Review - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fantastic retelling of Norse Myths. It features such characters as Odin, Thor and Loki along with a host of other lesser known gods and characters.

Gaiman does his best to stick to the source material and not stray too far from the myths themselves, writing it in his own language which really brings the stories to life. By doing this, Gaiman has written the perfect place to start if you want to learn more about Norse Mythology in my view.

What really added to my enjoyment was that I had read the Poetic Edda before this, so I had an inclination as to which myths would get the Gaiman treatment.

It’s basically a collection of short stories, with a large Ragnarok story at the end. Amongst my favourites were:
• How Thor receives Mjollnir (Treasures of the Gods)
• When Thor has to dress up as a bride to get Mjollnir back (Freya’s unusual wedding)
• The story of the cauldron the Gods want so they can get drunk a lot (Hymir and Thor’s fishing expedition)
• The mead of Poetry (Mead of poets)

My favourite though, was Thor’s journey to the land of the giants. It’s one of the longer tales in the book where Thor and his companions are put through their paces in a number of physical contests.

Gaiman stays true to how the characters are described within the ancient myths. The characters are different to what people have come to expect from Marvel films. Thor is a bit of a dumb meat head. Odin is treacherous and ultimately clever. Loki is even more conniving than the film/comic book version.

Gaiman starts the book by saying that Norse myths are his favourites, and this shows with the level of care he gives the source material whilst adding his own spin to the tales. Norsemen also play a large part in American Gods.

I listened to this on audiobook and Gaiman’s narration is great. Something really special happens when writers narrate their own works. The passion comes across when they read their own works. I’d recommend any of Gaiman’s audiobooks.

Final thought

Gaiman has definitely drank from Odin’s Gift (from the nice end!) and this is a must-read for anyone interested in Norse / Viking history. I already want to reread this, it was that good and it’s short enough to be read in a couple of days.



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