cover image The Testament of Loki

The Testament of Loki

Joanne M. Harris. Saga, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4949-6

Harris’s irreverent, narcissistic version of the Norse trickster god continues to narrate his post-Ragnarok adventures with cheeky modern language in the solid middle volume of the trilogy begun in The Gospel of Loki. Loki uses the computer game Asgard! to escape from purgatory and into the body of a teenage girl in the present day, but soon he discovers that Odin and others have already found similar hosts, and the drama of the gods has followed him into this new world. Harris indulges a bit of modern cultural goofiness, giving Loki a fondness for pizza and an attraction to fire spinners and placing Thor in the body of a dog, but keeps the focus on gods rather than humans; the story explores the implications of being driven by expectation and prophecy more than the weirdness of body sharing. She nods to the Marvel cinematic universe’s version of the Norse pantheon by depicting popular culture as a shared dream that may be flawed and ridiculous (Loki hates the inaccuracies in Asgard!) but allows the Norse gods to survive in a godless world. Despite Loki’s change of circumstance, returning readers will find the voice of Harris’s Loki is intact, as is Harris’s ability to reframe mythic characters without losing their archetypical essences. There’s plenty of thoughtful entertainment here and much promise for the third volume. (May)