Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman, long inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction, presents a bravura rendition of the Norse gods and their world from their origin though their upheaval in Ragnarok. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki?son of a giant?blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose, these gods emerge with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Norse Mythology Details

TitleNorse Mythology
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
ISBN-139780393356182
Rating
GenreFantasy, Mythology, Fiction, Short Stories, Audiobook

Norse Mythology Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    I've always loved mythology, folktales and legends. They are the original fairy tales of humanity and, given the timeless fairytale quality to Gaiman's writing, it seemed to follow that he would be the perfect writer for a book of Norse mythology. He is. In fact, Gaiman seems born to write (or rewrite) myths.Norse mythology is actually one I've always been less familiar with. I know Greek, Roman and Egyptian fairly well, and some Indian as well, but my knowledge of Norse mythology kind of ends a I've always loved mythology, folktales and legends. They are the original fairy tales of humanity and, given the timeless fairytale quality to Gaiman's writing, it seemed to follow that he would be the perfect writer for a book of Norse mythology. He is. In fact, Gaiman seems born to write (or rewrite) myths.Norse mythology is actually one I've always been less familiar with. I know Greek, Roman and Egyptian fairly well, and some Indian as well, but my knowledge of Norse mythology kind of ends at Odin, Loki, Thor and Thor's hammer. And even then I don't know much about what they all did. To me, this book was very interesting and informative as well as a compelling pageturner.Gaiman recreates Norse myths in his signature style, with a bit of humour, a whole bunch of complex characters, and a big serving of charm. He makes the stories feel modern and fresh, yet still timeless. You feel like you're reading about millennia-old gods, but it's very accessible to today's reader.Norse Mythology is told in short stories. Some of the chapters are very short - only a page or two long - and others are slightly longer. I liked how easy it was to dip in and out of. I could go read some of my other books between stories and return to this without a problem. I know ease of reading should not be a top priority, but it is great to find a book that makes experiencing its stories as easy and non-demanding as possible.It is fast-paced and action-packed, but what shines through most of all is how all these stories tie into important aspects of the real world - as stories about gods tend to do. This is a fascinating portrait of a time and a people who really truly believed in Odin and Loki and their many escapades. It's funny, it's eye-opening, and it's very enjoyable. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Bookdragon Sean
    January 1, 1970
    Gaiman is, without a doubt, one of the most multi-talented writers alive today. I don’t say this out of a sense of personal bias, but with a degree of objectivity. Not only does he write fantastic comics, intelligent children’s stories and detailed novels about the nature of godhood (even if I didn’t personally enjoy them all), he also has adapted Norse mythology and re-written it with his modern stylish flair. He really is a talented man; he is capable of that rare, rare, thing of being able to Gaiman is, without a doubt, one of the most multi-talented writers alive today. I don’t say this out of a sense of personal bias, but with a degree of objectivity. Not only does he write fantastic comics, intelligent children’s stories and detailed novels about the nature of godhood (even if I didn’t personally enjoy them all), he also has adapted Norse mythology and re-written it with his modern stylish flair. He really is a talented man; he is capable of that rare, rare, thing of being able to write fiction that is worthy of literary criticism but is also ridiculously popular and, well, just plain cool. He has many years of writing ahead of him (I hope.) And I don’t think it is too far a thing to suggest that he may win the noble prize for literature in his lifetime. He has contributed much to the arts, and this work here shows he has much more to give. I think he really deserves it. So here he has retold some already excellent stories. In doing so he makes them approachable and, perhaps even, more engaging for a reader today. I do like old poetry, though not everyone does. I think this can be taken as either an introduction to such works or simply as it is at face value. And it really is what it says on the cover: it’s a whole bunch or Norse stories about some familiar faces. We have Odin, conniving and powerful. We have Thor, strong and honourable. And we have Loki, cunning and ingenious with his own complex intentions. They do battle with each other, with the elements and a whole host of nasties. But not before Gaiman takes the time to provide you with guided tour of Yggdrasil and the nine worlds that take root from her. He clearly establishes the confounds of this mythology before he even begins. The collection ends with the most appropriate tale of them all, Ragnarok: the final destiny of the gods. It spends the entirety of the collection building up to it:“Until now I have told you of things that have happened in the past- things that happened a long time ago. Now I shall tell you of the days to come”Thus we witness the end of time. The gods fight in one final glorious battle. Loki, naturally, does not fight with the gods of Asgard. Instead he leads the armies of the dead against them. Many of the gods will die, and the pattern will begin anew as their offspring pick up the weapons of their slain forbears; ultimately, taking on their mantels. The cycle continues, as Gaiman captures the heart of Norse mythology here. What I also noticed is how these tales have affected his other works. Sure, the characters are different; yes, the setting is warped into something else, but you can clearly see how writing this, and researching this, has oozed out into his other projects. This ideas of rejuvenation is repeated in the Sandman series, for example. Gaiman also narrates his personal journey in the introduction; this book has been a long time coming: this topic has clearly helped to propel much of his writing, and it really is worth hearing about.
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    I am no longer a Neil Gaiman virgin. Being a mythology nut, I practically devoured it in one sitting. Odin Thor Frigg Tyr Loki Baldur Heimdall Idun Bragi Vidar Váli Njord Frey and Freyja Nótt
  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely short, but imminently readable. This is one of the best straight mythology books I've read when it comes to pure enjoyment. I say this, fully aware that I'm a Gaiman fanboy, and yet, I still mean it. :)Don't look for fiction here. Rather, look for the source material and a clear understanding of the Norse mythos as far as we have it. So much has been lost and then, there's a ton of fragments. Alas. But what we do have is quite cool.My personal favorite was the story of Baldur's murder Definitely short, but imminently readable. This is one of the best straight mythology books I've read when it comes to pure enjoyment. I say this, fully aware that I'm a Gaiman fanboy, and yet, I still mean it. :)Don't look for fiction here. Rather, look for the source material and a clear understanding of the Norse mythos as far as we have it. So much has been lost and then, there's a ton of fragments. Alas. But what we do have is quite cool.My personal favorite was the story of Baldur's murder and the attempt to raise him up from Hel's domain. Hel even agrees, graciously, to let him come back from the dead as long as not a single person on any level of the World Tree refuses to weep for the man. Baldur is a sweet man that makes the flowers grow, for goodness sake... and it was a very close race... but you know how these things go.We all know that LOKI is the reason we can't have nice things. Forget children. I blame Loki. :)I love the fact that wits and brawn are held in equal esteem, but I sure wish there was a lot more stories about the women. There's plenty of hints. Just lost fragments, however. It's a shame.Still, what we've got is enough to whet anyone's appetite and I even think this is a perfectly appropriate text for young ones, too. I definitely plan on reading it to my kid once she holds still long enough for it. :) It'll be a nice companion to the The Kalevala and some Greek stuff, too. :)Go Fenrir! (I'd really love to see Cthulhu go up against him.)
