4 out of 5 Stars
I have been a fan of Neil Gaiman’s for a while now. I love his children’s stories like the “Graveyard Book” and Coraline. I took up “American Gods” late last year and loved his story telling about the various Gods and how they came to America (among many other things). When I saw his latest offering “Norse Mythology” was coming out I just knew I wanted to check it out, so I picked it up during a recent visit to our local bookstore.
Mr. Gaiman researched these stories extensively. He has said that he has been very interested in the Norse Gods and this was a passion project for him and you can tell that he was loving what he was writing about. The stories move from one chapter to the next, breaking up the stories in various ways and highlights different Gods and Goddesses throughout. You get to know the various Gods and Goddesses and I will be honest, the women in these stories sure put up with a lot in regards to the men. I really felt for them! The detail in which the stories are told really makes you feel as though the events really took place. I often felt incredibly small in the world of these massive Gods.
It was fun learning how Loki’s mischievous attitude landed him in loads of trouble, but he always tried to make things right, even if it meant he turned himself into a mare for a year – something the other Gods were not allowed to bring up in his presence later. There was also a lot of ego and poor choices that had to be overcome. There is thievery and high adventure and bravery. These stories provided wonderful cautionary tales to listeners as most good Myths and Fairy Tales have for centuries. I could imagine these stories being told in the winter lodges with a bit fire raging and a master story teller’s words filling the air and heads of all those listening.
While I was reading this to myself I was also reading Mr. Gaiman’s Norse children’s book “Odd and the Frost Giants” to my son. Odd is one of my favorite books from Mr. Gaiman and my version has some of the most beautiful illustrations. I loved his story and you can read my review on Odd at the link above. The two books went hand in hand beautifully and I felt even more immersed in the Norse world.