Author: Neil Gaiman
Format: ARC (Advance Reading copy)
To be Published: February 7th 2017
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Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.
In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.
Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.
Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
I know next to nothing when it comes to Norse Mythology. But I read and absolutely adored Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, and I just knew I had to read another book by him. I always tend to avoid short stories but I’m so glad I picked this one up because it was a fast, enjoyable read and I loved it!
Norse Mythology is just what the title implies: it is a retelling of Norse myths. Each chapter is a short story that follows the Norse gods in their, often, hilarious and idiotic actions. Despite the separate stories, the whole thing just flows perfectly; they all feel like one big story and not disjointed pieces. Gaiman has a unique style of story-telling and he humanizes the characters enough that you grow to like the gods, but still keeps that oddness that makes them feel like the real Norse gods. Often times, when gods are interpreted into one’s work, they are either inaccessible and too other-worldly or they tend to resemble modern humans too much that they feel disjointed from the original myths. In this book, there is perfect balance. From what little knowledge I have regarding Norse Mythology, the characterizations of the gods felt true and I can see fans of Norse mythology enjoying it.
Thor and Loki are, of course, amazing but I got introduced to plenty other new characters, like Kvasir, hel and Balder- who might now be my most favorite among the Norse gods.
Some of my favorite stories are the one where Thor becomes a bride and the one where Loki has to turn into a mare. Those were downright hilarious. Honestly, all of the stories were enjoyable and I wish there was more of them. I recommend this to all Neil Gaiman fans and all fans of mythology.
*ARC received from publisher. Huge thanks to W. W. NORTON!!* This does not affect my review in any way.
Is Norse Mythology already on your TBR? If not, I hope I convinced you 😉 I’m planning on reading more books by Neil Gaiman. Do you guys have any suggestions as to where to start? So far I’ve read Anansi boys, which was marvelous (review to come soon) and now I’ve read this, I was thinking American gods or Caroline maybe…? Let me know your thoughts below!!