Book Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Format: Paperback ARC, 281 Pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pub. Date: February 7th, 2017
My rating: 4 smashing hammers!
Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.
I’d like to thank Pansing distribution for the review copy in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

In this masterpiece, Gaiman gives a thrilling account of the Norse gods, speaking in a voice that resonates to the young and young at heart. He begins the retelling just as anyone would, by introducing the players. The northern deities themselves need no introduction, but the author acquaints them with the reader in a completely different light. I caught myself chuckling when Loki was pegged as someone who “makes the world more interesting, but less safe.” It’s a real roller coaster because he will be able to make you laugh at the Norse gods, cringe when they became proud and arrogant, and dread the Ragnarok- the end of the world, followed by a new beginning.

Each and every chapter has been written precisely and is unique, fast paced with humour, fun and lots of learnings while the flow of the story is smooth and crisp. The language used is simple, crisp and interesting where it enables one to easily connect with the story. The dialogues, between the characters, are written very well thus making the characters well-developed and all around amazing.  It’s just so easy to engage in each and every story even without any former knowledge on some of the Gods.

Neil Gaiman has written these stories his way, adding hints of humor, fear, and sadness. This is one book that can only be read, in order to absorb its essence. Norse Mythology is a much-needed (ironically) humane retelling of the great northern tales. Gaiman underlines how important oral traditions are to mankind—perhaps the reason why he has taken a more affectionate, tone terms of voice for this book. Norse Mythology can also be regarded as an anthology. The author has collected the different stories, or more appropriately, folklores related to the Norse Gods and giving it his characteristic charisma. Each story tells us how each god came into existence and how they acquired their weapons, which are an integral part of them. For example Thor’s hammer, which was a gift from the dwarfs. And there are giants and ugly, barbaric creatures who can kill you in the blink of an eye. Gods of knowledge and beauty, of hell and time, all come together in this book. Never will I deem myself worthy of encapsulating anything written by the master storyteller, and so I end with just an ask; read this book.



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