“Perhaps the future was only inevitable once you began to shape all your actions to fit it”
I absolutely loved this book, though if you know anything about me at all, that shouldn’t be too surprising. Loki is my all time favorite Marvel character. I have candles, bookmarks, art prints, and even a tattoo all dedicated to him. I’ll most likely die bitter about how Marvel handled his character in Infinity War and Endgame, and I’m eagerly awaiting the Loki TV show that will be released on Disney+ in 2021. So, when it was announced that I was going to get a book dedicated to him, and set in Victorian England to boot, I was absolutely over the moon! I loved Mackenzi Lee’s Gentleman’s Guide so I knew I could trust the author, and man, she didn’t let me down.
Loki: Where Mischief Lies follows Loki as he deals with Odin trying to decide who he will name the heir to the throne of Asgard. He befriends one of the only other sorceresses on the planet and they cause trouble until eventually she gets banished. Years later he’s sent to Earth by Odin to investigate a string of magical murders occurring in London. More magical antics ensue and not without a healthy dose of villainous identity crisis from our favorite trickster. But let’s break it all down, shall we?
Like I mentioned before, I was already familiar with Lee’s writing and therefore was fairly confident going into this book that I would enjoy it. The book had such a fun tone that I loved reading and had me smiling the whole time. That said, it did feel like the book was definitely targeted to younger audiences. It felt borderline like a middle grade book rather than a YA book. Still, this didn’t bother me as much as I expected. Maybe I was just excited to be reading Loki content, but I still enjoyed this book immensely. Perhaps the biggest issue I noticed was how much Norse mythology is referenced offhandedly. As someone who’s pretty familiar with it thanks to my Loki obsession, it wasn’t an issue. However if you’re a casual fan I could see it getting confusing at points.
Loki is obviously the main character of this book, as his name is in the title. And while I was apprehensive, as anyone is when a new author starts writing for your favorite character, Mackenzi Lee wrote him perfectly. He’s the sassy but troubled character I fell in love with, and experiences just the right amount of self discovery and character growth. His snarkiness and underlying insecurities were written so well. Loki in this book was everything he should have been in the final Avengers movies, so a personal thank you from me to Mackenzi Lee.
Amora was probably the weakest character for me. She started out very unlikable, and while she does grow into a more enjoyable character, I found the end of her arc to be predictable and a little dissatisfying. Theo on the other hand was an absolute delight and I would die for him. He’s a precious cinnamon roll of a character that guides Loki around Midgard when he arrives, and is just such a sweet and kind character that it’s impossible to not immediately fall in love.
Unfortunately, the side characters do fall a little short as is often the case in standalone novels. With the book being just over 400 pages, there’s not a lot of time to focus on developing any characters beyond the main ones. While our side characters weren’t the deepest, they definitely were still enjoyable to read about.
In the past reviews I’ve written there hasn’t been a whole section for the rep in the book, but this time I felt like there definitely needed to be one. Loki is portrayed as genderfluid and pansexual (as he often is in the comics) and done so masterfully. Lee provides an open and natural conversation about genderfluidity between Loki and Theo. It normalized queerness in a way that I haven’t seen in many books I’ve read and was amazing to read. Homophobia is also touched on, as the book set in Victorian England when being gay was still a criminal offense. Overall, it was such an unexpectedly refreshing book when it comes to LGBTQIA+ representation.
If I’m being completely honest, the plot was a little on the simpler side. I attribute this once again to the fact that it felt like this book was geared more towards younger YA audiences. It was definitely a bit predictable, and to me the mystery wasn’t ever that much of a mystery. Still, it wasn’t ever boring either. I may have been able to anticipate every major event, but I enjoyed reading about them nonetheless. In my eyes, this was meant to serve as a deeper insight into Loki as a character and that’s exactly what it did. The book probably could have benefited from an elaborate plot, but I think making it more character driven was the right choice and was executed well.
What I really loved though, was all the nods to MCU Loki. If you’re a Marvel fan, you’ll definitely pick up on all of the subtle references to things from the movies. The two that spring to mind immediately were about S.H.I.E.L.D. and Loki’s helmet, but I know there were definitely more and probably even some that I missed.
*minor spoilers in this section*
This book gave us a m/m romance AND a f/m romance and honestly both were incredible. Theo and Loki were definitely my favorite of the two romances, simply because I liked Theo’s character more than I liked Amora (who was Loki’s other lover). For me, “Love V” situations are usually a huge turn off, but I felt like this one was handled fairly well. It created a lot of internal turmoil for Loki, rather than external tension which is usually how authors handle it. Either way, it all led up to a truly heart wrenching ending. I’m not going to say more so this can remain mostly spoiler free, but just know that I loved it.
All in all I definitely recommend Loki: Where Mischief Lies to any fans of Loki or Marvel in general. I definitely felt super warm and fuzzy as I devoured this quick yet fun read. Also, Mackenzi Lee will be writing two more books about Marvel characters with untapped potential. There’s no word on when they’re coming out but you should definitely read this book to prepare for them. Obviously I’ll probably write a blog post once I know more, and inevitably write a review when they come out. Until then I’ll be over here pretending that MCU Loki is happy and healthy somewhere.