other references I am not sure I even caught (but I know there is 90% chance I would spell it wrong here even if I did without looking). I don't say this is a bad thing, I just say that for someone like me who wants to understand entire backstory it required additional looking up on some words/references.
Now, the thing I noticed and it bugged me to no end is that Sig is written like every cliche ever on geeks, but even more accentuated. I was annoyed with how many times there was "like" in his pov. If he can tell me everything on DnD, there is no need for verbal filler to show me he's awkward, nervous guy all the time and in that amount.
Profile Image for Sadie Forsythe.
Author 1 book265 followers
September 26, 2014
I thought that this was quite clever. That alone would be enough for me. But paired with how darned CUTE Sigmund was, makes it's a real winner for me. I just wanted to grab all his über-geeky, low self-esteem (what he would call realistic self-appraisal), hipster envy, good boyness and hug it and love it and call it George. I adored him. Plus, he's a not a cookie-cutter, Ken-shaped, white main character. He's plump and dark. Maybe with some Maori ancestry, but that's never clarified. I loved it, even more since this was played all sorts of cool, as if it wasn't some rare gem to be treasured when found in a book.

The story itself is quite convoluted and, honestly, readers would be well served to have at least a basic understanding of Norse mythology. I'm not saying that it's not understandable if you don't, but I think it will be more enjoyable if you do. But beyond the story of the machinations of the gods there is a lot to enjoy here. The romance is slow and sweet. It never progresses beyond a kiss, but it's obvious the end goal is love not lust. *sigh* And there is just tons and tons of Gamer/Trekkie/Trekker/Ringer/comic book/Star Wars/DnD/etc nerddom to revel in. It's glorious in its own way, but not over-played. Plus, Sigmund is never disparaged for his interests. In fact, he's quite comfortable in who and what he is.

With the tangled plot, I did find it a little hard to keep up with on occasion, it seemed to slow down and drag for a while in the Helbleed, friends accepted the impossible with aplomb, and the ending is left a little 'we'll figure it out eventually' open. But for the most part I found this a really enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Kelly.
273 reviews181 followers
Read
April 14, 2021
Sigmund Sussman is your stereotypical nerd. At twenty-two, he still lives at home. When not working tech-support, he plays games – handheld, console and MMOs. He has a Dungeons and Dragons group and the walls of his bedroom are papered with Star Wars posters and pictures of dragons. He’s a bit plain, a bit overweight, wears glasses and is still a virgin. So, perhaps no one is more surprised than Sigmund when the new guy in IT, the painfully hip and casually gorgeous Lain Laufeyjarson flirts with him. Sigmund has kissed a girl. Twice. Beyond that, he’s never considered his sexuality. Lain radiates the sort of confidence that encourages everyone to act now and think later, however, and so Sigmund flirts back. Clumsily.

Shortly after bucking the expectations the tech-support department, his two closest friends and his father by dating the hot new guy, Sigmund figures out the meaning of Lain’s last name. The fact that every story Lain tells is filled with lies sort of makes sense if he’s actually a deceased Norse god, right? When Lain sprouts horns and a tail, Sigmund’s suspicions are confirmed. He’s actually dating the Liesmith, more commonly known as Loki.

For his part, Loki has been cooling his heels in Australia for about seventy years. Building an outstanding tech company that has made him the third richest man in the world has been a nice break from warring with the other gods. The city of Pandemonium is more than a home, however. It’s tied to his IT company and he is tied to it. Really, it’s just another prison. Then he meets Sigmund. In the sort of plump and nerdly figure of the guy from tech support, Loki recognises the soul of his wife. Doesn’t seem to matter that Sigmund is a guy. Love is love. So he begins to court Sigmund and that’s when things start to get complicated. I’d say that Loki has unwittingly opened a new chapter in his legend, but I’m not so sure that Loki does anything accidentally.

Mythology intersects reality rather quickly and for everyone who is Wyrd-touched, life becomes very, very interesting. Sigmund learns that he’s the reincarnation of a goddess, his two friends used to be Valkyries, and that Loki has more enemies than friends. Oh, and someone wants them all dead. A dedicated tabletop gamer, Sigmund struggles with the idea his boyfriend is inherently Chaotic Evil, and that he really wants to defend him from the Good Guy. Meanwhile, Sigmund’s father is struggling with the idea that his son is not only gay, but dating a horned monster from legend. We all have our crosses to bear. Loki is trying to outthink the inevitable: Ragnarök.

