Review Detail

Narcissism vs. Virtue
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The narrative has a light-hearted tone as Loki serves his punishment as a human, teenage boy on Earth. It’s based on Norse mythology but it feels very different from other books on the same topic. Loki still talks of causing mischief but he’s not able to use most of his powers. His guardians want him to practice casting magic spells from a book but he gets frustrated when they aren’t immediately successful. Loki only wants to be idolized by everyone else so he feels especially slighted when others show Thor any amount of positive attention. The story is told through Loki’s eyes so readers experience the “unfair” events from his slanted point of view.
The humorous tale is enhanced through illustrations and it’s written as a magical diary. The book itself acts as another character as it tends to point out and correct Loki’s lies. The two characters banter back and forth and the book's increasing distress alerts readers that Loki’s decisions are making matters worse. There are also pages where Loki provides amusing definitions of familiar objects, places, and activities such as cruises, food banks, and field trips (where permission slips mean teachers won’t be responsible if any students die). The author incorporates many different fonts and special effects to differentiate speakers and modes of communication. Interestingly, Loki’s conscience uses the smallest, lightest shade of font.
Loki strives (kind of) to prove his goodness throughout the plot but the story takes a turn when he finds the cursed ring. It feeds on Loki’s vanity and anger and encourages him to take the greatness he deserves. The ring mentally speaks to him and the author uses a different font and graphics to identify when this is happening. Two human girls are aware that Loki is a god and one of them is his best friend. She realizes something is happening to him and tries to talk him out of bad choices. This creates a conflict between the ring and everyone else but the real problem is within Loki’s mind. It’s a struggle between his desire to be admired and his desire to prove his virtue.
What didn’t work as well:
Loki is self-centered and a narcissist but his behavior and comments become redundant over time. The author very effectively describes how readers are supposed to view him but even his positive moments are diluted by self-absorbed statements. There’s little relief from his attitude since the book is a diary sharing all of Loki’s thoughts. However, the author provides enough optimistic incidents that readers will root for Loki to become a better person and receive support and recognition from the other characters.
The final verdict:
The book probably won’t appeal to everyone but it’s a fresh, hilarious version of Norse gods. Everything in the book revolves around Loki’s half-hearted desire to prove his virtuousness and the difficulty he has in changing the way he’s always acted. Overall, Loki’s vulnerable character will grab young readers and I recommend you give this book a shot.
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