POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: Mythology

Book Review: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

Author: Joanne Harris
Title: The Gospel of Loki
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Saga (Simon and Schuster)
Number of Pages: 315
Narrator: Loki
Quality Rating: 84.5

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris

What’s It About?

Loki is born in Chaos, a murky underworld lacking form and substance. Curious about Asgard, the world of the gods above, he wanders from his home and runs into the Allfather–Odin. Forming a pack with the Allfather, Loki agrees to use his dark magic and cleverness for Odin’s cause in exchange for a home among the gods.

The other gods are not so taken with Loki. And, when Loki gets himself into a pinch from a bargain he makes with a contractor, the gods wish to put him to death. Thus begins a series of exploits Loki pulls off to cunningly get himself back into the good graces of the gods.

Eventually, Loki realizes that he’s never going to be truly accepted among the gods. So, instead, he sets out to destroy them. One by one, he begins to seek out weaknesses to exploit in the gods–playing them against one another to his own end. Nevertheless, as he becomes increasingly entangled in the world of the gods, he wonders whether his mischief is only going to end in his own demise.

Should You Read It?

If you are a fan of Norse mythology, you’ll love this book. The tales of Loki incorporate many well-known legends–amending them slightly with cynical and capricious slants. If you enjoy the kind of story where the archetypal villain is cast as the victim, you’ll also enjoy this story. The narrative is written in a sarcastic and whimsical manner, so if you enjoy that sort of tone, you’ll be intrigued by Loki’s account. If these criteria sound appealing to you, you may want to give this book a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: The Guardian, The Independent, Kirkus Reviews, SFF World

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Joanne Harris: Runelight (2011), The French Maket (2005), Chocolat (1999), many others

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Book Review: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen

Author: Sara Gruen
Title: At the Water’s Edge
Genre: Literary; Historical
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (Random House)
Number of Pages: 368
Narrator: Maddie Hyde (Pennypacker)
Quality Rating: 76.94

At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

What’s It About?

As the second World War wages in the world around her, Maddie spends much of her time hanging around with her husband Ellis and his best friend Hank–who have avoided service for medical reasons. When they get a little carried away and make a scene at a high society New Year’s Eve party, Ellis’s father cuts him off from the family fortune. To get back at his dad, he and Hank drag Maddie to Ireland in search of the fabled Lochness Monster. Years ago, Ellis’s father achieved infamy by faking a siting of the beast, and Ellis intends to show him up by capturing footage of the real thing.

Once thy arrive at their destination, a small hotel in a rural area near the Loch, Ellis and Hank begin searching for Nessie and visiting people who have seen the beast–often leaving Maddie by herself at the hotel. As Maddie spends more and more time with the hotel staff, she grows increasingly fond of them–to the disappointment of Ellis, who insists that they are beneath her class.

When he returns from his expeditions, Ellis is always drunk and proceeds to cruelly insult Maddie in a variety of ways. His mistreatment of Maddie leads to many confrontations with the hotel staff, including disagreements with a man who has become specially interested in Maddie. As the story unfolds, secrets come to light about Ellis’s true character, why he isn’t serving in the war, and what he really thinks of his wife. All of this latent tension leads to a dramatic to conclusion in which the monster is revealed–although perhaps not the one they were looking for.

Should You Read It?

If you like the sort of story that centers around a woman’s struggle to escape a bad marriage, this will be right up your alley. Also central to the story is the theme of social expectations and the class divisions they create. Although the novel is set in Europe at the height of World War 2, the war is a minor theme. The rich depictions of Ireland and its people are emphasized more than the time period. Also, be advised that this isn’t really about a search for the Lochness monster–that point is merely a vehicle for the development of the deep relationship conflict that fills the pages.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, NPR Interview

Book Reviews: Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews, Chicago Tribune, That’s What She Read

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Sara Gruen: Ape House (2010), Water for Elephants (2006), Flying Changes (2005)

Book Review: Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

Author: Krassi Zourkova
Title: Wildalone
Genre: Fantasy; Paranormal; Romance
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Thea Slavin
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 43 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.26%.

Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

What’s It About?

Thea Slavin is a musical prodigy who has come from her home in Bulgaria to study at Princeton University in America. Soon after she arrives, she develops a relationship with a man who seems helplessly attracted to her. She is drawn to him as well, but she knows that he is harboring a secret that could tear them apart.

Years ago, Thea’s older sister had been a student at Princeton. She had mysteriously died, and her body had been stolen–and never recovered. As Thea researches the circumstances of her sister’s death and disappearance, she discovers that her sister may have been involved in the secret practices of a Dionysian cult.

Within the family history of the Slavins is a legend about wildalones–mythological women who imprison men to their wills. As Thea finds out more about her sister and this strange yet irresistible new man to whom she is drawn, she begins to believe the myths may hold more truth than superstition. The question is–will she be able to handle the truth about her lost sister and her new lover when it is finally revealed to her?

Should You Read It?

The comparisons on the cover jacket to The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and Twilight are fitting. The story is like The Secret History in that it’s heavily couched in Greek mythology–particularly that involving sex and debauchery. It’s like Jane Eyre in that Thea’s lover does have a “secret wife” of sorts “hidden in the attic.” Finally, it’s like the Twilight saga not only in that it involves a supernatural love triangle but also in that it consists of the erotically tense interplay between a dominant male and a submissive, albeit stubborn, female. Although the plot would certainly fall under the umbrella of a paranormal romance, the poetic nature of the writing style could qualify the book as a literary work. References to the supernatural are subtle–laced with mystery and ambiguity. The erotic intensity, however, fills the pages from start to finish. So, if you enjoy paranormal romance but also are drawn to something a little more high brow, I’d definitely recommend Wildalone.

Links and References

Author Information: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Dark Matter Zine, Urban Fantasy Magazine

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Krassi Zourkova: Wildalone is Krassi Zourkova’s debut novel.