Book Review: Loki’s Ring by Stina Leicht

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Loki’s Ring by Stina Leicht

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Saga Press | Simon & Schuster Audio (March 28, 2023)

Length: 512 pages | 12 hrs and 28 mins

Author Information: Website

So happy to finally read a book by Stina Leicht, though I have to say, Loki’s Ring was not at all what I expected. The publisher description oversells the action and thrills somewhat, when the reality is a more subdued and meandering space drama, but I still enjoyed the concept very much.

The story follows Gita Chithra, the captain of the intergalactic search and rescue ship The Tempest. Things kick off with a distress signal received from Ri, the AI who is like a daughter to Gita, since in the world of this far-flung future, artificial intelligences are developed inside the minds of actual humans. Needless to say, Ri has a very close relationship with Gita, and now she needs help from The Tempest. Ri has become trapped in Loki’s Ring, an alien constructed solar system that has been infected with a contagion.

Dropping everything, Gita rushes to the rescue, only to find the situation is a lot worse than she imagined. Everything around Loki’s Ring is a dead zone, killed by the mysterious infection. The starship Ri had sent her distress call from is now a floating coffin in space full of the corpses of its former crew, and now Gita and The Tempest are trapped and headed for the same predicament unless they can find a way out of this mess.

Leicht wastes no time diving right in, and in a way that is a double-edged sword. While I appreciated that we got into the story with little preamble, some leadup would have given readers a chance to get to know Gita a bit better before the action got started. There is also the interesting premise of how AI is developed, though the relationship between Gita and Ri is somewhat glossed over and not explored to its full potential. Gita’s motherly affections are clear from the way she rushes off without a second thought to Ri’s aid, but what does having an AI daughter, fostered in such a way, truly mean? We’ve been presented with some truly innovative ideas, but now I just want to know what sets this unique parent-child dynamic apart and what makes it special?

Something about the pacing also felt…off. Despite things getting off to a running start, the rest of the book had many stops and stalls. Even with the disaster going on, the story went nowhere fast, and I believe too many character POVs played a part in this. At times the writing felt bogged down with overly long conversations that added little to the story, and transitions between the different perspectives didn’t always happen smoothly. The result was a disjointed narrative that sometimes seemed a bit out of control.

All told, I can’t say Loki’s Ring was the action-packed space opera that I thought I’d signed up for, but that said, it had its moments. Fans of more cerebral sci-fi may find many of the novel’s futuristic elements appealing, especially its themes related to the inception of AI and those delving the meaning of individuality or what it means to be human. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and if I’m to be honest, I don’t know that it’s mine either. However, I enjoyed contemplating the novel’s deeper questions and the big picture of its overall story.

13 Comments on “Book Review: Loki’s Ring by Stina Leicht”

  1. Balancing story and background information can indeed be a tricky business, and in this case it seem to have worked only partially – still, the premise is an intriguing one and this is an author I never read so… maybe, someday….
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


  2. Yes… it’s a challenging genre to write and I appreciate the lack of info-dumping, but authors need to bear in mind that readers have to fully bond with a character before they go hurtling into the action – otherwise why should we care?? I’ve hit that issue with Frontier, recently…


  3. Pingback: Bookshelf Roundup 04/02/23: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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