Cover Image: Loki's Ring

Loki's Ring

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this one but almost right from the start it was way over my head. I don‘t know what it was but I was struggling to even understand what‘s going on to the point that I had to dnf because I‘m apparently dumb lol
I‘m sorry

Was this review helpful?

Loki's Ring, a remarkable and intricate sci-fi novel, delves into the profound themes of life, duty, commitment, and the convergence of alien technology with maternal responsibilities. Amidst the intricate web of political and militant entities lies the discovery of a potentially lethal virus in a restricted alien space, coveted by multiple factions.

The narrative unfolds with vivid descriptions and imaginative exploration. Gita, our central character, emerges as a profoundly empathetic and caring individual. Readers will resonate with her relentless pursuit to rescue her daughter and companions, showcasing her unwavering commitment to preserving lives. Notably, Gita's empathy extends beyond humanity to the cohabiting AI entities, adding a layer of complexity to the novel's world.

While the story is compelling and adventurous, a lingering sense of manipulation surrounds Gita's character, a pawn chosen for her empathetic nature. Her altruistic endeavors unwittingly lead to peril for herself, her crew, and those who come to her aid. The irony lies in her AI daughter's intentional objective to deliver the virus to the very person who dispatched her into the depths of Loki's Ring.

Although the world-building captivates, the storyline and character progression leave something to be desired. A pervasive feeling of disappointment arises, as the narrative falls short of expectations. Despite the letdown, Loki's Ring remains an entertaining exploration of a captivating and diverse universe.

Was this review helpful?

A fun and fast-paced adventure with a fascinating array of characters and a refreshing take on the notion of personhood and artificial intelligence that is reminiscent of Martha Wells and Becky Chambers. Personally, I found the banter between the characters a bit much at times as it often coincided with genuinely upsetting or tense moments and could feel a little deflating, but your mileage will definitely vary depending on how you feel about rapid-fire, quirky dialogue.

Was this review helpful?

I think this author is now an autobuy and auto read for me. They absolutely kill it in the science fiction category.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a great book! I loved the cast of characters and the interactions between Gita and her friends/family was great! The exploration of AI and its personalities was fun. I highly recommend this one!

Was this review helpful?

Of the 500 odd pages, plot only happens in the last 150. Leicht has way of writing interesting worlds which is what kept me hooked, but this book was very cliche with no real stakes or connection to the many POV characters.

Was this review helpful?

A great addition to any sci-fi fan's library. Very tense and fast moving. I really enjoyed this read.

Was this review helpful?

This was a great read! I did thoroughly enjoy the audiobook, because my eyeballs didn't feel up to the task of reading it. I really enjoyed the world building and the queerness of the characters. I appreciated how Stina Leicht put pronouns and autonomy at the fore front of the discussion of anyone, and made it there without question. Would 100% recommend to friends.

Was this review helpful?

Representation: Multiple queer characters, characters over 40, BIPOC

Gita Chithra is the captain of an intergalactic ship, The Tempest, and her crew does retrieval and assistance, fairly simple work. She has two daughters that are AGIs, Artificial General Intelligences, and she raised/trained them from their inception. There’s an artificial alien-made solar system, nicknamed Loki’s Ring, that very little is known about, because any attempt to get close is destroyed. Gita gets a frantic message from Ri, one of her daughters, warning of a mysterious contagion that’s killed and infected everyone on Loki’s Ring. Gita has to go help of course, and her crew is in for the ride. They’re faced with horrors, and have to call for help from an old friend that she hasn’t spoken to for a long time.

