REVIEW of Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse MythologyOdin. Thor. Loki. These are the main players in Neil Gaiman’s retelling of the old Norse myths. And what a retelling it is!

Although I was familiar with the myths from my childhood (remembering the same Roger Lancelyn Green book that Gaiman references in his intro), the way that Gaiman weaves them together is truly unique.¬† With the quality of a true bard, he unites the disparate tales in the common theme of impending and inevitable doom that Ragnarok spells. The story may be of how Frey lost his sword…but Gaiman reminds us that Frey will wish he still had that sword when Ragnarok comes around.

Odin’s iron and inflexible will comes out strongly in this story. He is the god that sacrificed himself to himself for the sake of knowledge. He is the god that cut out his own eye so that he might become wise. Thor is strong and sturdy and a never-ending source of comic relief. The other characters spend a lot of time trying to spell things out for him since he’s not exactly quick on the uptake. Loki’s character–mischievous yet helpful, ill-using yet ill-used–is the jewel of the book. As one of the gods, yet not one of them, he ends up turning on them at the end as his offspring unite to devour the world.

This is a quick read from a peerless storyteller with much to ponder after the reading. Recommended.

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