Norse Mythology was a wonderfully written retelling of the Norse tales that reminded why I love the Viking stories of old.
"Seldom do those who are silent make mistakes."
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman was the retelling of a number of Viking tales, ranging from the most well known, to some more minor stories. From the beginning of time, to the prophecy that will be Ragnarok, the ending of the world.
It was a highly enjoyable read that reacquainted me with some stories that had faded in my memory. There were many tales of humour, such as Thor dressing up as a woman to be a bride, and also those of despair.
The prose was wonderful, as is expected from such a brilliant author as Neil Gaiman. It is just smooth, intelligent and effective, with a balanced amount of description and action. One of my favourite authors to read for their writing style.
"Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people dream great, wise, beautiful dreams and pass those dreams on as poetry to the world, to be sung and retold as long as the sun rises and sets, as long as the moon will wax and wane? Have you ever wondered why some people make beautiful songs and poems and tales, and some of us do not?"
The stories this book consists of revolves around three main gods. Odin, Thor, and Loki. While most of the other gods and creatures of Norse Mythology are still present, the main focus of each story is these characters, so their personalities are firmly established. Odin the wise, calculating and brutal at times. Thor the strong, greatest warrior of the gods and main defender of Asgard. Not always the most intelligent. And then Loki the trickster, cleverest of the gods and the cause of their most severe problems.
"The first thing I think is, it is Loki's fault. It saves a lot of time."
The tales within this novel travel and involve each of the nine realms at some point, with a telling or their origins and some of their most famous and dramatic moments. It focuses mainly on Asgard and Midgard as the former is the home of many gods, and Midgard is Earth, where we live!
Every aspect of this book was well executed, with intriguing tales, great prose and developed characters. The only fault I could identify is that there was not a definitive unique adaptation of the Norse tales, rather a similar retelling of previously known stories.
For me this book was a four star read that anyone who enjoys the prose of Gaiman will enjoy. It is not a large novel, so can be scythed through rather quickly, but lovers of mythology will still find much enjoyment within the satisfyingly developed stories that are involved.
I have a soft spot for Norse mythology. Like Neil Gaiman, I was first introduced to the Norse pantheon in the pages of The Mighty Thor. I am a lifelong fan of superheroes, and yes that does include the Big Lethorski featured in Avengers Endgame. It wasn't until my introduction to Odin in Final Fantasy VIII, however, that I decided to begin exploring Norse myths, picking up hefty tomes from the library next door. I am so glad I did. In the author's note preceding this collection of stories, Gaiman expresses his desire for the reader of Norse Mythology to share these stories with each other and to envision an older time of Vikings. I hope you do.