Rating: 4.5/5 This is the second book from Stina in the same universe, but a completely different location and cast. I really enjoyed Persephone Station, and I immensely enjoyed this one as well. I appreciate how casually queer Stina makes her characters, and they don’t hesitate to have a big variety in ages and genders. There are some well into their 50s, maybe older, which is fantastic to see in sci-fi. I feel like I can’t adequately sum up what this book is about, because there’s so much happening all at once. Loki’s Ring is the main focus sure, but there’s also several sub-plots completely unrelated, or are happening to lead up to the main event. The description also makes it seem like it’s only one POV, but there’s multiple, mostly between two or three people. I didn’t mind all of what was happening, but it does feel like it could have been streamlined a bit, or made the flow more smooth if it was from an omniscient narrator rather than specific POVs. As an example of how much is happening: an admin managing politics, a heist, corporations trying to claim territory, pirates and criminals, alien tech, salvage operations, military involvement, and that’s not even everything. Don’t expect an action-packed story though, there’s plenty of quiet and slow moments throughout the whole story. “Space opera” isn’t an entirely accurate description of this. If you enjoy sci-fi and wide-ranging stories, this is definitely a great read.

Was this review helpful?

A fun, intergalactic space-faring thriller about a dangerous alien virus, and a woman willing to face it in order to rescue her artificial intelligence daughter (yes, she's a robot).

The story is broken into several different point of views, all centered around this found-family of diverse and memorable characters. The buildup to the mysterious Ring's "climax" is both terrifying and fascinating. Such an interesting concept with strong, solid characters.

I loved it.

Was this review helpful?

I very much enjoyed Stine Leichts other novel Persephone Station so I was very excited when I received an arc of this from the publishers. Unfortunately I think this one was a bit too science-y and too space focused for me and it went over my head most times.
What I did love about this book and this author's other novel is the unique and diverse cast of characters. In this one all of our main cast are bad-ass women in their 40's to 50's who run their own ships and crew. We also have some non binary character rep and queer characters. Also a talking space cat. We also have multiple AI systems that all had distinct personalities and were very interesting to explore. However more often than not I found myself very confused with the story. The overarching plot was easy to understand and follow however all the steps and difficulties that took to get there was what ultimately made me very confused. I personally found it a bit difficult to remember all the corporations and their motives and how they relate to the story. At times I felt that the story was barely progressing and we had some not very important scenes but also some of the action scenes came out of nowhere and at time were too fast paced to keep up with. The concept of Loki's Ring was super intriguing and I wished we had gotten to learn and see a little more of it. I also liked the concept how in this universe certain persons can basically parents and raise AI's and I really wish that was explored a bit more because that in itself as a concept is so intriguing and is something that I personally haven't seen done before.
All in all I think this book was a bit too sci-fi, outer space, spaceship, for me however I still look forward to seeing what this author releases in the future! I would still definitely recommend this to sci-fi readers as I think it's a very interesting take on the genre

Was this review helpful?

It wasn’t until 38% through that my brain clicked with what the Ring must look like – if you played Halo then some of the descriptions will be familiar. The purpose of this ring world is different though and it has a unique way of utilizing whatever happens to come its way. I would have loved more time spent with characters that found themselves unfortunately on Loki’s Ring, but I understand why it would prove a little difficult. Maybe more time spent with Ri’s viewpoint? I really loved the cast of characters, especially Aoifa and Ibis… but I REALLY loved Grimm. I’d also settle for a collar like his for each of my cats, I think. The societal structuring around AI hits a little closer to home with all the buzz going around about it and while we’re not there yet I do believe that it will be inevitable. The AI hosting was something I hadn’t encountered before and I enjoyed the context. Again, it reminded me a little of Halo but only with Dr. Halsey & Cortana, even though she’s a clone, not grown.

Some sections of the book felt jumpy as far as the timeline. Even though this book is long, it didn’t really feel that way. I think that it could’ve benefitted from more timeline massaging to make it seem more like a natural progression instead of seeing chapters end and then the characters be suddenly somewhere else.

I am fairly certain that like Persephone Station, this book is a stand-alone, but I could definitely see a second book if the author chose to write one. I would love to learn more about the ring itself, Mother and Gita’s role in the future. I would love to thank Saga Press for reaching out with this one – I enjoyed it as much as her last space opera. I will continue to be on the look out for space books from Stina Leicht. All opinions are my own. Rounded from 4.5 stars.

