Norse Mythology is a collection of retellings of Norse myths, going from the creation of the world to the gods’ demise at Ragnarok.
This book had me at Neil Gaiman and Norse mythology. I love reading myths in general, and Neil Gaiman happens to be one of my favourite authors so I really didn’t need any more convinving.
The book comes with a short foreword by Gaiman himself that explains about his sources and how few myths actually survived. It was great to know a little more about his thoughts and processes behind the book.
I think the most striking thing about the tales itself was the narrative voice. I’ve read several versions of the Norse myths at this point, but Gaiman’s retellings were the first that actually felt like living stories. They gave me the feeling that I was sitting somewhere and someone was actually telling me about the gods. Gaiman manages to bring these myths to life in a way that I haven’t encountered yet, and while I’ve always liked them a lot, these retellings are my absolute favourites yet.
If you already know the Norse myths this book won’t tell you anything new, but it is still a worthwile read because of the simply amazing style of the narration. If you don’t know any of the myths Norse Mythology is a great (maybe even the best) way to get to know them.
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 Stars)
Publication Date: 7 February 2017
Page Count: 279
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.