Monday, March 20, 2017

Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology. Neil Gaiman. 2017. Norton. 299 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Many gods and goddesses are named in Norse mythology. You will meet quite a few of them in these pages. Most of the stories we have, however, concern two gods, Odin and his son Thor, and Odin's blood brother, a giant's son called Loki, who lives with the Aesir in Asgard.

Premise/plot: Norse Mythology is a collection of fifteen stories starring Norse gods and goddesses. These are traditional stories lovingly crafted by Gaiman for ultimate enjoyment. The stories are: "Before the Beginning, and After," "Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds," "Mimir's Head and Odin's Eye," "The Treasures of the Gods," "The Master Builder," "The Children of Loki," "Freya's Unusual Wedding," "The Mead of Poets," "Thor's Journey to the Land of the Giants," "The Apples of Immortality," "The Story of Gerd and Frey," "Hymir and Thor's Fishing Expedition," "The Death of Balder," "The Last Days of Loki," and "Ragnarok: The Final Destiny of the Gods."

From "Before the Beginning, and After"
Before the beginning there was nothing--no earth, no heavens, no stars, no sky: only the mist world, formless and shapeless, and the fire world, always burning. (29)
From "The Mead of Poets"
Do you wonder where poetry comes from? Where we get the songs we sing and the tales we tell? Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not? It is a long story, and it does not credit to anyone: there is murder in it, and trickery, lies and foolishness, seduction and pursuit. Listen. (127) 
From "Ragnarok: The Final Destiny of the Gods"
Until now I have told you of things that have happened in the past--things that happened a long time ago. Now I shall tell you of the days to come. I shall tell you how it will end, and then how it will begin once more. These are dark days I will tell you of, dark days and hidden things, concerning the ends of the earth and the death of the gods. Listen, and you will learn. (269)
My thoughts: I loved, loved, LOVED this one. I loved the storytelling. I loved the drama, the action, the humor. I loved the characters. I loved Thor and Loki. They are so different from one another. Without Loki would the stories be as entertaining?! Yet Thor and the others are needed to keep Loki under control!!! My top three were "The Treasures of the Gods," "Freya's Unusual Wedding," and "Thor's Journey to the Land of the Giants." All of the stories were good. I loved, loved, LOVED some of them and merely loved others. But all are worth reading and rereading.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kailana said...

I am planning to read this before the year is out. Glad it was good!

Alex said...

I just sent this book to my Kiddo, who has always loved mythology, so I'm glad to see that you loved it.