Mike Vasich,
Loki: Nine Naughty Tales of the Trickster
(CreateSpace, 2012)

"Based on the classic tales, Mike Vasich breathes new life into the most complex god in the Norse mythos." That's what we're told on the back cover of Loki: Nine Naughty Tales of the Trickster, a slim, self-published book that, frankly, doesn't live up to the claim.

The stories here are told in a fairly juvenile manner, earning the "naughty" portion of the title mostly because Vasich apparently has the sexual maturity of a junior high school student. He tosses sex into the stories in ways that do nothing to further the plot; they're just there because he apparently likes to talk about sex. There's nothing sexy or titillating about the scenes, either, even when dealing with goddesses.

Vasich also has a limited grasp of continuity. In one passage, he has Thor riding Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse; two chapters later, Sleipnir is born. Similarly, we met Hel, the goddess of the underworld, before Loki fathers her on a giantess. It's a mess -- just try figuring out the timelines involving the Fenris wolf, Tyr's severed hand, Balder's death and the last battle of the gods at Ragnarok. Stories begin midstream, and Vasich goes out of his way to avoid any kind of character development. His treatment of all the gods, giants and monsters is superficial at best.

The final chapters, which blend Loki's story in with the growth of Christianity, might almost have gotten points for cleverness if Vasich had spent even a page or two developing the characters and plot involved in the story. As it is, it reads like a would-be author who had an intriguing thought but couldn't be bothered to put any time into expanding it.

This book was a disappointment.

book review by
Tom Knapp

15 April 2017

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