I should preface this by saying that I'm a huge fan of Norse mythology; I've read and discussed many of the sagas and myths, and I'm very familiar with the runes and rune poems as well. So I was really excited to read this book, even though that meant ordering from out of the country and paying the extra shipping, as it's not available on Kindle. I had never heard of this author, though apparently she's well known and highly regarded in the UK. Also, given the amount of attention the character of Loki has gotten due to the Marvel movies, and how well Tom Hiddleston portrayed the complexity and vigor of that character, I had some pretty high expectations for the book. (And, the title--"The Gospel of Loki"? I appreciate the allusion to the Bible's Gospels, but that's setting up some pretty big shoes to fill, IMHO. This book needed to be an engaging, rock-solid satire to live up to a title like that.)
--She really knows her mythology (apparently she is studying ancient Norse at the moment), and almost every major myth is included (though of course from Loki's perspective).
--Her take on the Vanir/Aesir war and Gullvieg-Heide was one I hadn't seen before, and brought up some interesting possibilities for my understanding the deities and politics involved.
--It was great to see the myths from Loki's point of view, a la "Wicked" and "Maleficent". (However, it's not actually that great of an example of that genre.)
--To be fair, the book did start out strong, portraying Loki as vivid rebel about to take on Asgard; and the snappy chapter titles were entertaining.
--Loki, the star of the show, was for the most part boring and whiny. He's arguably one of the most interesting characters of *any* mythology, anywhere; how anyone could make such an interesting god this bland and one-sided, I'll never know.
--By about a third of the way through the book, the chapter titles started feeling a schtick, and Loki started to lose his panache.
--I know the runes and rune poems, but even so, I didn't understand why she assigned which runes to which god; it was not very intuitive and I didn't get the logic behind these choices at all. This component actually worked against her, because it really undermined my suspension of disbelief every time one was mentioned.
--Though I strongly approve of someone researching the actual myths and presenting them in a palatable way to a larger audience, I think she did so at the cost of a more engaging, realistic story. I feel kind of sacrilegious in saying this, but I think I would have preferred that she *not* include a myth or two, or that she had created more of her own storyline to fill in the blanks. I love these myths, but it was stretch trying to wrap them up into one coherent narrative, and the book suffered for it.
--Finally, Loki isn't the *only* interesting and complex character in Norse mythology; the myths are rife with them, both deities and other mythological entities. However, only Odin, Mimir, and Gullvieg were portrayed as anything more than bland caricatures. A good leading man needs some equally strong characters to butt up against, or the story gets boring. While a few characters ended up being more solid than they appeared, I think it was too little too late to save the story.
So overall, the story had a few good points, but a lot of drawbacks as well. I kept starting and stoppping this book several times because I kept losing interest in it, and is not my usual M.O. when reading fiction. In my opinion, interested readers should borrow the book from the library.