Liesmith is, at heart, Urban Fantasy. There are elements of horror. In fact, there is so much foulness and gore that you kind of get used to it after a while. Mythical dimensions bleed into reality and the landscape becomes reminiscent of Limbo in DMC: Devil May Cry – that’s the visual I had in my head, anyway. Lots of breathing lumps of…something. Monsters lurking in every shadow. Unexplained piles of skin and bones. And monsters.

Alis Franklin draws extensively on Norse legend to populate her tale, but she twists the myths to her own purpose. I will admit I got a little lost on the way to Ragnarök. Right at the end, when everyone was dying, I still hadn’t figured out quite what went wrong. Everyone dying is a really vague spoiler, by the way, because you don’t know who everyone is. It could be everyone in the world, or just everyone you care about as a reader. Or I could be pulling a Loki on you. Regardless, by the time I turned the last page, I might have figured out what happened – which is why I don’t read a lot of Urban Fantasy. I often feel a bit puzzled at the end.

If you pick this book up hoping for hot and heavy same-sex romance, you’ll be disappointed. The romance is sweet and it’s an integral part of the story. But it’s not the means to the end. Rather, Liesmith is an action-filled adventure through a new chapter of the life of a reimagined Loki and his cohorts.

Despite getting a little lost in the plot and being disappointed by the fact Loki and Sigmund didn’t get it on – it’s a story about a god and a virgin, it’s kind of expected, right? – I really enjoyed Liesmith. The character’s voices drew me in quickly. I really liked Loki. I wanted him to win in the end. I also wanted to see him and Sigmund ride their unconventional horse off into the sunset together. Sigmund might have started out as a caricature of nerdliness, but he developed into a young man of unexpected strength and sweetness. Actually, the sweetness wasn’t that unexpected, but I liked seeing it. The writing style plays fast and loose with grammar. It’s a little quirky and takes some getting used to, but really does convey the characters personalities very well. Also, the book is very funny. I laughed out loud several times.

Finally, Alis Franklin is Australian and the book is set Australia. Though I haven’t lived there for sixteen years, the rhythm of the language and odd phrase were happy reminders. I’ll definitely be looking for the sequel.

(4.5 rounded up to 5 because this book was just so much fun to read)

Written for SFCrowsnest.
Profile Image for DoodlePanda.
304 reviews22 followers
September 25, 2014
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely loved this book! To be perfectly honest I didn't know much about it before I started reading it. But I was so glad I did! I think initially the cover put me off, to me it doesn't really relate to the story. I guess the man on the cover is supposed to be Sigmund, and there is a spear involved, but it doesn't have the right 'feel'. Maybe it's just me. But I was sure pleasantly surprised when I started reading!

I found it to have a great story, I love the way that the author has mixed Norse mythology and modern life! Being from Norway we learn a lot about Norse mythology in school, and it was great to recognize a lot of the characters involved. (But that doesn't mean you wont be able to enjoy the story if you don't know any Norse gods!)

I also found it to be quite funny, especially in the beginning when Sigmund first meets Loki (in his different forms) and the interactions between the two of them. And I love that the relationship between them feels so... natural. There is no drama around the fact that they are both male, which I loved.

The writing style was great, I felt really immersed in the story. And I kept reading 'just a little bit more' to see what would happen next.

I'm looking forward to book 2, will definitely read that as well as I want to find out about the characters and what happens next! :)
Profile Image for Borderstar.
912 reviews17 followers
Shelved as 'd-n-f'
October 3, 2015
DNF @ 46% - may try again at a later date?

This hovered somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for the majority of the read so far.

This is something really different - I initially loved that this was so different. But then after a while, something about the style just didn't quite work for me and I really wasn't feeling the "romance" aspect at all. Although I did really quite like the characters - the way that everything was quite confusing and the mystery was unfolding as you went along appealed to me.

