The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.
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.
Whenever I sit down to read a Neil Gaiman story I get a little giddy. I hold my book really tight in my hands and smile thinking of how I feel every time I read his books. I always feel as though I’m transported to another world with his stories. If you’ve never read a Neil Gaiman book then you really have no idea what it’s like to jump into his words, it’s like jumping through a door into another dimension where Neil has the strings and you follow like a puppet, floating from word to word.
When I heard he was writing a book on the Norse Gods I was ecstatic. I mean, Loki, Odin, Thor, what could be better?!
On The Stories
The book is broken up into stories about the aforementioned Gods and showcases each character in a different light in each story. If you like short stories but dislike when they get to be longer and should be called long stories don’t fret, these are the perfect length.
I enjoyed the story of how Odin lost his eye and how he became the wisest of all. That was one that really resonated with me. It was very deep and philosophical.
The Children of Loki was so clever, that was definitely my favourite one! Loki himself was so deliciously deviant I was so excited reading all of his parts. Thor was aloof as usual and I really loved getting to know Freyja.
I do not want to mention any more as it will spoil the anticipation of turning the page to read the title of each story. That was such a treat!