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Author: Neil Gaiman
Reading Date: February 11, 2017 to February 15, 2017
Book Summary: 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 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. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.
Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods 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.
Book Review: I had never read anything by Neil Gaiman. I had heard things - good things - about his books from friends but after being recommended several books in the past and finding nothing short of disappointments in them, I was afraid to crack open a book by Neil.
This book, however, held myths. Norse myths, to be exact. I was excited. After all, I had loved Edith Hamilton's mythology book when I first read it as a kid.
This book follows the three major players within Norse mythology - Thor, Odin, and Loki - as they play each role of the Norse realmdom and their own roles to come in Ragnorok. You get brief glimpses of the other lesser gods and goddesses of the Norse mythology but that is just it - brief glimpses. Whatever stories that had been told of them are gone, lost to the sands of time. An unfortunate thing because their stories would have been interesting to know as I am sure they played their own parts in the upcoming end of the world but what roles they may have or not played will never be known.
Neil Gaiman gives right in and gives us a tour of Yggdrasil and its nine realms that you may find yourself wishing to visit these worlds even if you can only do so in your imagination. He spins you tales of heroics from Thor, Odin the all-wise Father, and the manipulator trickster God, Loki, and his kin as he builds up an army of the undead to begin setting the course towards the end of the Gods.
This book was fascinating and one book you will truly enjoy sitting down with. Gaiman has a way with words and he draws you into his story until the very end of the page. I have to admit even I was always reluctant to put down this book to get ready for bed or even for work because I loved how weaved his magic to draw back into this world of Norse mythology.
Anyone who loves mythology will love this book.