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  • Katerina
    January 1, 1970
    In the beginning, there was nothing but mist and flames.At least, that's what the Edda claims.I've always been fascinated with Norse Mythology (and with everything ancient in general). With its strong impact on Marvel's movies, metal music and J.R.R. Tolkien, the AllFather of high fantasy, references to the mighty Gods of Asgard, and the impending twilight thereof, are a part of daily life. Neil Gaiman did not invent a story from the start. He had the material, the facts, the descriptions ready. In the beginning, there was nothing but mist and flames.At least, that's what the Edda claims.I've always been fascinated with Norse Mythology (and with everything ancient in general). With its strong impact on Marvel's movies, metal music and J.R.R. Tolkien, the AllFather of high fantasy, references to the mighty Gods of Asgard, and the impending twilight thereof, are a part of daily life. Neil Gaiman did not invent a story from the start. He had the material, the facts, the descriptions ready. Yet Norse Mythology is the stellar proof of his tremendous talent and ingenuity, because like a new Odin, he instilled breath in myths existing for thousands of years, he commanded to life frost giants, demons, dwarves, elves, Æsir and Vanir alike, and crafted a marvelous collection of stories, ideal to read them in a cold winter's night, next to a grinding fire, holding a cup of warm content, while your mind travels in wild landscapes and flies in the form of a raven, spying the creation of the world and its destruction, only to be reborn again. For in Norse Mythology, it is obvious that rebirth always follows death. “Behind the depth, before the heightSurrounded by the serpent JörmundgandWorld of man in the middleOf heat and ice built by the Ymer brow” One of the most astonishing things you realise while reading Norse Mythology, is that human minds work in a similar manner all over the world. You can't help but notice the similarities with other mythologies, the traditions of people who thrived miles away. Take the creation of the Nine Worlds for example: there was a flood, one created by Ymer's blood, that destroyed all life only to start it anew. You will notice the same pattern in Greek Mythology, with Deucalion and Pyrrha, in Genesis, with Noah's ark, and many other cultures, like the Aboriginal tribes and the Mayas. You will also discover the origins of the Middle Earth's creation, and the races inhabiting it, and you'll marvel at the parallels between Gjallerhorn, which will be blown by Heimdall at the end of all things to wake the Gods, and the Horn of Valere which will summon the Heroes to battle in Tarmon Gai'don, the Final Battle, in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. It's chilling, and strangely satisfying.Odin, Thor and Loki are the main dramatis personae, followed by Freyr and Freya, Baldr and Týr. Through Neil Gaiman's eyes, his witty narration infused with humour, subtle comments and foreboding, you witness Odin's quest for wisdom, and the price he had to pay to acquire it; you will find out how Loki made Sif go bald, and thus the greatest treasures came to the possesion of the Gods; you will follow a strange man's efforts to create the walls of Asgard, demanding to be paid with the sun, the moon and beautiful Freya. “FrøyaBlue her eyesGold of hairA maiden so fair” You will shiver before the children of Loki, the serpent of Midgard, the lady of the realm of the Dead, and wolf Fenrir, the demise of the Gods. “I watched as he shoutedTo the giants who died that dayHe held up his hammer highAnd called to Odin for a sign” You will laugh at Thor's disguise in order to take back Mjolnir, and taste the heavenly mead of Poetry and Widsom, which was made of blood; you'll visit the land of the giants alongside Thor and Loki and you'll be tricked by illusions; you'll search for the apples of Iðunn which grant eternal youth (apples of Hesperides anyone?) after the Gods lost them thanks to Loki; you'll see Freyr finding his missing part; you will steal the cauldron that brews the greatest beer; and you will mourn the death of the Sun. “Honour your brother's name, unarmed or blindLet me aid you in your aim, don't stay behind Let's maim immortality and death to a deity” You will find out how the first fishing net was created and why, and finally, you will freeze in the Coldest Winter, the prelude to the extinction of mankind, and the Twilight of the Gods.Ragnarök. “RagnarökSee the earth go up in flamesRagnarökThe great serpent writhes in rageThe doom of gods now hath comeThe fall of the sunThe gates of Hel devour the deadAt the twilight of the gods” Neil Gaiman's pantheon is ruled by the same passions, desires and ambitions with the mortals. His Gods are naive and cruel, spontaneous and bloodthirsty; Thor is not particularly bright (nor as hot as Chris Hemsworth), and Loki is a spiteful creature, a puppeteer, a troublemaker and by the end, you'll crave his suffering. “Asgard's always been my homeBut I'm of different bloodI will overthrow the throneDeceiver!Deceiver of the gods!” Norse Mythology may not be original in its content, but it is innovative and deeply inspiring in its prose, and the blessed talent of the hand that wrote it. It is a quick and relaxing read I highly recommend if you're searching for your next epic adventure! “Thor! Odin's sonProtector of mankindRide to meet your fateYour destiny awaits” *Buddy read with Eliasdgian* Playlist (in order of lyrics' appearance) Midgard - Therion Frøya's Theme - Leave's Eyes Thor - Manowar Brother's Bane - Týr Ragnarök - Stormwarrior Deceiver of the Gods - Amon Amarth Twilight of the Thunder God - Sabaton (Amon Amarth cover)
