Summary from NetGalley:
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 a giant, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge 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.
Reviewed from a copy received from NetGalley
I love everything that Neil Gaiman has written, and this book is everything I hoped for. I don’t think I have ever read any of the original Norse myths before. I remember studying the Greek and Roman myths in school, but except for maybe knowing who Odin and Thor were I knew nothing else. Recently I’ve been learning about the Norse myths from retellings by Rick Riordan and K.L Armstrong. Both of which have done a good job of retelling the myths in a modern easy to understand format.
Gaiman has gone back to the originals and has told them in a straight forward and yet surprisingly delightful way. Most myths from any culture can be quite gruesome, and Neil does not hold back on that aspect of the myths, but he doesn’t make it cringe worthy either. I especially enjoyed reading the original story of how Thor disguises himself as a bride to get his Hammer back from the giants. I also liked reading the story about how the gods received their many weapons. Also the last story about Ragnarok was fascinating. I have heard about Ragnarok in many other stories, but now I feel like I really have a feel for what lead up to it and what it will really look like.
Neil Gaiman is a master storyteller and has done the Norse Myths justice and has really brought them to life for me.