Today’s book review is for a relatively short book I enjoyed by an author I’ve had a mixed experience with in the past. I felt comfortable enough with picking this up as the topic of the book is relatively safe territory – Norse Mythology. That’s exactly what the book is called too!
Let’s share the details!
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman
Publication Date: 06 Mar 2018
Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok.
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. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge 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.
Norse Mythology, as you would expect if you are familiar with the genre, is made up of lots of short stories. The range of stories is vast, and as a result, we get to see a multitude of characters throughout this relatively short book.
As can only be expected in the realms of Gods and tricksters alike, the stories are fantastical and entertaining. As someone who hasn’t read too much in the way of North mythology in the past, this particular book made for a great gateway. I definitely intend to pick up more north mythology in future to explore the genre in detail.
Thor, Loki and many several well known Norse Gods have their place in this book. I believe fans of Marvel really enjoy this book as we see a lot of the characters they also feature. I confess I’m not overly a Marvel fan, so I can’t comment on this myself. However, I am reliably informed by other bloggers!
With one of the main characters, being a terrible trickster, it’s oddly surprising that conflict and tension make up a significant proportion of the book.
Given the style of the book, the mini stories within are broken up, and as a result, make for some nice and relatively short chapters with clean breaks between. It makes the book easy to pick up and put down, whatever your reading pace or level of commitment.
Having struggled to read books by Neil Gaiman in the past, I found this format went a long way towards making each chapter nicely digestible… that and the subject matter anyway! Along these lines, Norse mythology is a book to enjoy in the moment. It’s not the kind of book you need to heavily invest in to be able to enjoy.
Norse mythology is a short book, so there’s only so much possible to say about it. To summarise:-
Compulsively readable and unputdownable, I enjoyed Norse Mythology and exploring a new regional mythology. My experience of the book was that I read and enjoyed it pretty much over the course of a weekend. It’s not a long one, so it is quite approachable to pick up by any level of reader. Despite having had less positive experiences with Neil Gaiman books before, I was excited to pick up this book at every opportunity I could!
Have you read Norse Mythology or any other books by Neil Gaiman? What did you think?