Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Short Stories

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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 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 giants, 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.

So I feel like I should start this review by saying I know pretty much nothing about Norse Mythology. I’m not a big superhero fan and so I haven’t seen any of the Thor/Avengers movies (sorry! Please don’t hate me!). I know a little bit based on what other people had told me about the films, I know that Loki and Thor are related and dislike each other but are both really powerful…and that’s where my knowledge ends. So when I say I don’t know much about this subject I mean I really don’t know much about this subject. However Neil always manages to make everything magical in such a short space so I had to read this to find out how he’d put his own personal spin on the tales.

I really wanted to enjoy this however I didn’t. Admittedly as I said previously I’m not a massive fan of Norse Mythology however I was still willing to give this book a shot because I thought the characters were interesting. For me though some of the stories did seem a little pointless and more aimed at children.

In this book we follow the Norse gods through various different short stories of their lives, from how Thor got his hammer to the end of the world. The stories are all pretty short at 10-12 pages yet are still descriptive.

As this is only a short book and the stories are really short I’m not really going to go into a lot of detail and I’m not going to review each individual story. I think my favourite was probably the story of how Thor got his hammer however even that one seemed a little fairytale ish.

I know these stories probably are aimed for children (although some are quite gory) and how much can you pack into a 10 page story but for me there just wasn’t enough to keep me going and if I wasn’t so committed I would have stopped halfway through the book. I did enjoy the writing and Neil Gaiman didn’t disappoint, he can still find a way to suck you into a story and make the writing so vivid that you do feel as though you are right there fighting alongside the characters. I think if it would have been on any other topic I may have enjoyed it however the topic wasn’t my favourite and the stories just seemed a little too childish for me.

Overall if you enjoy Norse Mythology you will definitely enjoy this book, it gives you a glimpse into what life is like for the gods when they aren’t in battle. Just the daily things that they face and the little adventures they have. Perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen a book that I probably wasn’t going to like but I figured I’d give it a shot in the hope that Neil could change my mind, unfortunately he couldn’t.

Rating: 2/5

Summing up: Bit too childish, not my favourite subject either


2 thoughts on “Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

  1. The Past Due Book Review says:

    I feel like this is a good primer for people who are interested in Norse mythology. I would definitely emphasize the fact that the Marvel versions of Thor and Loki are loosely based on their Norse counterparts, but, as you said, you didn’t necessarily know much about them in the first place.

    I’m not sure if you have read much mythology, but a lot of myths aren’t particularly long and often were told in order to explain the unknown, which is why these may have seemed childish to you (unless you were referring to the actions of the gods, in which case I would point out that Norse gods are much like those of the Greeks in their fallibility of character and readiness to give in to passions).

    I think your review was fair since you explained yourself that this wasn’t subject matter that necessarily tickled your fancy; this definitely isn’t Gaiman’s greatest work, but I think it will go over well with the casual fan of Norse mythology who wants a smoother, less intimidating introduction into the myths themselves before trying to tackle any of the more scholarly works. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kimberley says:

      I agree, people who like mythology would probably enjoy this more. I might try out a few more books on this topic as I think I would enjoy them more if I did know more on the topic. Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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