After a long break of not posting anything on this blog I’m back with a collection of short stories a friend of mine recommended to me saying “I read this in one sitting and absolutely loved it!”. Now, after having borrowed it from her and finally finished it, I really want to talk about it. Before getting into the review I want to add that this was a really special and funny reading experience for me because this copy was annotated by two friends beforehand. So, I got to read their comments and write my own down and it is definitely one of the most fun ways to read a book. And, the more comments and people having already read it, the better!
published February 7th 2017
genre: fantasy, mythology, short stories
norse mythology on goodreads ( •⌄• ू )✧
my rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
While I have seen the movie Coraline a long time ago and really want to read The Graveyard Book at some point, I had never read anything by Neil Gaiman before reading Norse Mythology. But with only having read this one I can already tell that he’s a true storyteller. It really feels as if Neil Gaiman is sitting in front of you, with his book in his hand, reading out loud the stories while you just listen, your eyes wide in wonder
(lmao). The way he is re-telling these myths is just hilarious and very gripping. And, you’ll find yourself laughing very often, especially while laughing at the gods and some of them in particular.
“It is a long story, and it does no credit to anyone: there is murder in it, and trickery, lies and foolishness, seduction and pursuit. Listen.”
The book is written like a collection of short stories with an index at the beginning. So, you could technically start with whatever story you want to since they are all somehow connected but it’s not necessary to have read them in the given order (though I do recommend that). I personally think that this is the best concept the author could have chosen for this book: You can go back to stories you want to read again really easily and the stories themselves are like chapters. Those are not too long which makes the book even better to read and very fast-paced. It is definitely possible to read this in one sitting and the author’s writing style speeds the reading process even more up! Besides, there is a glossary at the back of the book you can always look into if new gods, goddesses and other new names are mentioned. It was really refreshing reading a book that does not have immensely long chapters (I’m looking at you school reads…) and is structured that way.
The characters themselves were really well-portrayed especially Thor and Loki! I caught myself always waiting for some Loki “screen time” and I definitely got that in this book but don’t worry there’s always Thor involved as well. And, Gaiman’s characterization of Loki was just 105% true. Another character I really loved was Freya because she was basically the only one who absolutely knew Loki and his character well enough to see through his tricks. The only thing that confused me a bit were the parts in which Gaiman repeated that certain characters are “wise” and “cunning” way too many times but that was probably done on purpose so…
“That was the thing about Loki. You resented him even when you were at your most grateful, and you were grateful to him even when you hated him the most.”
I’m a big fan of authors that are able to build certain atmospheres with their writing styles and I can guarantee you that Neil Gaiman is one of them, at least in this one I’ve read. The world-building, especially in the first story or chapter is amazing and leads to the following chapters and stories really well. I think this would be a really good winter-read
(as you guys know; I really like to match books and seasons) while oneself is surrounded by blankets. But the stories themselves are not always that comfy nor do all of them lead to happy endings. After having read this book I feel as if I know a lot more about the Norse myths (I didn’t know many things before, ops.).
“The fun comes in telling them yourself—something I warmly encourage you to do, you person reading this. Read the stories in this book, then make them your own,”