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  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/5 StarsGilgamesh from Mesopotamian religion, Izanagi from Japanese creation myth and Zeus from Greek myth. These are a few popular figures from many mythologies around the globe. I’m here to let you know my thoughts on one of the most popular and well known mythology, Norse Mythology, told by Neil Gaiman with Odin, Thor, and Loki at the center of the lore.Norse mythology has always been one of the foundations used for most fictional stories in our time. I grew up playing tons of video games 3.5/5 StarsGilgamesh from Mesopotamian religion, Izanagi from Japanese creation myth and Zeus from Greek myth. These are a few popular figures from many mythologies around the globe. I’m here to let you know my thoughts on one of the most popular and well known mythology, Norse Mythology, told by Neil Gaiman with Odin, Thor, and Loki at the center of the lore.Norse mythology has always been one of the foundations used for most fictional stories in our time. I grew up playing tons of video games that were based on these myths without even realizing that they were based on the mythology in the first place. For instance, Odin as a summon in Final Fantasy franchise, Einherjar that were taken to Valhalla by the Valkyrie in preparation for Ragnarok in Valkyrie Profile series, or Yggdrasil, the tree of life that were depicted in Breath of Fire III but I won’t bore you with these countless video games adaptations. Let’s do the most famous example: Thor and Loki from Marvel Universe. This franchise is so damn popular that every time the name Thor and Loki were mentioned, I can’t help but envisioned Chris Hemsworth and Toms Hiddleston as the canon facial features, flaunting their long hair everywhere like they’re in a shampoo commercial. (No idea why, they just do.)Picture: Hair of the GodsAnyway, my point is, Norse mythology is a really important source of material for our current media entertainment and I admit, it has always been one of my favorite mythologies along with Japanese, Greek and Rome mythology.Norse Mythology is an EXACT retelling of Poetic Edda, the source material of the myth, which is already fantastic in its own way. Neil Gaiman did a great job in adapting the source into a collection of short stories with his own words that made it enjoyable to read, especially for beginner to the myth but for me who’s been fed with this myth for almost 20 years, I wish there’s something new to be found here. For those of you who don’t know, the basic outline of Norse Mythology is about the creation of the worlds until the final battle between the Gods and the creatures that will destroy the worlds. In case someone who doesn’t know about the myth stumbled upon this review, I won’t tell you about the battle itself other than in my opinion, it's always epic, in all adaptations. Picture: An example of the kind of battle you’ll find in Ragnarok.I find Neil’s retelling enjoyable to read but I do have two main problems with it.-First, as I mentioned before, for those of you who’ve known about this myth already, you won’t find anything new here, this is an EXACT retelling that it almost feel like a copy and paste to me. I came into this book with the expectation that it will be a full novel with Neil’s own rendition of the myth but nope, you can actually go to Wikipedia, search Norse Mythology and voila, you’ll find the story told here.-Secondly, this is a really expensive book for its content. It cost $20 where I live and for a 2 to 3 hour read of a story I’ve heard about almost my whole life is really not worth it. I received this book from my friend otherwise I’ll feel so robbed personally. “The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.” Overall, I personally still think that this book is a great introduction to the myth. The original source, the Poetic Edda languages are hard to dive into and it’s more of an info dump compared to this. Despite not finding anything original here, I still find it enjoyable and good to read. I definitely recommend this to any Norse Mythology beginner, Neil Gaiman did a great job in this retelling and it’s so easy to understand the words he wrote. Plus, Norse Mythology is one of the best myths out there. You owe it to yourself to read it if you’re interested in knowing more about the original tale of Odin, Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, Balder, Fenrir, Mjollnir and many more names, I'll let you find out about them by yourself.Picture: Norse Mythology by Marc SimonettiYou can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
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  • Dan Schwent
    January 1, 1970
    Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a compulsively readable retelling of various myths from Norse Mythology.Once upon a time, in that hazy prehistoric time before Goodreads, Neil Gaiman was my favorite author. Sandman was the gateway drug but I read all the Gaiman works I could get my hands on: American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline, Stardust, you get the point. As the years went by, some of the shine wore off that penny. As I explored Gaimain's influences, like P.G. Wodehouse and Ray Bradbury, some Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a compulsively readable retelling of various myths from Norse Mythology.Once upon a time, in that hazy prehistoric time before Goodreads, Neil Gaiman was my favorite author. Sandman was the gateway drug but I read all the Gaiman works I could get my hands on: American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline, Stardust, you get the point. As the years went by, some of the shine wore off that penny. As I explored Gaimain's influences, like P.G. Wodehouse and Ray Bradbury, some of the magic was diminished.Anyway, I heard Gaimain was writing this book and my interest was rekindled. I've been curious about Norse mythology since reading my first Thor comic. Gaimain delivers the goods here.In Norse Mythology, Gaimain retells fifteen Norse myths, from the creation of the Aesir to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, making them accessible to the modern reader.All of the Norse gods you're familiar with from pop culture, namely Odin, Thor, Loki, Balder, and Heimdall, are here, as well as a slew of others like Vidar, Kvasir, and Hod. I was tangentially aware of some of what transpired, like Loki giving birth to a six-legged horse and Odin hanging from Yggdrasil, the world tree, for nine days and nights before gaining his wisdom, but a lot of it was new to me. The Aesir sure liked to booze it up, didn't they?While there was quite a bit to like about this book, the thing that really stuck in my mind was Naglfar, the ship of the dead made out of fingernails. Really. Loki tying his junk to the beard of a goat for entertainment purposes was right up there, though.Reading Norse Mythology, I noticed echoes of it in fantasy novels I've read in past couple decades, most notably The Elric Saga Part II and The First Chronicles of Amber. For my money, this is the best thing Gaimain has done since The Graveyard Book (though Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock was also pretty sweet.) Four out of five stars.
