Everyone is talking about Loki, and with season one coming to a close, we’re going to need something to tide us over until season two. Luckily, there are plenty of books out there featuring tricksters, magic, time travel and Loki himself. Here are the top five things you should read while you wait!
Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology
“That was the thing about Loki. You resented him even when you were at your most grateful, and you were grateful to him even when you hated him the most”.
As fans of American Gods know, Neil Gaiman is a master of mythology. In Norse Mythology, he retells some excellent stories of the Norse pantheon, making them approachable and engaging for a modern reader. There’s the conniving and powerful Odin and the strong and honorable Thor. And then, of course, there’s Loki. Shrewd and tricky, he does battle with his father and brother, manipulating them and the other gods to achieve his goals.
Gaiman gives these stories an arc beginning with the creation of the nine realms and culminating with Ragnarok, the final destiny of the gods. He gives readers a look at things that don’t come up in the MCU, such as Loki’s many children, including Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse ridden by Odin and Jörmungandr, the snake surrounding the world. Norse Mythology is a great place to start if you want to learn about the myths that inspired everyone’s favorite trickster god.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
“He could be the witch. He could be the villain. He could be the trickster, the schemer, the self-serving God of Chaos, prove the mythology books right. Prove them all right in what they had all thought, that he was rotten from the start. He would serve no man but himself, no heart but his own. That would be his choice. He could be the witch. Be the witch, and know everything.”
This is Mackenzi Lee’s take on Marvel’s Loki in his younger days on Asgard. Before facing off against the Avengers or the TVA, he was a young prince desperate to prove himself capable of greatness, while those around him believe he will end up a villain. This unites him with Amora, a sorceress in training; however, the destruction of a prized artifact results in Amora’s banishment to Earth, where she will slowly lose her powers. With his only ally gone, Loki falls into despair and must determine if there’s anyone left he can trust.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies brings a fresh perspective to a character (and god!) that so many people know while embracing many of the old myths. There is great banter between Loki and Thor and heartbreaking exchanges between Loki and Odin, and fans of the show will enjoy another version of this beloved character.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
“The paper called Eli a hero.
The word made Victor laugh. Not just because it was absurd, but because it posed a question. If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?”
In school, Victor and Eli were two brilliant, arrogant and lonely boys who came together through a shared interest in near-death experiences and supernatural events. When an experiment goes tragically wrong, Victor ends up in jail and Eli sets out to eradicate every super-powered person he can find. When Victor breaks out, it’s a race to the death to see who will take out the other first.
Vicious is all about the ambitions, betrayals and jealousies of people who are far too clever for their own good. Every character has a dark side behind their calm and collected exterior; rather than the story of a villain and a hero the book disguises itself as, it’s about morally grey people deciding just how far they’ll go to get what they want. It’s also just really, really good, and one of my favorite books by V.E. Schwab.
The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
I haven’t read The Councillor yet, but this tweet moved it right to the top of my TBR:
When Queen Sarelin Brey dies, her close friend and palace scholar Lysande Prior is appointed Councilor. In her new role, she must choose the new queen while seeking out the previous queen’s killer, all while hiding her growing interest in power.
This sounds like a smartly crafted political and fantastical debut with conspiracy, assassinations, magic and intrigue, and I can’t wait to read it.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
When linguistics and language professor Melisande Stokes meets military intelligence officer Tristan Lyons, he recruits her to join a shadowy government operation. Together, the two translate documents that prove magic once existed, but stopped working in 1951. Now it’s up to them and the Department of Diachronic Operations to figure out why by going back in time
Like Loki, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. features magic, time travel, trickster witches and a shadowy organization. The bureaucratic red tape and excessive acronyms remind me a lot of the TVA; D.O.D.O. itself is the perfect setting for intrigue, corporate espionage, backstabbing and sucking up to the higher-ups. Characters establish themselves in specific points of time for strategic advantage, and overall, D.O.D.O. is a fun, fast-paced adventure.
There you have it! Five books featuring magic, time travel and plenty of Lokis to keep you busy while you wait for season two. Let us know if you have more suggestions, and enjoy!
This article was originally published on 7/14/21.