I hate to admit this is the first book I’ve read by Neil Gaiman. He’s the kind of author who writes the stories I want to be reading. So, for future book reviews, you may be seeing more of his work that I missed out on before as I was going through the chapter in my life that included not reading for pleasure. Weird, I know.
Norse Mythology caught my attention because, as I have stated before, I’m obsessed with all things Iceland/Scandinavian. Plus, at my high school, we learned a lot about Greek mythology and I was able to learn that I not only loved mythology and creation myths, but that I wanted to learn about more than just the Greek gods and goddesses.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book besides to read about Odin and Thor and Loki. This book was a lot more than I anticipated, though. It was relatively easy to digest (minus figuring out how to pronounce everything) and the stories felt like ones you would hear being told within a community gathered around a fire or telling stories to children about why things are the way they are.
I loved that these stories from the Edda were available for me, someone who doesn’t speak any Nordic language. I love being able to have access to old stories like these. History and history books can sometimes do a good job of whittling down stories to be less than authentic and translations of things can be misunderstood versions of the original stories they were meant to be.
Neil Gaiman did an amazing job of keeping the stories true to the original material without making it un-relatable. It was easy to visualize what was going on in the story without being lost as to the god’s capabilities or where in the world they were traveling. Another very helpful tool is the break down of the realms and the glossary in the back of the book. With the character names and locations being in a different language, it can pose a challenge to keep things straight.
Overall, I felt the book was a great first book to read by Neil Gaiman and definitely kept me interested through the last story. I look forward to reading more of his work and seeing the other worlds he’s able to create. His rewriting of these ancient stories breathed new life into the legends and brought the gods back to a world that feels like it has long forgotten the histories we came from.
4/5 on the Quirky Quip Book Review scale. My only wish is that the female characters were more present and well rounded. But I can understand why they were lacking, in a sense, as the original stories may not have included many females, to begin with.