I really wanted to love this, but I kept picking it up and putting it down and reading small pieces at a time until I realised I hadn't read any more of this for months and hadn't missed it...so I decided it was time for a DNF.

Very imaginative and quite different, but not for me at this time - I MAY revisit this at a later date and give it another go as it was definitely intriguing when I was into the story.
Profile Image for Jax.
845 reviews33 followers
October 12, 2014
This was fun. I loved the concept of an ancient god living in the mortal world and falling for a slightly schlubby, insecure nerd. It dragged a bit when they're dealing with the Helbleed, but then I never like the action bits in action movies. Looking forward to book two.

Profile Image for Kahlia.
544 reviews37 followers
May 31, 2021
3.5 stars. This was not what I expected (I think I expected it to be both more serious, and less intense in its knowledge of the Norse gods), but it was still a lot of fun! Sigmund is a great narrator and very easy to root for, and I love all the little digs at nerd culture and the random Australianisms.
Profile Image for Stefanie.
1,686 reviews60 followers
Shelved as 'unfinished'
August 10, 2020
This wasn't terrible, it just needs a lot of polishing. Too many times I had to go back and reread a paragraph to make sure I knew what was happening. Gave up at 12% when there was still no forward motion in the plot. I reread the summary and realized I don't even know what the plot is, and a cursory glance at the reviews are all about the writing . . . so I guess no one knows what the plot is. Oh well.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
Author 16 books121 followers
March 20, 2015
NOTE: I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have also subsequently purchased a copy.

**

Liesmith is Australian author Alis Franklin’s debut novel. It is the first book in the urban fantasy series, The Wyrd. Two more books in the series are forthcoming.

Let’s get one thing up front: I make no secret of the fact that I am really, really burned out on a lot of what passes for urban fantasy these days. I am tired of love triangles and of seeing characters doing dumb things to perpetuate love triangles. I am tired of seeing mythology thinned, turned into yet another cookie-cutter book filled with the same old tropes.

And so I approached Liesmith with some trepidation. Worried that this would be yet another same-old same-old.

I shouldn’t have worried.

Because seriously, Franklin has knocked this one out of the park.

Sigmund Sussman is a geek. He works in IT – and worse, the brand of “Have you tried turning it off then on again?” IT – he’s chubby, somewhat awkward with non-geeks, and he plays DnD. Refreshingly, though he’s unashamedly geeky, he’s not portrayed as a loner – his two best friends, both female gamers, Wayne and Em, are always there for him. Sigmund can also always sense when someone is lying, an ability that he keeps to himself.

Enter Lain Laufeyjarson, hipsterish new addition to the IT department. Sigmund brushes Lain off originally (at which point I was pretty much cheering because no love at first sight trope!), but Lain is immediately interested in Sigmund. He slowly takes his time getting to know him (double hooray!) and the two of them are drawn together.

You make think this is a standard romance, but beneath Lain’s skin lies someone – and something – else, and Sigmund and his friends are thrown into a world of monsters where gods can be reincarnated and not everything is as it seems.

First of all, the romance in this is wonderful. There’s no love at first sight, just a believable growing together of two people. Without spoiling anything specific, Franklin could very easily have thrust these Lain and Sigmund together, but she chooses not to, instead creating a very gradual relationship (including the awkward moments that happen in any nascent relationship). This is no stereotypical Powerful Character falls in love with Squishy Mortal story, but something that feels very, very real. The fluid treatment of sexuality is also to be commended.

The fantasy elements in this are also amazing. Franklin has taken the Norse myths and created something pretty damn amazing. What lies beneath Lain’s skin is monstrous, but there’s a deep humanity to him, even in his most inhuman moments.

I seriously do not have enough words for how much I love this book and want to thrust it at everyone I know who reads urban fantasy (and those who don’t). The romance is wonderful, all of the characters are well-rounded (including Wayne and Em, who could have easily been just so much window dressing in a lesser writer’s hands), and the fantastical elements are original and solid. On top of everything, the writing is brilliant, and there’s fun and humour and darkness in just the right balance.

