The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove – Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings Reviews James Lovegrove’s The Age of Odin, the third and final book in the Pantheon Trilogy, published by Solaris Books.
“Lovegrove at his best. This man just keeps getting better and better with every book that I read. If there’s a novel written by James Lovegrove, buy it.” ~The Founding Fields
Well, The Age of Odin certainly is a fantastic book. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say as it’s the best book out of the Pantheon Trilogy that I’ve read so far, and I loved The Age of Zeus and enjoyed The Age of Ra. But, I must say that Lovegrove has outdone himself here. Like its namesake would suggest, The Age of Odin focuses around Odin, and the Norse Gods, and, holding true to the previous books, the Norse Gods are alive and kicking. Loki, Thor and Odin, the All-father himself; they all appear in this novel. And not all of them make it out alive. You see, that’s the thing about Lovegrove’s works. You never do want to get attached to a particular character.
The Norse Pantheon in itself is depicted in a way that I don’t think anyone’s seen before, and Lovegrove agrees with me. “They’re humane, brutal, funny, dysfunctional, even mad,” says the author on his website. Also, if you think The Age of Odin is going to be a similar novel to The Age of Ra and The Age of Zeus, where the respective pantheons were portrayed as the bad guys, think again – as Lovegrove manages to prove that he can keep each novel fresh and interesting.
The Norse Pantheon are the forces of good. However, it’s one of their own who’s turned evil, and in this novel – the Norse Gods are up against the first female President of the USA, who is stirring up trouble around Earth and is either loved or hated by its inhabitants.
The Age of Odin follows Gideon Coxall, who is suffering from several problems including mounting child support bills and a lack of friends, a new employer comes along, offering recruitment to ex-soldiers like Gid.
But when Gideon learns that his employer is actually Odin himself, things start to change, and now – Gid’s life is changed completely.
As much as I enjoyed The Age of Odin though, it does have its flaws. Although Lovegrove manages to create an entertaining main character in Gid, he throws away perhaps one too many jokes and references to pop culture. Within the first chapter alone you’ll see a Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear, BBC 2) reference, and by the end of the novel, you’ll start to get bored of them.
But don’t let that put you off; for The Age of Odin is well worth the read. Indeed, I saw a review a long time ago (In a galaxy far far away: P.), where the reviewer mentioned that The Age of Odin was very much like a book equivalent of the Transformers movies. In other words, a large amount of action, although you’re not going to remember much in the story a few days later.
A thing that lowers the tension in The Age of Odin would be perhaps that Lovegrove tends to stick to how the way things played out in the myths. Whilst you can tell he’s done his research, if you know what he’s on about though, you know pretty much what happens to the majority of the characters, the Norse Pantheon in particular. And also, with a problem that was shared with the other two books, it always seems to be written along the lines of, ‘Monster turns up, kill the monster,’ in various different situations. Although it’s not as repetitive as The Age of Zeus, it is there.
Although, all that said, you will probably enjoy The Age of Odin, hopefully as much as I did, especially if you’re a fan of military science fiction, as the action is very well written indeed.
Characters is also where Lovegrove shines, and I don’t think I’ve read a single novel by him where I haven’t failed to enjoy the characters. Sure, Gideon may be a bit too flawed, but apart from that – he is enjoyable.
More Pantheon Trilogy: The Age of Ra, The Age of Zeus, The Age of Odin