By: Neil Gaiman
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Genre: Mythology, Short Stories, History
Synopsis: 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
This is a spoiler free review.
I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time, as mythology is one of my favourite genres (being a Religious Studies student I adore myths and folklore). My lovely flatmate lent me her copy to read and I was so happy! This was a very nicely written book, filled with short stories introducing us to the many quirky and fascinating Norse gods. Gaiman explains in his introduction that these gods may share the same name as the colourfully clad superheroes of the Marvel Universe, (such as Thor god of thunder, Loki god of mischief and Odin the All Father) but they differ considerable in their mannerisms and personalities. This quickly becomes apparent as we journey through the various stories about the gods and their adventures, including how Thor got his hammer, how poetry came to be, and of course Ragnarok (the end of the world).
Gaiman seamlessly pieces together these old stories creating a coherent and entertaining collection of myths. It is definitely a light reading, though it does contain some mature content so if you are planning on reading it to your kids I would maybe give it a quick read yourself first just to assess how you feel. If anything the gods of these original myths are almost more impressive than there marvel counterparts, mostly because their stories are more complex and their personalities slightly more complex.
If you are looking for a light read that is both entertaining and education this is a must read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely read it again! And given the format of this book and the fact that some of the stories are fairly well known I won’t be doing a spoiler section for this post.
Do you guys like mythology? Or are you a Marvel fan? let me know in the comments.