In the sequel to The Gospel of Loki, Loki’s adventures continue when he finds a way out of the end of the world and plans to restart the power of the Norse gods.
The end of the world—also known as Ragnarok to the Norse gods—has occurred, and Loki has been trapped in a seemingly endless purgatory, in torture, until he finds a way to escape. It seems that he still exists in the minds of humanity and uses that as a way to our time.
Back in the ninth world (Earth), Loki finds himself sharing the mind of a teenage girl named Jumps, who is a bit of a mess. She’s also not happy about Loki sneaking his way into her mind since she was originally calling on Thor. Worse, her friends have also been co-opted by the gods: Odin, Jump’s one-eyed best friend in a wheelchair, and Freya, the pretty one. Thor escapes the netherworld as well and shares the mind of a dog, and he finds that it suits him.
Odin has a plan to bring back the Norse gods ascendancy, but Loki has his own ideas on how things can go—and nothing goes according to plan.
I read a paperback
The Testament of Loki is the second book in a series, following on from The Gospel of Loki. I was expecting this book to be adult fiction but I found that it reads much more like YA. The language and themes are very teen-oriented, the character, Jumps, cuts her arms as a cry for help, she has been fat-shamed in middle school, feels shameful about her attraction to members of her own sex and hates being the center of attention. The host characters, Jumps, Evan and Stella are in the midst of high school exams at the time of their possession by three of the Norse gods. The author states on her website, in an interview about the prequel, The Gospel of Loki, that she would prefer to let the reader decide whether her books are adult or YA in genre: http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/books/the-gospel-of-loki/
The setting of the story is also teen-oriented. This story takes place long after Ragnarök, the doom of the Norse gods, and Loki, the narrator, who has been languishing in a cell inside the Black Fortress of Netherworld for centuries, suddenly finds himself inside an RPG video game called AsgardTM, which he managed to access via the world of Dream. He is then somehow able to possess the body of the player, a seventeen year old girl called Jumps. On visiting her friend, Evan he discovers that Odin the Alfather is inhabiting Evan’s body and encourages Loki to play AsgardTM against Thor in order to pull the Thunderer out into the same world. Loki is quick to realize Odin wants to replace him inside Jumps’ human form with Thor and instead manages to throw Thor into the body of Evan’s cute pet dog, Sprinkles. Together they aim to try and find a way to reclaim their power as corporeal gods once more, by reviving Odin’s eight-legged horse, Sleipnir and traveling through the world of Dream searching for the head of Mimir, the oracle, which Loki threw from the parapet of Asgard at the end of Ragnarök.
Working against them is Loki’s ex, the demon Gulveig-Heid who is in control of the body of Stella, a vacuous, self-obsessed mean girl who is also on a mission to find the head of the oracle, her father, in order to hear his prophesies on how they can regain their former power.
This is a quirky, amusing story, with a lot of the humour coming from Loki discovering items from present day, such as pizza and trying to figure out how to use modern devices like phones and “The Book of Faces”, which he uses to figure out the identity of the people known by his host.
The Testament of Loki was fairly short for a novel, at 258 pages in the edition I read and very easy to read, apart from the first two chapters, before Loki finds himself in the video game. These were a little harder going and in a different style to the rest of the book. They might put off some teen readers from reading the remainder of the story, which is a shame as I found the book on the whole to be an unusual, enjoyable and definitely irreverent adventure involving the Trickster at his snarkiest and most entertaining.
The Testament of Loki will be more appealing to fans of pop culture and lighter reads – definitely not for those who prefer the more traditional style of epic Norse myths.
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About the Author
Joanne Harris is the internationally best-selling author of eighteen novels, plus novellas, scripts, short stories, libretti, lyrics, articles, and most recently, a self-help book for writers, TEN THINGS ABOUT WRITING. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013, was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion of the system’. She is active on YouTube, where she posts short seminars for writers, and on Twitter, where she writes stories and gives writing tips as @joannechocolat. She also performs in a live music and storytelling show with the #Storytime Band, and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.
She also has a form of synaesthesia which enables her to smell colours. Red, she says, smells of chocolate.