Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: February 1st 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
I will begin with my non spoiler review of this book before heading into what could be considered as SPOILERS!! *Gasp* but don’t worry these sections will always be clearly labelled beforehand so you can skip on out before that if you have not read this book!
Much as the title and cover suggest Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories about Norse myths and the Norse gods. Such as Odin, Thor and Loki. I am a big fan of Norse mythology and the Norse gods. In fact whenever I watch or read something about them I am ready to pack my bags and go back to university to study them more in depth! I just find them fascinating and have a Loki obsession. But don’t worry it generally passes once I move away from the book or show!
Anyways lets’ get back on track. The stories in this book are Gaiman’s retellings/portrayals of popular and lesser known Norse myths, legends and stories. Covering from the beginning/ creating of the world all the way to Ragnarok. I believe this is more of a collection of short stories that make up a book. As the book itself is divided into sections, those sections each being an individual story with different gods, characters and settings.
The book being divided into short stories is pretty much the only reason I have given Norse Mythology a 4 instead of a 5 star rating. I have read very few other books in this format and generally don’t tend to pick up and read short story collections. I am not 100% sure why, only that in the past I just haven’t. I think because I was not use to this format the book itself was a lot harder for me to get into. As I would be really into a story and the gods and characters present and interacting in it. Only for that story to come to an end and to have to try to dive into a new story with possibly different characters and settings. So I would mostly end up reading one of the stories and then putting the book down until another time.
However that was really the only thing that bothered me about this book. Apart from my personal reading style causing me to struggle to read this book like I normally would, I think Neil Gaiman has done a beautiful job writing these myths in his own way. Although I struggled to read the individual stories back to back. I loved and enjoyed almost every single one of them on their own. And together learning more about the gods and Norse mythology as a whole. I would have to say that my favourite story would have to be really any that featured Loki or revolved mostly around Loki. I just have a weak spot for the God of mischief. I also think that the cover of the book is stunning the little header artworks are beautiful and the writing utterly enjoyable. Which is why I still gave this book 4/5 despite finding it difficult to get into.
This next little bit could be considered as spoilers for the last story in the book Ragnarok. It is not very spoilery but just so as not to upset anyone I thought I would warn in advance. So read at your own risk or skip down to the sign off.
I just want to talk about the last story in the book which is titled Ragnarok. Now I knew going into it that Ragnarok is the Norse version of Dooms Day/ The Reckoning/ END OF THE WORLD. Gaiman also hints all the way throughout the book leading up to this story about all the players who will be present in this last battle/ event. Despite all this I was still shocked at how it all went down and at just how many people/ gods/ characters died. I mean looking back that was probably a stupid thing of me to think, that more would make it through, I mean Hello! Ragnarok literally is the end of the world. What else did I expect? However I think this story was one of my very favourites from the book. I just loved how it shocked and surprised me and brought back and tied together everything from the other stories. How heaps of little decisions and actions taken in the earlier stories lead up to and culminated in this big battle. Just think that if only one of them had done one thing differently this may have all been avoided or had a different outcome. It was just crazy to read and think about! I was also a little bit disappointed in my little Loki’s involvement in this end game, but also really felt he was justified in a lot of ways to feel the way he did despite getting himself in the situation he did. Anyway like I said above this was overall a really good and really enjoyable read well worth 4/5 stars!
Have you read this Book? Do you agree with my opinions or did you feel another way? Who is your favourite Norse God? Have you read any of Neil Gaiman’s other works or is this your first like me? Let me know in the comments below! Until next time happy watching and reading.