Was this review helpful?


Stina Leicht drew me in with a fascinating premise and gorgeous cover just like with Persephone Station, but also like with Persephone Station, something about the execution felt lacking to me here.

The world Leicht has built here is really fascinating. It’s far future humanity where humans “birth” AI and there’s an interesting take on first contact with aliens and one scene in particular that was very horror movie esque. The world is filled with small nods to sci-fi pop culture, and there’s a small reference to Persephone Station. I also loved that the majority of the cast was female or nonbinary and several of the main characters were older. I love the trend away from young/teenage protagonists.

Where I mostly struggled was with the pacing. The chapters are quite long and jump from perspective to make the learning curve quite jarring. I was 50% into the book and still didn’t really have any idea how the plot was going to come together and by the time I figured it out I had sort of lost interest.

While I’m glad I gave Leicht another chance, I think I need to come to terms with the fact that she’s not the author for me, and no one is more bummed about that than I am because I love these gorgeous covers and I love the idea of books in a shared universe.

Was this review helpful?

Ambitious world building, dense plot, too many POVs but a very interesting mother-daughter relationship between a human and an AI fostered child. Overall, I liked the book but maybe not as much as Persephone Station where I really connected to all the characters.

Was this review helpful?

It is rare that I read books led by a diverse cast if the writer doesn’t belong to at least one of the marginalized groups represented in the story. This book reminded me why that is. Since I found this book so underwhelming, I’ll do the charitable thing and start with the good bit(s).

Loki’s Ring focuses on a group of daring, accomplished, middle-aged women existing within the prime of their lives. Centering a political space opera within the interpersonal struggles of a bunch of aunties kept the story grounded and relatable, this is where the story shines. The character relationships are filled with so much humor and genuine caring, I wanted to be part of the ship crew.

In the same vein, there are barely any men in the story. I think I recall 3, total. How refreshing!

Now for the doo doo stuff. This book was in need of some serious editing. The chapters are entirely too long, my kindle predicted the shortest of them at 30 minutes to complete. Constant drawn-out chapters are exhausting for a reader and impact the pacing of the story, which already had issues. Leicht throws awkward character descriptions in during what should be tension filled moments, effectively grinding the action to a halt. I understand the desire to share this world and characters, I just wish she had been more honest about what was necessary to tell this story.

Pacing issues aside, it was the way diversity was handled that really made me DNF at 75%. I think it is wonderful that Leicht wanted to create a world where non-binary people and BIPOC are represented in numbers that seem true to reality. The thing is, it didn’t feel authentic. Leicht goes on and on with descriptions of brown people, in an almost worshipful way. She makes certain to let us know when characters are trans/nb and when their romantic relationships aren’t heteronormative. It’s like she’s trying to shine a spotlight on how she made the characters sooo diverse.

Then there’s Karter, who I would argue is our main protagonist. We learn very little about how she looks or her sexuality. My assumption, since so much detail was given about marginalized characters, is that she is a white, cis, straight woman. And that’s a problem. That lack of description means Leicht is still making white people the default. In the future. Where we birth AIs and interact with non-terrestrial beings. *sigh*

The inclusivity of this book and the ideas behind it are exactly what draw me to a story. Regardless of her intentions, Leicht isn’t ready to explore them without a more robust team of sensitivity readers.

Was this review helpful?

So grateful to receive an Arc and this was full of adventure and drama! My kind of book .❤️. Adventure, drama, and character development is so important and Loki’s Ring had every big of this…..#NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

Gita is the captain of a starship along with Mandy, Aoifa, Dru, Sycorax, and their starship cat Grimm. They receive a distress call from Gita’s AI daughter, Ri, who’s ship is has been overtaken by a virus and is now stranded on the forbidden Loki’s Ring. It’s a race against the clock to save her as Gita and her crew find themselves in trouble as well.

