Loki is one of my favorite characters in the Marvel comicverse and I absolutely love him and his portrayal in the MCU. Which is why I was super excited to see that Mackenzi Lee was writing a Loki book. I personally enjoyed her previous novels, and I was excited to see what she would do with the character of Loki and his story. I got an eARC of this and I was super excited to jump in. I think that I went into this with certain expectations because of my own preconceived notions of Loki as a character, and those ideas weren’t really reflected in this novel, which is why I did not enjoy it as much as I was hoping to. But it was still an interesting read.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies follows Loki in his younger years, before he became the character we now know and we follow him as he is sent to Earth in the 1800s as a punishment from Odin and as a chance for him to prove himself.
I enjoyed Loki’s characterization, to a certain extent. I think the way he presents to the world was really well-done – as this cold person who doesn’t care about anything. I also think Lee nailed his wit and the banter in this book was really well-written. I loved the way Lee wrote his relationship with Thor, which is frustrating for both of them, but loving in their own way. And I really enjoyed the way Thor was written, as this brutish, self-assured and dumb-but-in-a-cute-way golden boy. I think his characterization is in line with how Loki sees him, so I think that was really well done.
I also think Loki’s battle with what is right or wrong, or what is right for him was really well done as well. I feel like his desperate need to impress Odin was portrayed really well, and I love that a lot of his actions, although questionable, were done in order for him to be as appreciated and as revered as Thor is. And the feeling of being cast out because of his magic was also something that I think was written well and added depth to Loki’s character. I feel like the motivation for him was always this need to be accepted and recognized and admired for his power, so I loved seeing that in Lee’s version of him as well.
And bonus points for making Loki attracted to both Amora and Theo in this one and him stating that he exists as both a man and a woman at the same time. But we don’t see a lot of that aspect of him. He also is obsessed with high-heeled boots, so there’s that.
Loki meets up on Earth with the first people who made up SHIELD and that was a fun little nugget of the story. Mrs S., Theo and Gem are the secret SHARP organization that handles “aliens” from other worlds. Theo is an interesting character and I really liked what we saw of him, but there wasn’t enough of that for me to grow attached.
My biggest grievance with this is the pacing – it did not work for this book, and I feel like this is an issue with all of Mackenzi Lee’s books. The characters usually make up for that (or they did in Gentleman’s Guide) but here the side-characters weren’t developed enough to make me overlook the poor pacing.
The first half of this book is set in Asgard and I did enjoy the setting and the dynamics between Loki and his family that were explored in it, but the fact remains that the main plot point wasn’t introduced until the 50 percent mark. Which means that the story dragged in the first half. And from there, things happened to quickly and weren’t given the proper time that was needed there. Loki’s relationship with Theo was supposed to be something we care about, but we were more told about it than we were shown how it progresses, which was frustrating. And the plot of this is feeble and predictable, which is again something I find true in all of Lee’s novels.
Moreover, I don’t think Loki had a lot of agency in this, until the very end. I wish this book was more about him making the choices himself, rather than being pushed by Amora. I felt like a lot of the sort of self-serving, “evil” choices that he made were because of her and I just wish we saw more of his own inner conflict and I wish he had more agency in his own story. While I get that this was supposed to be the origin story of why Loki is the way he is, but I wish it wasn’t so reliant on another character. And then the switch from her making choices for him to him taking control was too abrupt and did not feel organic. But I did like the ending in itself and I think it ties well into who Loki becomes, I just wish it was more firmly based in the narrative of the book itself.
This was enjoyable, but nothing spectacular. While I enjoyed some aspects of it, there were some that left things to be desired. I don’t think that this is a bad book by any means, and I think it’s a fun read, and I would still recommend it, as long as you don’t go into it with high expectations like I did.
I’d love to hear from you – are you a fan of Marvel and Loki in general? Are you excited for this book? Do you plan to read it or have any thoughts on it? Let me know!
*I received a review copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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