Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: "Norse Mythology" by Neil Gaiman

Back in the day, way back - like when I was in 5th and 6th grades, I was in this enrichment program at school.  This meant that I got to travel to another school with other students in the program.  We had one class that we had to take, but then we could choose another (and we had to do a project, but whatever).  One of the classes I chose was Norse Mythology, and it was one of my favorites.  I always loved Loki, but also Thor, Odin, Frey & Freya and the rest.  I thought they were way cooler than those Greek or Roman Gods.

Fast forward to now, and I'm still interested in the Norse myths but haven't gotten around to reading up on them.  I'll admit that the Marvel movies have helped to keep that spark alive, but they aren't completely true to the myths.  In steps Mr. Neil Gaiman, and now there is a new compilation of the Norse myths retold in his way.

The Norse Gods were brutal.  I think nearly every story ends with someone dying.  Loki isn't necessarily evil, but he can't help himself with his tricks.  The Gods aren't sentimental either.  Oh, brother God, we've made a deal that will mean you lose your hand when we don't follow through with our promise?  Too bad for you.  Everyone is always stealing something from someone else, our causing other kinds of trouble just for fun (*ahem Thor*).  But these stories are great!

I'm so glad that Gaiman put these stories together like this.  He tells them in such a way that it is completely accessible for younger readers as well as adults.  I love that there is a glossary in the back, just in case you know that you heard about something in an earlier story, but can't recall the details.  The one thing that is missing, and it could have been easily incorporated into the glossary, is a pronunciation guide.  I might still have said them wrong in my head while reading, but it would have been nice to at least pretend I was close.  Now I really have no idea.

If you have any interest in reading the stories, give this a chance.  It is set up like short stories that go basically in order, but can be read through fairly quickly.

Norse Mythology
by Neil Gaiman
W.W. Norton & Company, 2017
299 pages
Source:  Library


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