Franklin is most definitely a writer to watch. She brings something truly fresh to urban fantasy in Liesmith and I hope we get to see many more books by her. Based on Liesmith alone, she’s on my instant buy list for life.
Profile Image for Adrian Fridge.
Author 5 books44 followers
February 5, 2015
I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I picked this up expecting romance and Norse mythology. I didn't expect the horror elements, but they worked out fine. I also liked the diverse cast and the adorable pairing of Sigmund and Lain. What threw me off were the minor details that added up into clusters of annoyance.

Okay, let's start with the positives. Sigmund is a bundle of geekiness wrapped in layers of dorky awkwardness, and I relate to that so hard. He's brown skinned, pudgy, and not the best looker. It makes Lain's attraction to him special. Sig's defining feature is his built-in Lie detector, which aids him in getting past Lain's web of bullshit. That balances their dynamic out, with Lain being Loki in disguise.

I'm also fond of the use of Sig's best friends, Wayne and Em, in later chapters. I mean, here you have these two uber gamer girls playing a horror game while painting their nails. Wayne, in particular, stands out because she's a black, goth, pink-haired, ass kicker. That sort of representation is rare.

The negatives revolve around the story not being as tight as it could be. While the Norse myth facts are well researched, everything else is all over the place.

Lack of fact-checking: Dark skinned people blushing. The more melanin a person has, the less visible a rush of blood. I'm too white to be an expert on details, but with Sig being notably brown, there's far too much emphasis on the color of his blush being noticed by Lain.

Lack of awareness: Jesus Christ! It's very striking how often characters unironically invoke the name of a Christian god in a story where Norse ideology reigns supreme (which brings up a whole debate on religion the author didn't intend on). Worst offender is Norse god Loki, who is very liberal with his exclamations of "Jesus." That's just too many levels of awkward.

Padding. There are two scenes that bothered me because they did not add to the plot at all. The first is when Sig and Wayne are playing an online RPG. That fight scene, while interesting in itself, was way too long. It's only meant to set the stage for two facts: the character type Sig identifies with, and the proceeding conversation about Lain. The second is when Loki has a "flashback" at the World Tree, which I thought was a waste of my time when it could be summed up in a few sentences (not to mention that it heavily ties into the next point).

Forced Suspense: Loki's character development. The transition of Loki from Chaotic Evil to Lawful Good is not clear enough. A lot of it has to do with the big reveal at the end, but I don't feel there was enough foreshadowing. You get hints thrown in like breadcrumbs, but all I saw was a trickster-by-heart suddenly become a bumbling, lovestruck straight-as-an-arrow hero with ZERO awareness of that deep, internal change, all told through his POV. It's hand waved with "bad memory," but even bad memory wouldn't stop a trickster from rediscovering his true nature through trial-and-error. But Loki doesn't question it in the least.

Looking past these grievances, the overall plot is super intriguing, and this was a major page-turner. I'm a fan of any author writing queer fantasy fiction. This book just doesn't quite pull its weight, which is why I'm giving it my OKAY star rating.
Profile Image for Nikyta.
1,409 reviews254 followers
October 25, 2015
Reviewed at The Blogger Girls.

Holy smokes! What in the world did I just read?! First things first, if you don’t like Norse mythology or reading about Gods and Goddesses, reincarnation or just don’t like reading books that have a lot of foreign names that has A LOT of depth to the world, then this is not the book for you.

HOWEVER, if those things intrigue you then this book IS for you! So much happens in this story that it is really hard to describe so I’m just going to leave it up to the blurb to give readers an idea of what this book is about. The only other thing you need to know is that this novel deals heavily in mythology and Loki is the prominent God in this book. It’s a story about a geeky IT tech not only finding out that he’s dating a CEO (who’s masquerading as another IT tech) but who also happens to be a legendary God and who gets dumped right into the middle of a world filled with monsters, near death situations and a bit of love.

It’s a CRAZY story that was a TON of fun. Lain, who’s Loki, is a mischievous quirky man who’s just fascinated with Sigmund because Sig is his wife reincarnated. Sigmund, however, is the exact opposite of Loki’s wife (obviously) in that Sig is not just a man but also a chubby, geeky twenty-two year old who doesn’t understand why the gorgeous Lain is attracted to him and completely oblivious to almost everything. Sigmund was a great character; very engaging and entertaining but also a little standoffish and I loved that he was so confused on why Lain liked him. BUT I won’t deny that Lain was my favorite. He was so sweet and adorable and did everything he could to make Sigmund feel courted and comfortable but he was also dangerous and fierce.

