The Gospel of Loki – Joanne Harris

Harris has moved a long way from Chocolat with its magic so subtle that you aren’t sure whether its true magic or supersticion to pure myth.

Loki has a tale to tell of how Asgard went from his perspective, and how his choices were constrained. His sharp dialogue and explanations are interwoven with prophecy, lessons and foreshadowing, along with the knowledge anyone who knows Norse mythology has of how this all must end. But the ride with Loki can’t fail to be thrilling as it is tragic.

┬áBasically don’t trust anyone

Harris turns this epic world into a real place, with characters and relationships. The animosity of our first person narrator towards all others paints a different light on the more traditionally heroic figures.

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The Forests of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Forests of Avalon´╗┐ is part of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series, of which the most famous is The Mists of Avalon. I had read Mists before Forests, and they both work as stand-alone novels. This series is based in the time of legend: Forests describes how the priestesses of Great Britain handled the power balance with the male Druids under the Roman empire.

The plot has strong links to modern-day feminist issues, combined with rivalry and betrayal. The main plot line remains throughout one of a forbidden love, and the impact this has on the lives of all characters as the lovers try to avoid damaging the institutions to which they are loyal.

The start to this book is a little slow, but it is a strong story with well written characters whose dilemmas and bitterness are very realistic.