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    Hammer of the gods!A book written by NEIL GAIMAN about NORSE MYTHOLOGY was a book I was going to read. There was no way I was NOT going to read it. Mr. Gaiman might as well have mentioned me in the dedication page “… and of course Lyn must read this.”And I was going to like it. He could have written “They were blond and cold. The end.” and I’d have said WOW! succinctly stated, he’s a genius!!!Thankfully Gaiman goes into some more detail and has crafted for us a beautiful modern saga of the coole Hammer of the gods!A book written by NEIL GAIMAN about NORSE MYTHOLOGY was a book I was going to read. There was no way I was NOT going to read it. Mr. Gaiman might as well have mentioned me in the dedication page “… and of course Lyn must read this.”And I was going to like it. He could have written “They were blond and cold. The end.” and I’d have said WOW! succinctly stated, he’s a genius!!!Thankfully Gaiman goes into some more detail and has crafted for us a beautiful modern saga of the coolest pantheon in the multiverse. I, of course, revisited Deities & Demigods: Cyclopedia of Gods and Heroes from Myth and Legend and refreshed my memory of these badass northerners.And like Norman Mailer did with Egyptian mythology in Ancient Evenings, and like Kevin Hearne is doing with the Celtic gods in his Iron Druid books, so too does Gaiman give life and breath to ancient myth. I am also reminded of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and how he was able to craft a First Age mythos for his fantasy.We learn that unlike the money making Marvel heroes, these gods and goddesses are complicated and unfit for easy labels and stereotypes. This also made me think of myth in terms of ancient psychological needs and how primitives came up with the gods and their stories. A comparative religion study could trace the similarities in many legends and ancient belief systems. I am especially interested in a comparative study of Loki and other trickster gods like Coyote and Anansi. I was also reminded of American Tall Tales like Paul Bunyon and Pecos Bill and I thought of the origins of these kinds of stories.And the author of American Gods is uniquely able to make this more than just a history lesson about primitive theology, and also more than just a current re-telling of legend. Gaiman reveals Loki as a colorful and complex rogue who is, like most of these figures, more than simply bad or good. (Although Deities & Demigods does list him as Chaotic Evil). Odin is darker and more mysterious than a grandfatherly figure; he’s cunning, dangerous and unpredictable. Thor is a simple and straightforward brute, sometimes petulant and easily misled. Gaiman’s interpretation of the death of Baldr was also very poignant.So turn on Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, tap a keg of mead and enjoy!Recommended for Gaiman fans, myth and legend fans and everyone else, a fun book.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    First off the cover of this book is amaze balls! I just freaking love it! ❤ Many gods and goddesses are named in Norse mythology. You will meet quite a few of them in these pages. Most of the stories we have, however, concern two gods, Odin and his son Thor, and Odin's blood brother, a giant's son called Loki, who lives with the Aesir in Asgard. I have always wanted to read a good book on Norse Mythology and I think Neil Gaiman did a great job explaining some things before the stories. The diffe First off the cover of this book is amaze balls! I just freaking love it! ❤ Many gods and goddesses are named in Norse mythology. You will meet quite a few of them in these pages. Most of the stories we have, however, concern two gods, Odin and his son Thor, and Odin's blood brother, a giant's son called Loki, who lives with the Aesir in Asgard. I have always wanted to read a good book on Norse Mythology and I think Neil Gaiman did a great job explaining some things before the stories. The different stories were awesome, okay, some were mean and what not but they were just so awesome. Stories of the gods and giants and ogres and cunning and trickery. I just loved it. This book isn't very long at all and the stories are short but I think they were still great. We don't always have to read big tomes to get good stories =) That being said, I think this would have been a cool trilogy of stories, but that's just my opinion. I would liked to have seen two more books. I think that anyone that loves the gods will love or like this book. I would recommend it for all of the great stories. I can see how they all wanted to drop-kick Loki across the room =)MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
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  • Amalia Gavea
    January 1, 1970
    "Had Ragnarok happened yet? Was it still to happen?I did not know then.I am not certain now." *Disclaimer--Offensive comments regarding which country has the “best and most diverse mythology in the world” (yes, there were people actually writing about and fighting over that (!) or comments regarding religion in general will be immediately deleted and flagged. There’s YouTube and Facebook if some want to engage in such nonsense as fighting over thin air….*Norse myths (aka Odin,Loki,Thor,Freya,th "Had Ragnarok happened yet? Was it still to happen?I did not know then.I am not certain now." *Disclaimer--Offensive comments regarding which country has the “best and most diverse mythology in the world” (yes, there were people actually writing about and fighting over that (!) or comments regarding religion in general will be immediately deleted and flagged. There’s YouTube and Facebook if some want to engage in such nonsense as fighting over thin air….*Norse myths (aka Odin,Loki,Thor,Freya,the giants,the dwarves, etc.) + Neil Gaiman equals instant,certain, glorious success.This review will be short because what can I say that hasn't been said? And consider yourselves warned because I am going to sound like a major fangirl and I regret nothing:)World mythologies can be tricky,in my opinion.They're alive,well-known,interesting by themselves.Choosing to use them as a retelling can become a boomerang in the hands of an incompetent author.Naturally,this isn't the case here.Neil Gaiman takes the Norse legends and transforms them into a sequence of tales that may be episodic but are linked to each other in a coherent way, written in a beautiful language that is contemporary and poetic.And most importantly, he approached his material with the utmost respect and wasn't influenced by recent popular teenage notions and Marvel abominations....(I hate those things,sorry....)His introduction is a wonderful text in which Gaiman explains his deep fascination with the myths of the lands of the North.Let us not forget that in Mr.Wednesday,Gaiman has created a version of Odin that would have satisfied even Grimnir himself.Had he existed,of course.The journey starts with the tale of the creation of the world by Odin,Vili and Ve after the killing of the giant Ymir.Then,we come to know the importance of Yggdrasil,the sacred tree, and the way the Norns hover over the past,the present and the future.All the beloved myths are here.Loki's cute children, the building of the Wall, the marriage of the false Freya,Idunn's apples,the trials of Loki and Thor in the Hall of the Giant king,Frey's search for happiness and the tragic tale of Baldr and many other legends are given new life in Gaiman's masterful hands.And of course,the shadow of impending doom,the Ragnarok, is always present, every time Loki speaks,every time he works on his tricks.The chapter that talks about the Twilight of the Gods is the most chilling description of Ragnarok you will ever read….The narration is smoothly divided between the major deities,even though the Big Three are the focus.Gaiman is the omniscient narrator and allows the reader to sit back, enjoy the tales and contemplate on their epicness.It is not dry or disengaged. It is storytelling in the good, old-fashioned way. Although I was very familiar with the vast majority of the myths, I felt as if I was reading them for the first time.The dialogues are beautiful,without being modernized and each God and goddess have their own distinctive voice.The spirituality that inevitably escorts every mythology of the world is present and the deities are portrayed as complex characters,unlike other recent attempts that tried to portray them as sarcastic,stupid archetypes.Gods are anything but archetypes. People’s minds created them to invoke and communicate all the traits of mankind, the good and the bad, and I don’t think mankind is supported on archetypes.We just have to look closely.After having read The Gospel of Loki, which was a major disappointment,Norse Mythology is more than fresh air.It is Mythology at its best.It is a creation as beautiful as its cover on which Thor's Mjøllnir invites us to enter a realm of beauty,strength and deceit. "That's the joy of myths.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, and in some dark and icy winter's evening, or on a summer night when the sun will not set,tell your friends what happened when Thor's hammer was stolen, or how Odin obtained the Mead of poetry for the gods...." Neil Gaiman
