Book Review | Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame (ARC)

I received a digital advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame by Louie Stowell. Since this version is just a proof and not the final version, I won’t quote directly and will keep my comments general.

Who needs Marvel movies when you have wacky middle grade novels about Norse gods? (I still like Marvel movies, don’t worry. This is just fun.)

In Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame, we encounter the god of mischief once again. He’s still on earth in the form of a middle school boy, Thor is still posing as his twin brother, and he is still being monitored by Odin’s magical diary to ensure that he learns how to be a good person. This time, his new best friend Valerie seems to have befriended someone new, which Loki cannot approve of. He is determined to keep Valerie to himself. However, when Thor’s hammer goes missing, Loki decides to not only exonerate himself, but to prove who stole it—perhaps Valerie’s new friend?

As with the first book in this series, the premise is so fun and clever, and the illustrations are hilarious. Visual learners will love this, as will those reluctant readers not ready for longer middle grade books. I love the narrative tone; it’s conversational and irreverent, constantly breaking the fourth wall and generally being kind of goofy.

I also enjoy watching Loki’s continued character development. He starts off in a slightly better place than in the first book, but still has a lot to learn. He’s still quite self-centered and self-aggrandizing, but at this point it’s a little more endearing than obnoxious. Especially since we can see that, even if he won’t admit it fully, he does care about other people.

Thor, Valerie, and the other returning characters are also great. And the new character Georgina is also lots of fun. I liked seeing Loki learn more about how friendship works, through dealing with her arrival.

There’s some fun action in this one too, as with the previous in the series. The frost giants Loki and his friends face are menacing, but also kind of silly. It’s a good mix. And in the end, the second Loki book is just so fun. A very light read, but with such heart behind it. If you’ve got a kid transitioning from graphic novels to less-illustrated books (especially one who would like Rick Riordan’s work but isn’t quite ready to tackle those longer books), these would be perfect for them!

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Taking the Blame will be published on May 9th, 2023!

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