19 Jun 2018

Review - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman


The great Norse myths, which have inspired so much of modern fiction, are dazzlingly retold by Neil Gaiman. Tales of dwarfs and frost giants, of treasure and magic, and of Asgard, home to the gods: Odin the all-father, highest and oldest of the Aesir; his mighty son Thor, whose hammer Mjollnir makes the mountain giants tremble; Loki, wily and handsome, reliably unreliable in his lusts; and Freya, more beautiful than the sun or the moon, who spurns those who seek to control her.

From the dawn of the world to the twilight of the gods, this is a thrilling, vivid retelling of the Norse myths from the award-winning, bestselling Neil Gaiman.

My Thoughts:

Yes, I've read another Gaiman, because the man is a master storyteller. That's a fact. If you haven't read any work of Gaiman yet, do yourself a favour and dive into one of his books. They are magic.

Norse Mythology is not an exception. The book contains 15 short stories about the Norse gods, each usually featuring one god as the 'hero' of the story. Odin, Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Frey, Freya and lots of lesser known gods are spotlighted in these tales.

Giants and dwarves appear too and it actually occured to me while reading this collection that Mr. J.R.R. Tolkien must have taken inspiration for his novels from the mythology of the north. The atmosphere of these stories and the creatures present in them show similarities with what we find in the world of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. (it's possible that everyone knows about this connection and I was a bit slow to realize it... If it is so, please forgive my ignorance.)

Mr. Gaiman clearly has a soft spot for Loki (I don't blame him), so be prepared for a lot of Loki if you pick up Norse Mythology.

My favourite story was Freya's Unusual Wedding simply because it was hilarious! So funny, there are no words. But then there are quite dark ones as well, that include murders, mutilation and torture. I guess every mythology has some nasty bits here and there but I think Norse mythology outdoes most. 

It was great to discover all aspects that northern mythology has in common with other countries' mythologies or folk tales. The tree that grows between worlds for example is present in the old Hungarian beliefs as well, only our ancestors called it 'life tree' or 'world tree'.

I recommend this book to all those who'd like to learn more about Norse mythology, Marvel/Thor fans and anyone who feels they need to take a break from novels.

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