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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Taking the Blame by Louie Stowell

Review - Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Taking the Blame by Louie Stowell

Odin has given Loki another chance to prove himself worthy of Asgard. But earning everyone's trust is tricky, and when Thor's hammer goes missing, everyone blames Loki! Outrageous!

To clear his name he must:
1) Find Thor's beloved hammer
2) Uncover the real thief
3) Force everyone to admit they were wrong

An easy feat for someone as handsome and clever as Loki...

Another outstanding Loki book from author and illustrator, Louie Stowell. 

Loki is still trapped on Midgard (or Earth as we know it) in the body of a young boy, who just happens to be called Liam, like me. He's accompanied by his brother Thor, pretending to be his brother Thomas, and Heimdall and Hyrrokkin, pretending to be his parents. His best friend Valerie now knows his secret, and he still has his diary to update, the diary that keeps him right and awards him his virtue points. 

One of my favourite things about this book, and this series really, is the metatextuality of it all. This is a story that has a lot of fun playing with the idea of being a story and how it is being told. The diary is the main driver in this, and the way it comments on Loki's plans and corrects him when he goes wrong, and the way it snidely explains human concepts, is just brilliant. It's so funny, sharp and clever and really suits the irreverent style of Loki. 

The main storyline here is Thor's hammer going missing, which isn't actually anything to do with Loki. Firstly he's stuck taking the blame. Then he has to help retrieve it from the people who actually have it. There's a lot of witty commentary on Loki's past mistakes and some very good reasons why no one actually believes his innocence. I absolutely loved all of the references to actual Norse myths, mostly glossed over with a "That's a long story, I'll tell you later." I really hope this inspires lots of readers to pick up a retelling of the original myths (Neil Gaiman's is very good) and discover for themselves just how ridiculous, epic and fun a lot of the old stories actually are! Then Loki and friends have to get the hammer back, which leads to a brilliant series of plans, both good and bad, and a lot of exciting action.

There's more going on here though, and some of the side plottage is just fantastic. There are two new girls at school. First Loki tries to be nice to one of them, Sarah, and we see the repercussions of his lack of social graces. Then Valerie has a new friend, Gabrielle. They're both "horse-girls", which works really well, but it also leads Loki to learning about some new emotions, specifically jealousy. Watching his emotions waging a war within him is both funny and kinda sad, and it's a really good treatment of this difficult emotional state without ever losing the comic elements of this hilariously funny book. 

There's also a lot of comic relief to be found in Heimdall's attempts at parenting, with frequent reference to a variety of self-help books, but behind this is a serious message about family.

The art somehow perfectly matches the rather anarchic, chaotic style of the story.

Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Taking the Blame is chaotic, silly, clever and fun!


Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Taking the Blame by Louie Stowell is out now, published by Walker Books.


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