I really like the idea that gods wander among us doing godly things and generally causing problems. That was the central tenet of Douglas Adams’ The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, it was an integral part of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Anansi Boys, and I used a similar idea in Henchmen and Arise.
The one thing, though, that all of those books had in common was the gods were really just doing god stuff and were mostly unconcerned with human things. Today’s book, Twe12ve by Ceri Bladen, changes that dynamic somewhat. The story of Twe12ve revolves around two groups of Norse gods. Naturally, the groups are at odds with each other over a secret buried in Odin’s vault; one group wants to keep the secret safe (they’re the good guys) and the other wants to steal it and hand it off to pharma company, presumably so the pharma company can make sure it never gets out.
And that’s kind of an interesting twist on the god genre. While it’s never actually revealed what the pharma company has promised the bad guys in return for the secret, one can only assume it must be impressive to catch the attention of a bunch of Norse gods. The pharma company is a background element which, interestingly enough, renders it almost a godlike feel in and of itself. That right there would be worthy of some exploration; what does it take for a company to gain enough power to attract the interest of gods? Perhaps Ceri will explore that in a sequel. Twe12ve ends in a neatly tied bundle, so there’s no real reason for a sequel, but there’s still plenty of space to go exploring. I would imagine once a pharma company gains that kind of power, they’re not going to go quietly into the night.
If I had one problem with Twe12ve it’s that some of the mythology is a little off. I won’t worry about the names (Floki instead of Loki), because names can change and it’s entirely possible Loki just wanted to use a different name. He’s a god; he can do stuff like that without even bothering to fill out a change of name form.
The gods make plenty of references to wanting to go home. Unfortunately, they want to go back to Ragnarok. Ragnarok is an event, though, not a place; it’s the end times when the great battle will happen. Asgard is where the gods lived. The cool people got to hang in Valhalla – a large hall inside of Asgard.
Aside from that, Twe12ve was a fun read.