Review of 'Loki: A Bad God's Guide To Ruling The World' - Louie Stowell
I have to confess a number of things before starting this review.
I LOVE this series, but until this one I've only ever listened to the audiobooks
My 7yo is completely obsessed with the books - unlike me, he's actually read all of them instead of just listening to them
When I was reading the book to him, I 'may' have attempted my best Ben Willbond impression for the voices
My main reason for requesting to review it was because said 7yo was too excited to wait another month to read it (My original plan was to review it once it was published)
So... I may have gone into this pre-disposed to liking it.
This series is the one that convinced my son that reading could be fun, so it's fair to say that we have been eagerly anticipating the third instalment (we've pre-ordered a signed copy). Actually, this completely downplays the level of anticipation. I don't think a month has gone by since Book 2 was published that he hasn't asked when Book 3 was coming. The bar was set high.
Like every good children's book, this one can be appreciated by children and adults alike. The 7yo loves the comedy and the cartoons (and Loki obviously) but I appreciated it on a completely different level. I like the little Lord of the Rings references and I can't believe it's taken me until Book 3 to recognise the play on words with Valerie Kerry's name (in my defence this was the first time I'd seen it written down!). However, it was towards the end of the book that I suddenly realised quite how awesome these books are. I think it was because it was the first time I'd seen the drawings and they really do add another dimension to the story (the audiobooks are amazing, but I would definitely recommend listening to them and following along with a physical copy as well). For me, I suddenly stopped seeing Loki as a god and instead, he became an unhappy little boy, desperate to be liked and that shift made my heart contract. For the first time, I wanted to just reach out and give him a hug. As a teacher I've come across so many children like that and they broke my heart every time. In that moment, Loki was no exception. No longer an entertaining but annoying God, he became a lost little boy in need of a cuddle. That a children's book can make me feel that emotional is a real testament to the quality of the writing.
These books are my 'go to' for recommendations for friends' children and we have reading copies (which have been sellotaped back together), the audiobooks and signed copies to keep on the shelf, so it's fair to say we're both big fans of them (and of the author - her other books are also SUPERB). However, even if this had been our introduction to the series I genuinely think we would have loved it just as much. I have no doubt that we'll be getting multiple copies of this one as well!!
Thank you to NetGalley and Walker Books for the ARC.