Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell
|Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Diary of a Wimpy God. And there was you thinking illustrated middle-grade journal-format books had said all they had to say.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: February 2022|
|Publisher: Walker Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Meet Loki. The trickster god has got into trouble again, so the other gods have decided there's only one thing for it – he must be banished. And transformed – for Loki is spending a month both in exile and in the physical form of a middle-school kid here on Earth. He's guarded by a giant and a god in disguise as his parents, and Thor has come along as well, to be the more suave, more popular and more successful brother of the two. Loki has a month to redeem his reputation, and get his moral compass pointing the right way again, or else, and to prove it he has to write the text we read in a sentient notebook, that is able to cry foul of his lies, and judge his progress. But Loki is the kind of god who insists he can do anything, so surviving a bit more virtuously for a month is going to be a walk in the park...right?
I'd never have turned to this thinking at last, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid-meets-Norse-myth book I'd always hoped for - but that's because this idea is actually rather a genius concept. No, you won't garner much more where the real myth is concerned than you would watching a Marvel film, but you will get a most distinctive entry into this long-sustained format of book. Loki is a perfectly unreliable narrator – until the notebook interjects – and a fine way for the target audience to see themselves. They'll love it when an immortal agrees that schools are horrid and smelly places, French lessons are pointless and that swilling your brother's toothbrush out in the loo is a fine revenge.
Yes, the jokes do tend to have a lot of poo and bodily functions in them, but there is also an arch look at our world – the god in the back seat of a car seeing how misguided we are as a species, especially when it comes to our on-line lives. Loki gets to be a bit woke, too – declaring museums a mea culpa for colonialist criminals, but generally his social observations are classy and pithy, and tend towards the 'jokes for all ages to keep the adults happy' that cinema cartoons might have. Are we adults supposed to be turning to this as well, then?
Quite assuredly not, for the looks from fellow commuters would only inspire a Loki-like response. Presentation-wise, this is lively, with every page broken up with something as per the usual, whether it be the disembodied head of Loki saying Turds!, or a bigger spot illustration. It seldom hits the full cartoon approach of other similar books, but it has a strong (if very basic) visual identity, and it doesn't rely on changing font every slightest opportunity. All said and done, I don't know if saying 'I would appreciate more in this series' doesn't give the ending away somewhat, but the fact remains that on the basis of this successful opener, any further larks with this Loki would be quite enjoyable indeed – and ultimately moralistic with it.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
This author had previously charmed with The Dragon in the Library. If you did want the mythology, Mythology: An Illustrated Journey Into Our Imagined Worlds by Christopher Dell could well give you enough tip-offs as to who did what.
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