I just about ADORED this book because it’s so insane but also seems to follow the stories of Loki and Sigyn very well. I loved reading about that and experiencing the vast differences between what Loki went through and who Lain was but also what Sigyn went through and who Sigmund is now. However, this book isn’t perfect. The beginning is very confusing and choppy to the point that I couldn’t really understand what was going on. It kept switching from a POV to a narrative, which was hard to follow. Plus, at first, I didn’t know this was a story about Loki and Sigyn so I didn’t realize it was the retelling of their history.

All in all, though, this was a great story. It started off rough but as it continues, things start to become clearer and easier to follow. I loved both Sigmund and Lain but also the world that the author was able to recreate. I felt like I was reliving some of the scenes and loved the action throughout. There’s a few twists and turns throughout the story that had me on the edge of my seat and desperate to know that everything turns out okay!

Overall, it was a fabulous start to a new series. I love just about anything that deals with mythology so this book was a real treat in addition to being so entertaining. I can’t wait to read more in this series and seeing where the story goes from here. Plus, I really want more of Lain and Sigmund!
Profile Image for Sarina.
766 reviews1 follower
April 1, 2017
4.5* Review written for Love Bytes Reviews.

Sigmund Sussman is about as average an individual as you can get. Working in the IT department at the same company as his father, he still lives at home and his greatest aspirations include playing games with his friends and managing to dodge the latest company get together. When Sigmund is chosen to show a new hire by the name of Lain Laufeyjarson the ropes, he’s slightly annoyed but resigned to the invasion of his private corner of the office and Lain isn’t that bad a guy; a little weird but hey, who is he to judge? What starts out as a minor inconvenience quickly turns to friendship and then slowly morphs into more, however, but Lain is much more than he appears and Sigmund will soon have more to worry about then just bringing home his boyfriend to meet his dad.

I had no idea I needed a book like this in my life until I read it. Oh my god this was so good! Let me start off by saying that this isn’t your watered down ‘family friendly’ Norse Mythology you may have gotten a taste of in the Avengers. (Not that I have anything against Tom Hiddleston because damn, that man made Loki look good!) Really though, things for Loki were a lot worse than people may have realized in the original tales and this author brings some of that to light here, which was great to see.

I loved the blending of the Norse Gods and the modern world in this story, it just worked so well and it was entertaining to boot. The author managed to grab my interest right away and kept it through the entire story to the point that I resented having to put the book down for any length of time. There were a lot of different elements brought into the story but you really don’t need any prior knowledge of the mythology used in order to understand it as the author does a really good job of explaining just what’s going on. While there are a few parts of the book that threw me for a minute before I realized it was a memory and, while confused at first, I quickly got over it as each walk down memory lane gave one more piece to the puzzle of what’s really going on.

I adored this; it was creative and entertaining and I just love how everything was woven together. I foresee myself re-reading this one a lot and I am super excited to move onto the sequel. I kind of want to just recommend this to everyone for the uniqueness but if you’re a fan of mythology or urban fantasy in particular you should really enjoy this one.

http://lovebytesreviews.com/2016/07/0...
Profile Image for Liv Rancourt.
Author 45 books165 followers
October 29, 2014
This book was so much fun! As soon as I finished I posted about it on one of my Facebook group pages, encouraging others to read it. The story is a mash-up of urban fantasy, geek culture, queer romance, Norse mythology, and Australia. So different, and so much to like!

Sigmund works in IT for a Microsoft-esque tech company. The main virtue to his job it is gives him and his friends the time and the means to play around with developing an RPG. A new guy, Lain, gets assigned to the next desk, and despite himself, Sig is drawn into the his orbit. As their tentative friendship leads to more, Sig plays a part in an adventure that's grander and more frightening than any video game he's ever played.