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  • Paul O'Neill
    January 1, 1970
    What a fantastic retelling of Norse Myths. Featuring 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 rea What a fantastic retelling of Norse Myths. Featuring 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 thoughtGaiman 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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  • Ahmed Ejaz
    January 1, 1970
    **Spoiler Free Review** There is no glory without danger Before beginning the review, I clear out that I read this book as a fictional work not as the work which I believe can be/is true. I am telling you because this book was getting little serious about narrating these myths. Like trying to make us believe these are real facts. Now, the actual review: This book is the re-writing of Norse Mythology. Author doesn't exaggerate the facts. He simply re-writes some of the popular myths in pretty s **Spoiler Free Review** There is no glory without danger Before beginning the review, I clear out that I read this book as a fictional work not as the work which I believe can be/is true. I am telling you because this book was getting little serious about narrating these myths. Like trying to make us believe these are real facts. Now, the actual review: This book is the re-writing of Norse Mythology. Author doesn't exaggerate the facts. He simply re-writes some of the popular myths in pretty straight-forward way. I really liked the writing style. Most of the myths are about Odin, Thor and Loki. In the whole fifteen myths, I just loved four:=> The Children of Loki=>Freya's Unusual Wedding [this is hilarious]=>Thor's Journey to the Land's of Giants [this myth has some great universal truths]=> The Treasures of gods [if you wanna know how Thor got his Hammer, read it]These are those which I enjoyed the most. Other than these were just fine. Some of them I liked as a fiction. Some of them I didn't even like as a fiction. I liked Loki. He was clever. Evil. Cause of every bad deed. But he was little good too. I couldn't decide whether he was completely good or completely bad. Thor was also good. I liked reading his myths too. I couldn't like Odin that much. He was just fine.After reading this book, I wouldn't recommend this book to children. Even though this book is totally fine for them. But still I won't be recommending this to them. I hope some of you have gotten an idea why I am saying this. Believe me this book is totally fine for them. But I am not feeling that they should read this book. Of course when they will have grown-up then there is no harm.Or the most important thing I almost forgot to tell you that this was my first Mythology reading. I thought these were just like our regular fantasy genre. But now I think that there is a great joy in reading myths as a part of books' plot. Like Rick Reordan's books. Rather than reading the original myths. Don't get me wrong, please!Nevertheless, this book is good. Highly recommended for those who love reading original myths. But not for children until their mature age.☆☆3.5 Stars☆☆ When something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time -- ThorApril 5, 2017
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  • Philip
    January 1, 1970
    2.5ish starsInteresting folklore told competently, descriptively and cleverly. That's about the gist of it.Most of the stories were new to me. Some of them I enjoyed more than others. All of the blurbs describe this as Gaiman's "version/rendition/interpretation" of the mythos (and he presents a good rendition) rather than actual fiction. As such, this was more of a "that was cool I'm glad I read that" read than a "whoa coolest book ever!" read. Favorites: The Treasures of the Gods, Freya's Unusu 2.5ish starsInteresting folklore told competently, descriptively and cleverly. That's about the gist of it.Most of the stories were new to me. Some of them I enjoyed more than others. All of the blurbs describe this as Gaiman's "version/rendition/interpretation" of the mythos (and he presents a good rendition) rather than actual fiction. As such, this was more of a "that was cool I'm glad I read that" read than a "whoa coolest book ever!" read. Favorites: The Treasures of the Gods, Freya's Unusual Wedding, Thor's Journey to the Land of the Giants (all the silly ones with Thor being a doofus) and The Death of BalderAlso Gaiman is a really awesome audiobook performer! It surprised me!
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  • Magrat Ajostiernos
    January 1, 1970
    Igual es un poco loco darle 5 ESTRELLAZAS a este libro pero es que lo he disfrutado DEMASIADO.Este volumen es una manera genial de introducirse en los mitos nórdicos contados de manera super entretenida, ligera, divertida y al mismo tiempo informativa.Igual influye que amo la mitología nórdica y que amo a Gaiman, pero el caso es que ha sido una lectura de 10 para mi. ¿Dónde hay que votar para que Gaiman escriba más libros sobre leyendas y mitología?#LOKIFOREVAH
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  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    January 1, 1970
    I do not have a strong knowledge of any mythology as a general rule. It's something I've been wanting to remedy for a while, but it's a vast subject.I've known for a while that Gaiman was working on Norse Mythology (for almost 8 years wowza!), and that many of his stories and characters take inspiration from the Norse tales. So naturally, I pre-ordered this one.I did enjoy this. It's a selection of tales, mostly focusing on Odin, Loki, and Thor, that all lead up to Ragnarok, the end of the world I do not have a strong knowledge of any mythology as a general rule. It's something I've been wanting to remedy for a while, but it's a vast subject.I've known for a while that Gaiman was working on Norse Mythology (for almost 8 years wowza!), and that many of his stories and characters take inspiration from the Norse tales. So naturally, I pre-ordered this one.I did enjoy this. It's a selection of tales, mostly focusing on Odin, Loki, and Thor, that all lead up to Ragnarok, the end of the world. It's a quick read, and decently accurate. Gaiman retold these stories in an interesting way, in layman's terms, and definitely taught me a couple things I did not know. I think this book accomplished what it set out to accomplish, but I guess I was looking for a little more. I haven't read scores of mythology books in order to know how this holds up against other existing works, but I stayed present more for Gaiman's brilliant writing style than for the actual stories he chose to retell.Throughout the book I saw glimpses of some characters I would've liked to hear more about, such as Fenrir, Loki's wolf son. Perhaps substantial material on these gods does not exist, but they caught my attention and I definitely wanted to explore more of their story. But as I mentioned earlier, a large portion of the focus was on Loki and Thor.I must say though Loki is a very interesting dude... maybe I'm just ignorant but I didn't realize he is literally at the heart of every problem.From his author's note, I'm to understand that Gaiman would've liked to focus on some lesser known Gods, but that there simply is not enough source material to accurately and effectively retell their tales. While I appreciate that this book exists, I don't believe it is something I'll ever revisit.
