If everything you know about Loki begins and ends with the actor Tom Hiddleston, this book is for you.
Harris (Peaches for Father Francis, 2012, etc.) collects the ancient Norse myths about the trickster god—Loki’s origin in Chaos; his sworn oath of brotherhood with Odin; his endless, nasty pranks on the gods of Asgard; his torturous imprisonment; the end of the world, etc.—into a single, quippy novel in contemporary (indeed, anachronistic) speech. All Loki wants, or so he says, is to be liked, but most of the gods are against him from the very first, and so he does his best (his worst?) to live up to their expectations. The way Harris writes him, you can’t help but like him, even as he confesses to the most absurd and/or horrific deeds; well, you like him, but you wouldn’t really want to be acquainted with him—being his enemy or his friend seems equally dicey. Readers who are surprised that Harris has it in her to be so cynical and snarky are probably the same people who think the charming-veering-toward-sentimental film Chocolat was faithful to the 1999 novel, which was actually considerably darker. One has to admire the author for imposing her own take on the character: the Marvel films’ portrayal is fairly pervasive, and bestselling fantasist Neil Gaiman has had a crack at it twice (in his Sandman comic-book series and the novel American Gods).
If not exactly fresh, certainly a rich, in-depth addition to the modern mythic canon.