I really enjoyed this! I thought the world building was very intriguing, especially the way that AI is viewed which made the relationships with their ship’s AI and Gita with her daughters interesting.

Also the body horror aspect was VERY horrifying and I was creeped out for the rest of the evening.

I will say the only thing I disliked was the alternating POV. I’m not a big fan in general but can enjoy it on occasion. In this book’s case it just seemed like there were too many and the last one was introduced almost 50% of the way through the book.

Thank you to NetGalley for making this available in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

The first thing that struck me when I started this book was the dedication, which is one of the most memorable ones I've read. I spent some time looking up other reviews for this book before writing my own, and someone mentioned that all the main characters in this book are women or nonbinary. It isn't something I noticed at the time, but now the dedication makes even more sense.

When it comes to representation, Loki's Ring pretty much has it all. BIPOC rep, queer rep, mental health rep, neurodivergent rep, disability rep, and maybe there are more that I missed. And it works because there's a huge cast of characters. Some of them have smaller roles than others, but I do appreciate the effort the author put into this. I also liked that the characters were mostly older.

There are some really interesting aspects to the world, like the fact that humans can partner with young AIs and sort of raise them inside their brains. The other part I really liked has to do with the Ring itself, which I can't talk about more because it would be a major spoiler. I will say that it reminded me of the strange whimsy that I associate with a lot of my favourite Doctor Who episodes, so if that's something you are into, this book might work for you. It's apparently also set in the same world as Persephone Station, which is another book by the author, but I don't think you need to read that first to pick this up. I didn't, and I never got the idea that I was missing something.

While reading this felt like a fun ride, I do think the book was too long for the story it's trying to tell. The pacing could've been tighter by removing some of the side tangents we went on during the course of this elaborate rescue mission.

Was this review helpful?

Loki’s Ring is a diverse space opera set far in the future where mindboggling advances have been made in science and technology. Our main protagonist is Gita Chithra, captain of a salvage ship The Tempest, still recovering from the loss of two artificial crewmates on a mission gone wrong resulting in the remainder of the crew splitting up in the aftermath. When Gita receives a distress call from her daughter, an artificial person called Ri, she drops everything to race to her side—but this proves difficult when Ri’s location is traced to a Norton Independent Alliance ship in orbit around Loki’s Ring, a hostile artificial world off-limits to citizens of the Terran Republic of Worlds like Gita and her crew.

The primary conflict between the TRW and the NIA was based on the former granting personhood to artificial personalities and bestowing them with legal rights, leading to the xenophobic People First movement on the worlds under Norton control to secede from the Republic. Norton is known for being corrupt as corporations rule its system and prioritise their profit margins over protecting its citizens and providing for their basic necessities with mass poverty sadly common among its worlds. So when Ri’s ship, the Norton Independent System Starship Bootes encounters a deadly virus in Loki’s Ring that causes hallucinations and a violent frenzy in its hosts while it attacks the human nervous system, of course management at the corporate office that owns Bootes considers the potential of weaponising this contagion as opposed to saving any stranded survivors. Unaware of the perilous situation, Gita’s ship attempts a rescue mission and is shot down by an NISS corsair that is determined to leave no witnesses behind.

The beginning of Loki’s Ring is an intense crash-course in this complex sprawling future society with competing intergalactic alliances, artificial intelligences and the mysterious alien architects who designed Loki’s Ring for unknown reasons. While this book isn’t ‘hard’ sci-fi by any means, there is a bunch of technobabble and acronyms that may take time to adjust to, especially for readers who aren’t familiar with sci-fi conventions.