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  • Seemita
    January 1, 1970
    [Originally appeared here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]Of all the fiction in this world, I find the ones rooted in mythology the most enticing; not because there is an element of otherworldly magic in them but because somewhere deep down, a bewitching veil of truth hovers above them. The characters we read of, the prowess we fall to, the betrayals we appall at and the spells we dive in, have all a debatable root which almost like our very own samudra manthan of the Hindu mythology [Originally appeared here: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/li...]Of all the fiction in this world, I find the ones rooted in mythology the most enticing; not because there is an element of otherworldly magic in them but because somewhere deep down, a bewitching veil of truth hovers above them. The characters we read of, the prowess we fall to, the betrayals we appall at and the spells we dive in, have all a debatable root which almost like our very own samudra manthan of the Hindu mythology, can be twisted this way or that. As most myths are made lesser of primary evidence and more of a secondary interpretation, there is a hidden little room of sorts from where you can see as far as you can, like Heimdall in this book. He is a kind of parallel to Mahabharata’s Sanjaya.Neil Gaiman takes the essence of Norse mythology and spins a riveting web around it. Although he makes it clear in the beginning that this book will focus on the three towering characters of Odin, the all-father of gods, Thor, Odin’s powerful son and Loki, Odin’s shrewd, evil blood-brother (and eventual enemy), the chapters easily transcend the trio and throw open an enchanted window to the Germanic myths. Chronicling the journey right from the beginning when nothing existed and going all the way to Ragnarok, the apocalyptic war that wiped the gods and the giants, Gaiman deploys an easy and engaging language to retell the myths that remain fraught with magic, power, bonds, guilt, murder, betrayal, repentance, revenge and redemption. I chuckled at the story where Thor and his two companions are put to a series of illusory tests by a giant who didn’t want his kingdom to be usurped by the mighty Thor. I felt sombre at the unfortunate fate that was handed over to the Hel, Fenrir and Jörmungandr, the children of Loki from a giantess, just because they didn’t resemble the gods. I read with palpable excitement the battle of skills when the two most accomplished dwarfs, the craftsmen of the Norse world, were pitted against each other to create the most unique gifts for the gods. Mjölnir, the heroic hammer of Thor, was an outcome of this competition.For most parts, the chapters were taut and action-oriented. Crisp and to the point, the narrative had a very clear agenda of telling the myths the way they were documented to be told. However, for the keen eyes who look out for detailed landscape and an aura of environment that inevitably leave a mark on the characters and their becoming with the passage of time, there may be something amiss. Questions of morality and immorality, mortality and immortality, lay suspended without direction. Now, perhaps, the objective of this book was to stuff in as many incidents as possible into the terse 300 pages, effectively closing the alternative of detailed painting and reflecting. However, Gaiman’s version remains faithful to the original and one may ditch the expansive road in the favour of a vertiginous fall.---- Also on my blog.
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  • Bil
    January 1, 1970
    More like two and a half to three stars. As much as I enjoy reading a collection of myths (even reading them as bedtime stories), this one disappointed me. I am certain that Neil Gaiman has solidified his name as an author of fiction novels but I have only read one book from his collected works so this makes me a Gaiman novice.Like any mythic fiction, Norse Mythology is rooted from various folklore about natural phenomena symbolized as gods and supernatural creatures. As a kid, I have also had m More like two and a half to three stars. As much as I enjoy reading a collection of myths (even reading them as bedtime stories), this one disappointed me. I am certain that Neil Gaiman has solidified his name as an author of fiction novels but I have only read one book from his collected works so this makes me a Gaiman novice.Like any mythic fiction, Norse Mythology is rooted from various folklore about natural phenomena symbolized as gods and supernatural creatures. As a kid, I have also had my fair share of readings on Nordic myths like Mr. Gaiman; from reading old novels, online wikis and even other retellings. There is no other way for me to review this novel but to compare it to the original and other retellings.Although I am not well-versed in all Norse myths, I am well-aware of the crucial tales; from the creation of the world until the end, Ragnarok. I took pleasure in reading from the beginning but the narrative continued to bore me as I delved deeper into the book. Having read countless of the same stories, I needed more creativity. Unfortunately, I did not get that here. For me, this was more of a rewording of the original and not a retelling. If there is anything I got from the stories is that the gods are tragic, even petty.I hate to compare this to Hotel Valhalla but even Rick Riordan's own middle-grade retelling is way more inventive. This was just lackluster. Regardless, it was still nice to revisit these old tales. I think this would have been a better read if I possessed little or no knowledge at all about Norse mythology.
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  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    Full review now posted!When I was a little girl, I was completely obsessed with mythology. Greek, Roman (or Greek with different names, because Rome was nothing if not unoriginal), Norse, Egyptian, Indian, Native American, Japanese, Russian, etc, were all equally interesting to me. I wanted to know what ancient civilizations believed and why, and how those beliefs still influenced their culture. My faith was important to me and heavily influenced how I viewed the world, so why wouldn’t I be inte Full review now posted!When I was a little girl, I was completely obsessed with mythology. Greek, Roman (or Greek with different names, because Rome was nothing if not unoriginal), Norse, Egyptian, Indian, Native American, Japanese, Russian, etc, were all equally interesting to me. I wanted to know what ancient civilizations believed and why, and how those beliefs still influenced their culture. My faith was important to me and heavily influenced how I viewed the world, so why wouldn’t I be interested in what so heavily influenced other people groups throughout history? As a fourth grader, I was teaching short mythology lessons to junior-high kids before state testing. I loved to learn, and the natural overflow of that love was teaching others. Even then, I always included a segment on Judeo-Christian beliefs, so I could share what I believed as I had shared what ancients believed. I cut my teeth on Edith Hamilton’s Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, Bulfinch's Mythology, most of Joseph Campbell’s mythology books, and more. There was one