Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

The problem with writing a book about one of the most popular characters in the MCU is that every Loki fan goes into the story with high expectations of how they want their boy to be written. As a fan of the Norse version, the Marvel comics version, and the MCU version, I had perhaps more material than the average reader to compare this iteration of Loki to, and it ended up being a detriment to my overall enjoyment of the book.

At the end of the day, I was left wondering “Who is this Loki?” and “Does he fit into any of the existing universes?” The inclusion of Amora and Thor’s romance with Sif is from comic universe 616. Loki’s predilection for black nails and being goth is straight from the Agent of Asgard series. The idea that Loki doesn’t know he’s a frost giant, that his mom taught him most of his magic, and that he has an interest in starting theatrical programmes and building monuments to himself is all from MCU. Loki’s Norse origins are mentioned as a meta-bending plot device that leads Loki down his path of embracing his dark, trickster side.

Overall, this Loki is the invention of Mackenzi Lee. It’s totally acceptable and understandable that as an author she wanted to put her own spin on the story, but when Marvel promotes the novel as a prequel to the Loki story we all know and love, the liberties she takes become troublesome. Take, for instance, Loki and Thor’s timeline. In the comics, they are several thousand-year-old gods. In the movies they are about 1000 year old aliens. There is a scene in the beginning of Thor that shows the brothers as young children in 1100 AD. In the book, Lee has the Odinson brothers being barely adults in the 1880s. This doesn’t add up to Marvel continuity at all, so why does she get the Marvel brand behind her? And the frustrating thing, is how hard would it have been for her to do a simple bit of research to find out how old the brothers are supposed to be? It’s what writers are supposed to do. It’s what editors are supposed to fix. But nope, instead we get lack of continuity that pulled me out of the story.

There were descriptions of London that were also incorrect and could have used an editor to fix. The British Museum’s layout was incorrect. I did just a simple google search and found exactly what the museum layout would have been in Victorian England, yet Lee couldn’t be arsed to do the same?

There are other points of contention in the book for me. For instance, the many juvenile tropes that make me cringe when reading Thor fanfiction rear their ugly heads here as well. We have Thor being a dumb blond jock, and we’re left pondering why Odin would want to leave his kingdom in Thor’s inept hands. Then there is Lee’s depiction of Odin as the most horrible father in all of Asgard, who is so determined to hate Loki, he purposely assigns blame to him even when he hasn’t done anything wrong. With so much fear and animosity emanating from Odin, one wonders why he adopted Loki to begin with. Loki is also a physical weakling, and his magic skills aren’t much better. This is laughable, when in both comics and movie verse he is one of the most formidable enemies ever, thanks to his physical, mental, and magical prowess.

So what did I actually like about the book? Lee’s writing flowed well, and I enjoyed her word choices. So many young adult books cater to low readers and aren’t very intellectually stimulating. Lee interspersed her novel with challenging words. Loki’s sarcasm and wit were spot on, and Thor and Loki’s brotherly relationship was hilarious and rang true. Amora was deliciously manipulative, like in the comics, and I loved to hate her. Once again, I would have enjoyed this book so much more if the Marvel label hadn’t been attached to it. With the Marvel label I expected series continuity, and it just wasn’t there.

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