Norse Mythology – Book Review

★★


 

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.” 

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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 fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of a giant, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

 

review

Ever since the sixth grade when we spend a unit studying Greek mythology, I have been fascinated by myths. I own several books on Greek mythology and love learning new facts about the ancient Greek culture. Over the years I have also come to know several things about Egyptian mythology and have consistently loved it as well.

Sadly, my knowledge of Norse myth is a much more limited, so when I saw this book I knew that it would be the perfect thing to get introduced to the world of the Norse gods, and this book did not disappoint

I never thought I would say this, but my newfound love for the Norse gods might just challenge that for the Greek gods I’ve loved for so long.

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This book is the compilation of short myths that have been put together to create a single narrative arc from the creation of the gods to the end of the world. While I did know a couple of things about the mythology before I started reading I loved learning all the details and all the adventures in the lives of this colorful collection of deities.

I loved the Norse gods. Odin, who is wise, and Freya who is beautiful and proud. Then there is Thor. My dear, dear Thor. He’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, then again, hammers never are.

And of course, there was Loki. You can probably sum up most of the novel with the following quotes:

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”

“[Thor] did not believe that even Loki would have dared to steal his hammer. So he did the next thing he did when something went wrong, and he went to ask Loki for advice.”

Basically, most things in life happen because of Loki. He’s always either getting everyone in trouble, or finding a way of getting everyone out of it. Many times, the trouble he is trying to fix is the very same one that he has caused.

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This is the first Neil Gaiman book that I have ever read, and I absolutely loved the way he wove the myths together. Neil Gaiman has clearly had a tasted from the Mead of Poetry, and I look forward to reading more of his work. I’ve been meaning to read American Gods for a while now, and it just got bumped to the top of my TBR.

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7 thoughts on “Norse Mythology – Book Review

  1. I love ancient history as well, especially 18th dynasty new kingdom Egypt if we are getting specific. This book temps me every time I see it but have yet to pick it up. I’ve read one of Gaimen books and (gasp) hated it profusely. So even though this sounds right up my proverbial alley, I’m hesitating. I’m sure I’ll give in eventually. One can’t resist Thor and Loki forever.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mmm hard to say, cos I started with Anansi boys, which is technically the sequel to American Gods (basically I started in the wrong place…) So even though I loved Anansi Boys best, maybe start with American Gods? Or Neverwhere- Neverwhere’s amazing 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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