problem, though. Even though mythology books held incredibly interesting myths, they were generally conveyed like research papers instead of stories. They put forth the tales, but the telling of those tales was generally severely lacking. That was not at all the case with Gaiman’s addition to the mythology genre. He brought in his natural storytelling and breathed new life into the Norse mythos. The book seems small, but writing something of this magnitude was completely outside of his norm, and required more research and tighter restrictions on how that research was interpreted that most novelists ever have to worry about. I respect what he did here immensely, and am excited that now, when a kid develops a love of mythology, they’ll have access to tales well told.The adventures of Odin, Thor, and Loki were a pleasure to read. There were a lot of myths that I had forgotten about or never retained due to the clunky writing of other mythology books. Quite a few of these had me grimacing at one paragraph and laughing at the next. Norse myths are incredibly violent. Their creation myth was the bloodiest creation mythos I ever remember reading. But even in Ragnarok, the end of the world as foretold by the Norsemen, there is hope to be found. I could go into dissecting the stories, but I would hate to spoil anything for someone who is just becoming interested in mythology. But I will say that now I have a burning desire to reread Gaiman’s American Gods. Pick this up if you’ve ever had any kind of interest in ancient beliefs. Just know that this is no novel; this is a faithful retelling of ancient tales, but with style. You’ll learn something if you decide to read this, and you’ll have fun doing it!For more of reviews, as well as my own fiction and thoughts on life, check out my blog, Celestial Musings
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  • PorshaJo
    January 1, 1970
    I have a confession.....Neil Gaiman is my literary crush (well, one of two) and it in no way influences my feelings for this book. Well, maybe it does. I love everything that he writes and this one is no exception. When I saw he had a new book coming out on Norse Mythology I couldn't wait to get it. Norse Mythology is a series of stories of myths of the Norse Gods. You learn about Odin, Thor, Loki and many others, how they all came to be. You learn of Asgard, the giants, dwarfs, and more. You he I have a confession.....Neil Gaiman is my literary crush (well, one of two) and it in no way influences my feelings for this book. Well, maybe it does. I love everything that he writes and this one is no exception. When I saw he had a new book coming out on Norse Mythology I couldn't wait to get it. Norse Mythology is a series of stories of myths of the Norse Gods. You learn about Odin, Thor, Loki and many others, how they all came to be. You learn of Asgard, the giants, dwarfs, and more. You hear how Thor got his hammer, and then lost it for a very short period of time. You hear so much of the trickster Loki (and who doesn't love Loki). Some stories are quite short and some a bit longer. Some made me see how mean the gods can be and others made me laugh. I have to admit, I have never read a book of Norse mythology so I can't say how this interpretation by Gaiman compares. I thoroughly enjoyed all the stories and savored this one. I immediately started flying through this book as it's so good, but slowed down just to make it last.I had the print version of this, because it arrived first. I ordered both the audio and print. The audio is still in my queue and I plan to listen to this one when it arrives. There is nothing better than having Neil Gaiman read his work. It's almost magical. Yes, yes...I did say he IS my literary crush.Anyway, a great book from Gaiman that gave me some insight into how these tales inspired him in many of his works. Makes me want to go back and re-read American Gods. Granted, this is not my favorite book of his, but a good introduction to Norse mythology. A good book for someone wanting to get started with Gaiman and not exactly sure where to start.
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  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    “Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” This is my first comprehensive book on Norse Mythology and I was not a huge fan. Everything seems too disconnected. The Gods actions, their reactions, their punishments all don't seem to fit. There wasn't fluidity between one legend and the next - it felt like a bunch of disjointed vignettes featuring the same characters.But, considering most of my knowledge is bas “Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” This is my first comprehensive book on Norse Mythology and I was not a huge fan. Everything seems too disconnected. The Gods actions, their reactions, their punishments all don't seem to fit. There wasn't fluidity between one legend and the next - it felt like a bunch of disjointed vignettes featuring the same characters.But, considering most of my knowledge is based on Marvel movies, I can't tell if bits of the stories are being left out in this rendition, if it's Gaiman's particular style or if this is just how the myths are told. If they are anything like Greek myths, I think it could be just due to the oral traditions being scattered and warped every time they're told.I did enjoy Gaiman's style of writing. Yes, these tales are ancient but they didn't quite feel so old. Gaiman inserts humor through the word-choice that while likely not a literal translation, it certainly made for better listening. I’m not happy about any of this,” said Thor. “I’m going to kill somebody soon, just to relieve the tension. You’ll see. There's such a steep curve for keeping track of the people and things. I kept having to rewind my audiobook to figure out what I missed. Everything, right down to the cauldrons and the hammers have difficult names and sometimes multiple names. However, listening to the audiobook did make it slightly easier to handle all of those names. Of course it was Loki. It's always Loki. Audiobook CommentsRead by the author (a definitely plus)...and reading all of those crazy names was difficult but listening to them being said was significantly better for keeping track.
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  • Joanne Harris
    January 1, 1970
    A clear and child-friendly retelling of the Norse myths (I'm going to review this for The Spectator in the New Year, so I shan't post too many details today): mostly keeping to Snorri's Edda, with some details from the Poetic Edda thrown in. A very classic retelling, with few innovations and a standard structure - and a great introduction to the myths for readers who may not know of them outside of the Marvel universe...Here's a link to my more detailed Spectator review. http://www.spectator.co. A clear and child-friendly retelling of the Norse myths (I'm going to review this for The Spectator in the New Year, so I shan't post too many details today): mostly keeping to Snorri's Edda, with some details from the Poetic Edda thrown in. A very classic retelling, with few innovations and a standard structure - and a great introduction to the myths for readers who may not know of them outside of the Marvel universe...Here's a link to my more detailed Spectator review. http://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/02/th...