What I liked...
I really liked Sigmund. He's sort of an every-dude - a little overweight and not terribly ambitious, he's loyal to his friends and treats people decently. He's not flashy or dramatic, but he gets the job done in the end.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the author played with gender role expectations - and I don't want to give away spoilers by saying anything more.

I loved that there was so much going on. I live in the land of Microsoft and my kid's a gamer, and the author's take on geek culture felt real to me. I know very little about Norse mythology, so that part was fascinating. The plot moved right along, with some laughs and some surprises and some really entertaining bits along the way.

What didn't work as well for me...
I could have used more Australia. For all that the author's from there, I didn't get as much sense of the setting as I wanted.

The lead-up to the grand finale got a little confusing for me. As I said earlier, I don't know much about Norse mythology, and while I enjoyed learning as I read, there was still a sense of "now why did that happen again?". The story got to an emotionally satisfying place, so I was good with it, but I think it could have been cleaner.

I would totally recommend Liesmith to anyone who likes their urban fantasy a little different. The story was refreshing and fun, the writing was strong enough to keep me turning pages, and the ending was satisfyingly romantic.

(I was given a copy of this novel by the publisher in return for an honest review.)




Author 4 books1 follower
July 30, 2015
I'm going to come right out and admit that I fell in love with this book and the characters, though I will note that it wasn't immediate. It took a little while to get used to Alis Franklin's writing style and there was some mild confusion over who was the narrator, plus the jumps between tenses.

That being said, once I adjusted, it was a fun ride from beginning to end. Lain is hilarious and Sigmund is adorable, and I very much appreciate books about queer characters, especially queer characters of colour. Take note, agents and publishers; more of this, less of love triangles between skinny white people. I did think that Wayne and Em could've used more screen time, especially since there's a few chapters from their POV in the second half of the book. Setting up the main relationship is great (and actually I could've used more before we went into plot territory with the god stuff), but while Em and Wayne seemed like interesting characters, it was just hard to really care because they felt like an afterthought.

Speaking of halves, there's a bit of a genre change that was a little jarring at first read: the first half of the book is basically light romance flavoured with some urban fantasy supernatural shenanigans; the second half is a Silent Hill-esque horror. It's cool, but I do think it could've been a little smoother of a transition, especially in a book where the reader is kind of thrown into a spin on Norse mythology.

Despite a few quibbles (the occasional lapse into Valley Girl speak did irritate me once or twice), I really did enjoy reading this. Like to the point where I skived off at work for three hours just to finish reading it. It's been a while since a book has hauled me in like that, and I am so glad that there are books out there like this, that cater to my interests so well: queer relationships, urban fantasy, gods, and anthropomorphic archeopteryx. Because we all need more dinosaurs in our life.
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
October 23, 2014
I was first drawn to LIESMITH by the cover. You don't see many black guys on the cover of urban fantasy novels. Then there was the blurb, which promised Norse mythology meets IT. That made me think of the SpellCrash series by Kelly McCullough, which I love.

Alis Franklin's debut novel is about Sigmund Sussman, a low-level IT nerd who just humiliated himself by not recognizing his boss when he meets Lain Laufeyjarson, the new guy in the department. The two hit it off, leading Sigmund to question himself - and Lain's attraction to him. But soon he has even more to question than his new relationship, because strange things are happening. Strange, dangerous things.

I enjoyed Franklin's writing style quite a bit, although I expect it might not be for everyone. It can tend a bit toward the labyrinthine, like the plot. There are lots of characters trying to pull of long-term master plans, which means their is a bit of a pileup of complicated events at the end. At the same time, I appreciate that ambition and that Franklin managed to pull off a few brilliant twists grounded in mythology.

Obviously, no one even slightly familiar with Norse mythology (and who isn't, in the age of Marvel?) will fail to ascertain Lain's real identity even before it is revealed to the reader. (Thankfully, not too long. Both Lain and Sigmund narrate.) But it might be more complicated than it first seems. I also liked that the cast wasn't entirely male. Sigmund's two best friends are both women, and both play an active role in the climax.

There are lots of rough edges to LIESMITH. The romance is a touch cliche and sometimes it is hard to follow what is happening. But LIESMITH shows a lot of promise. It's sweet, but tough, much like many of its characters. I look forward to the next book of the Wyrd.
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