Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mike Vasich - Loki


By Mike Vasich

Kindle Edition Available

Product Description (from Amazon)

God of Mischief. Father of Lies. Harbinger of Destruction. Exiled and tortured by the gods, Loki swears vengeance. He will summon the mighty Fenris Wolf and the legendary Midgard Serpent, and they will lead an army of giants and all the dead in Niflheim. Brimming with the power of the most destructive being in the Nine Worlds, he will not rest till Asgard is in ashes and all the gods are dead under his heel.

About the Author (from Amazon)

"Loki" is the first novel I have finished, and it was born from my love of Norse mythology and the teaching of it in my English class for the last ten years or so. Essentially, it's the story of the traditional villain of the myths--Loki, of course--except it's from his point of view. So instead of being merely a trickster who eventually turns completely evil, there are compelling reasons for his fall, reasons which explain why he takes the actions he does. 

Loki is a compelling character, and you will really feel for him as you read the novel. He's not squeaky clean--far from it!--but I think most readers will easily be able to empathize with him.

The book is loaded with action--I love a good fight scene!--but also has a lot of depth to it. I rewrote some of the traditional myths and interspersed them throughout the book, so that the effect is "myth" followed by "true story." And of course the myths are not always accurate to what "really" happened. There are also plenty of twists, and I think readers will be surprised at many turns even if they are familiar with the myths. I hope you enjoy the story!

O.Scarlett! REVIEW by Rachel

Loki is primarily a retelling of the Norse myths, but not just a telling it in a more understandable way.  Instead the story is retold in an entirely new fashion that gives a glimpse into the creation of myths, the taking of the true, chaining the truth into a poetical story or song, massaging the details to make them sound more interesting ... and then through the years it morphs and changes with the telling, until the truth is hard to see.

Yet this remains a work of fiction.  In each section of the story, a myth or legend of the Norse gods and especially Loki and Odin and Thor is given in a close to original form.  As a teen, I read an extensive amount of mythology, fairy tales, and legends, and tales of Loki and Thor were among them, but my teen years are a long time in the past, so my memory of them is a bit fuzzy.  All I can say for sure is that the mythology stories told in the book, seemed to jive with the memory I have of those stories.

After each myth is told, a masterful retelling of the story begins.  The retelling is somehow more believable, tying meat and brains and muscle to the bare bones of the myths.  Details are toned down, so that the telling seems to be more believable, as if it perhaps happened in just that way.  In the midst of the character development, you catch glimpses of motives and how misunderstandings arose and were flamed.  Evil characters seem more justified, and the good ones have ulterior motives.

Basic Plot

The story opens shortly after one of the many battles between the giants and the gods.  The gods need a wall to be rebuilt, and a man arrives with his horse to offer to rebuild the wall.  The task is so large that the gods are confident that he will never finish in time, but agree to his demands with the knowledge that at least part of the wall will have been built.

The story jumps from one perspective and tale to another, each story giving the reader a piece of the greater puzzle and told in such a way as to explain the reasons behind the myths.  It is as if the story was taking place on a giant rotating stage, with the available point of view changing so that the one watching catches a new detail that was previously unknown and unseen.  The author uses this tactic with skill, and it lends itself well to the apparent unraveling of the myth, and the understanding the reader has of the main characters.  As the story unfolds, you get glimpses of the Allfather’s knowledge of all time and all events in the past, present, and future, all of which must somehow come to pass.  Even with all of his knowledge, he chooses to let the events unfold as he sees them happening.  With each new piece of the story, you soon begin to wonder who is truly the trickster, and who is being tricked.

Loki sees that the gods have been tricked, and the man must be more than he appears, for the wall is being completed with great skill and speed.  He will have no problem finishing his task on time, and gaining his coveted prize.  Loki devises a slight trick, with mere days to go for the task to be completed, a trick that slows the progress just enough to cause the man to fail.   The man is angry, and as he allows his secret power to be seen, he unleashes a great deal of harm and destruction on the gods.  It is by the barest of margins that he is overpowered.  The level of detail of the battles always come just a tad shy of outright gory – but there are enough details to turn the average stomach.  If bloody and sexually charged adventures are not to your liking, then these stories will probably not appeal to you.

When Loki returns with a gift for Odin, he is met with disgust and disdain.  Others do not trust him.  Loki has already begun to question Odin’s motives.  This merely added fuel to his questioning spirit.  Odin summons Loki, and then sends him on a mission to the giant’s home that had sent the mason to rebuild the wall.  Loki and Odin both know that Loki secretly has Chaos inside of him, and that by sending Loki on this mission, the fate of the gods will be sealed, and yet he sends him to be corrupted into their enemy anyway.

As the stories unfold, Loki learns to use his Chaos.  He steals the secret source of their youth.  And he father’s 3 hideous monsters for children with a giantess as their mother.  The other gods take Loki’s children, and Loki is bound and tortured for eternity, but when his werewolf son aids his escape, and his dead daughter that rules the underworlds lends him troupes to aide the battles, and he brings a secret weapon to destroy the gods, will any survive the trickery and the deceit?

I was very impressed with the way the story twisted and turned, giving tiny bits of information out and then turning them over to reveal a very different picture.  The story will give the reader pause, pondering the deeper message behind the myths.  Some may be able to gloss over the book and enjoy it as just a work of fiction.  But as someone who has studied mythology as it ties in to history and religion, I found this point of view to be fascinating and somewhat disturbing.   It is a book that can cause you to question your beliefs and may shake your understanding of “the way things are”, so this will not be a book that I will give to my children. 

Although it has been a few months since I read the book, the story has stayed with me, and occasionally I find myself pondering parts of the book and the way things were worded, and perhaps the bigger picture that the author was painting.  

Yet, there were areas of the book that were rough and difficult to understand.  The wording could have been improved in many locations.  Overall, I felt the book was well written and the story well told.   I think it would be fascinating to see how this author might handle some of the other ancient mythologies and legends of other  countries.

Note:   This book is long, and a rather rambling story, yet some as young as 5th grade may be able to handle it as an adventure style novel, although with the violence and sexual themes, I would recommend readers be in high school at least, and very good readers who can handle the vocabulary level.   This is not a clean or sweet story, it is blood, sweat, tears, horror, and so much more.  

Genre/Theme:   Mythology,  Norse Myths,  Adventure/Biography style, Fiction
Reading Level: Mature TEEN - high school to college 
Profanity: MODERATE - mild words & a few stronger expletives  to
HIGH - many instances of strong language    (There are many instances of “strong language”, but they are not heavily used by every character, nor in every situation.  Many long passages are quite tame.  Other parts are quite crass.)
Sexuality:  OBVIOUS - blatant sexuality in text, but not explicit   (One character/goddess in particular is frequently referred to in a sexual way, and many of the “exploits” of the gods are referred to, but nothing quite reaches the explicit  level.  Many descriptions of lust and bodily beauty of both males and females.  Perverse acts are implied, even if left unsaid.)
Other: One god turns himself into a mare to tempt a stallion, and gives birth to a many legged colt.  A giantess gives birth to 3 monsters.  These monsters are killed or abused as the story progresses – while they are only a few days old.  Many acts of extreme violence during the frequent battles and wars.     There were many places that really turned my stomach in the graphic details.  The gods all age and the aging is graphically detailed.  Tons of trickery and lies, and some is worded to cause you to question all religion.

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