Book Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Fiction, Short Stories, Retelling, Historical Fiction, Classics, Science Fiction Fantasy

Publisher: WW Norton & Company

Published: February 27, 2017

Page Amount: 304 pages

Goodreads Summary: 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.

Why I Read:  I adore Neil Gaiman. End of story. Anything he writes, I am 500% there for him. Norse Mythology did come out a month or so ago and admittedly, I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me so long to read it. I was originally under the impression that I didn’t want to reread a retelling of Norse myths. Then again.. the Avengers enterprise has reignited my love of old classics and how easily they have been reintegrated into our world. I might be a bit of a Neil Gaiman fanatic… he can make me like anything. 

Review: When I started reading Norse Mythology, I was sick. I had made my way into an independent bookstore on my way home from a yoga course, and I felt a bit woozy. What’s a good strategy for that? Stop in a bookstore that has the word “Ocelot” in the name, get some tea and sit down with a good book. I had obviously seen that Gaiman had written a new book – his words, his sentences and how he creates characters – everything about him is  magical for me. When the bookstore had a new ENGLISH copy of the book – how could I not start reading it? Five minutes later and I was hooked.

Short stories are perfect for a sickly human and Norse Mythology was no exception. Gaiman talked about Thor, Loki, Odin – the classics – and other gods, the smaller and lesser known ones. I loved learning about the littler tales, especially when Thor makes an appearance disguising himself as a woman. Even when Loki gets his lips sewed shut – it’s just addictive. Honestly anything that Neil Gaiman writes, I find myself reading  like it is gospel. He invites you in with beautiful words, twisted tales and the most lovely of creations.

Retellings, particularly those that surround old mythology can be hard to successfully execute. I never had any doubt that Gaiman would bring the gods to life in ways that surprised me while making me laugh out loud in the bookstore. I couldn’t stop myself from buying the book in its actual paperback form. It’s fun, sassy, hilarious and intriguing from start to end. I apologize in advance for not eloquently telling you why to read this book. I struggle when I just get so excited about a book that words fail me – so in conclusion: read the book, end of discussion.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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