The strong focus on characterisation is what shines through the genre trappings, and I particularly appreciate the choice to create an ensemble of characters primarily composed of women, many of whom are over forty, queer, disabled and/or neurodivergent. Rather than feeling like a token assignment of niche characteristics, it’s integrated into the story in an understated manner like references to a past girlfriend of Gita’s or in an organic and meaningful way like crewmembers Aiofa and Mandy being in a romantic relationship. Mandy’s osteoarthritis and osteoporosis is referenced off-hand, but then becomes plot-relevant when the crew have to evacuate the ship and her health conditions need to be taken into consideration. Beyond their individual qualities, it’s the human interaction between the characters that keeps us invested with everyday bickering about who finished the coffee, teasing about each other’s taste in music or hacking into the ship cat’s electronic collar to program funny phrases into its vocabulary.

Towards the middle of Loki’s Ring, the pacing slows down and multiple character perspectives are added which weren’t really necessary. The fact that these alternative chapters are heavily laden with political conflict adds to the slow pacing; a mother rushing against time to save her daughter is a recipe for a breathless, action-packed reading experience, but although delving into the various political agendas provided more context surrounding the chaos at Loki’s Ring, it feels like a slog to get through those sections.

My greatest disappointment was how little time we spent on the planet at the centre of all this devastation. The blurb gives the impression that Gita’s crew are stranded on Loki’s Ring and the central conflict is escaping the planet, but that isn’t the case; they don’t step foot on the planet until about 70% of the way through the book. At this point, we’re treated to wonderfully bizarre and grotesque sights as Gita and co struggle to navigate their way past the dangers on the ground, but it’s an all-too-short portion of the book that doesn’t delve nearly enough into the alien-made construct. The author’s breath-taking imagination is on display throughout the story and would’ve elevated it to another level if we had the opportunity to explore the planetside dangers in more detail instead of only staying for a brief visit.

Overall this is a treat for fans of sci-fi and space opera with delightful AI characters, innovative technologies, thrilling space battles and alien horrors to overcome. A diverse mostly female cast is developed in loving detail with long and complicated histories between many of them which provides an even greater sense of a lived-in universe that springs vividly into mind. This is well-worth the read for those interested in stellar worldbuilding, believable characters you can root for, and an exciting, unpredictable storyline that will keep you guessing.

Was this review helpful?

Gita Chithra captains the retrieval ship The Tempest, and receives a frantic distress call from Ri, the AI she trained and considers a daughter to Gita. Ri is trapped in Loki’s Ring, an artificial alien-made solar system, and says everyone was infected and killed by a mysterious contagion. When Gita and her team investigate, they discover horrible things. They have soon stranded themselves, leaving them vulnerable to infection and attack.

Loki's Ring is a well-done thriller in space. We're introduced to Gita and her ethics at the start: the two AI she partnered with and trained are her children, AI are autonomous beings with a soul, and she will honor that even in the midst of danger where it might be expedient not to. She's willing to put herself in danger to save others, so it's no surprise that she rushes to help Ri even before there is an official sanction to do so. Gita is part of the space faction that believes AI are individuals, and there is a faction that broke away because they didn't and wanted their corporate autonomy. Added to this conflict is the very alien location of Loki's Ring, a solar system where all its planets were obliterated to make a single contiguous ring around the sun, and all envoys sent never return. Helping Ri is dangerous and possibly illegal; we already know Gita wants to go, and her crew will follow because they hold similar ethics.

The situation is tense from a political aspect, between the two factions and Loki's Ring itself. On top of that is the safety of the crew under Gita's command that the crew that landed on Loki's Ring. As the novel progresses we see a brief glimpse of the Ring surface, learn what its purpose is, and what the infection actually is. Seeing its effects in action is horrifying, and the images from that lingered long after I read past it. That sequence reminded me a lot of the movie "Annihilation," actually. We have questions about the nature of choices, identity, ownership, and creation within this novel. On top of this, we have more than enough space battles, AIs, intergalactic travel, and company posturing to complete the space opera requirements. The novel is wonderfully put together, and I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

Was this review helpful?