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  • Jokoloyo
    January 1, 1970
    This book is suitable for introduction of Norse Mythology. The book is pretty short and each story is pretty simple and not too tragic, compared to Norse Mythology that I've read on Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.There are two things which fascinates me when reading this book:1. there is hint about real life culture acculturation in Norse mythology with the story of Vanir and Aesir. When I was a child, I was confused with the concept of two countries of gods had war then made peace This book is suitable for introduction of Norse Mythology. The book is pretty short and each story is pretty simple and not too tragic, compared to Norse Mythology that I've read on Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.There are two things which fascinates me when reading this book:1. there is hint about real life culture acculturation in Norse mythology with the story of Vanir and Aesir. When I was a child, I was confused with the concept of two countries of gods had war then made peace.2. Loki is the most interesting character on the book. In earlier chapter, he seems as naughty but still responsible character. Too bad the final chapter, Ragnarok, made all the characters into generic destined-to-die-in-Ragnarok.I cannot praise this book too much. Maybe it is not Mr. Gaiman fault, but personally I wish more stories about mortals in Norse Mythology, more stories about other gods (e.g. Heimdall is pretty powerful in Ragnarok chapter. A big surprise for a character that only said something useful once prior of Ragnarok chapter), and more explanation of Loki's character. So many plot holes regarding Loki.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Εντάξει.. τι θα περίμενε κάποιος από έναν μάστερ των παραμυθιών;Εδώ λοιπόν έχουμε τις κυριότερες στιγμές της Σκανδιναβικής Μυθολογίας (αλήθεια, ξέρετε ότι κατά τον εκχριστιανισμό των Βόρειων Κρατών καταστράφηκε το μεγαλύτερο μέρος των γραπτών τους, οπότε μικρό μόνο μέρος της παράδοσής τους έχει μείνει σε εμάς; Άντε, μην τα βάζουμε μόνο με τους δικούς μας παπάδες!!!) από την αρχή όλων μέχρι το Ράγκναροκ και το τέλος των θεών. Ιστορίες με θεούς που παρουσιάζουν πολλές αδυναμίες και είναι ιδιαίτερα Εντάξει.. τι θα περίμενε κάποιος από έναν μάστερ των παραμυθιών;Εδώ λοιπόν έχουμε τις κυριότερες στιγμές της Σκανδιναβικής Μυθολογίας (αλήθεια, ξέρετε ότι κατά τον εκχριστιανισμό των Βόρειων Κρατών καταστράφηκε το μεγαλύτερο μέρος των γραπτών τους, οπότε μικρό μόνο μέρος της παράδοσής τους έχει μείνει σε εμάς; Άντε, μην τα βάζουμε μόνο με τους δικούς μας παπάδες!!!) από την αρχή όλων μέχρι το Ράγκναροκ και το τέλος των θεών. Ιστορίες με θεούς που παρουσιάζουν πολλές αδυναμίες και είναι ιδιαίτερα σκληροί και ίσως απάνθρωποι, αλλά πάντα καλοπερασάκηδες. Νομίζω ότι η αδυναμία του Gaiman είναι ο Λόκι. Και δική μου (αν και δεν θα ήθελα να έχω παρτίδες μαζί του!) "Όταν κάτι πήγαινε στραβά, ο Θωρ έκανε μια σειρά από ενέργειες. Αυτή τη φορά το πρώτο πράγμα που έκανε ήταν να αναρωτηθεί αν έφταιγε ο Λόκι. Έμεινε για λίγο συλλογισμένος. Δεν πίστευε ότι ακόμα και ο Λόκι θα τολμούσε να κλέψει το σφυρί του. Έτσι, έκανε το αμέσως επόμενο πράγμα που συνήθιζε όταν κάτι πήγαινε στραβά: πήγε να ζητήσει τη συμβουλή του Λόκι"
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  • Riley
    January 1, 1970
    This was pure delight! I am constantly in awe of Neil Gaiman. Is there anything he can't write?!
  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge fan of mythology. My specialty so far has been Ancient Egyptian mythology since I started reading about those gods when I was only 9 years old. However, my second favourite canon is that of the Norse gods. Sadly, because people like the Vikings didn't have written records, most of that mythology was lost. Moreover, the old records that we do have, have been made by men such as Snorri Sturluson, who lived many years later. That also explains why many female gods are either not mentione I'm a huge fan of mythology. My specialty so far has been Ancient Egyptian mythology since I started reading about those gods when I was only 9 years old. However, my second favourite canon is that of the Norse gods. Sadly, because people like the Vikings didn't have written records, most of that mythology was lost. Moreover, the old records that we do have, have been made by men such as Snorri Sturluson, who lived many years later. That also explains why many female gods are either not mentioned at all (we know about them from different depictions on tapestries or other art forms), or only by name/title, never in detail with the corresponding tales. This saddens me particularly - not just because I also want to hear about female gods but because the female gods we do know existed in this canon were doctors (how interesting is it that the gods needed doctors, eh?). And considering what a kick-ass character Freya is, the other female gods would have been very interesting too, I'm sure. The loss of so much of this mythology is also heartbreaking because the little we do know about Norse mythology in general is vivid, funny, and original.As usually is the case with gods (for example also with the Greek ones), the ones here are deeply flawed: they get drunk constantly, lie, cheat, trick, murder, ... some are married, some even divorced and re-married. As far as I know, this is the only mythology in which divorce is featured, but that is only to be expected if we look at the societies in which Norse mythology was dominant, because people like the Vikings were very open about it. The Norse gods aren't really "caring" as many other gods around the world were depicted. Case in point, there are a few animals that get slaughtered continuously as their sole purpose in life (Thor's goats as well as the huge boar in Valhalla, who get slaughtered, eaten, then come back to life, only to be slaughtered again) and there are no stories about humans praying to the gods and sacrificing to them to get divine help (Vikings did that but the Edda never mentions gods actually reacting unlike in other religions). What makes the Norse gods so special then? Simple: their pathos. And the rich, interwoven details of all the worlds in one of the most colourful and creative world-building I've heard of.We have Yggdrasil, the world treethat connects all creation. On its different branches and plains, from roots to crown, there are the 9 realms (Asgard, Midgard, Jötunheim, Vanaheim, Svartálfaheim/Nidavellir, Hel, Nifhel, Muspellheim, Ljósálfaheim/Álfheim - the names are spelled differently, depending on which text you're reading). In those different realms live different races (Aesir and some Vanir in Asgard, humans in Midgard, Giants in Jötunheim, Vanir in Vanaheim, Dark Elves or Dwarves in Svartálfaheim/Nidavellir, the dead (not died an honorable death / on the battlefield) in Helheim and Nifhelheim, the Fire Giants in Muspellheim, and the Light Elves in Ljósálfaheim/Álfheim).We also have messengers such as Ratatoskr, the squirrel that runs up and down the trunk of Yggdrasil to deliver messages (often lies), snakes and deer around the world tree and an eagly in its crown. We have Odin's ravens, Hugin and Munin (thought and memory), we have Sleipnir, the eight-legged horse of Odin (actually a child of Loki), we have mountains and valleys, oceans and rivers, ...Our main players in the Edda and therefore also in this book are the Aesir such as Odin and Thor, but also some Vanir like Freya and her brother. Moreover, we have Loki, a giant who nevertheless appears like an Asgardian (probably because he's a shapeshifter, he can turn into a mare, too, for example) and lives with the Aesir. The stories depict the gods' adventures, such as Odin wanting to build a wall to protect Asgard and forcing the giants to pay for it (I kid you not).Many of the stories are incredibly funny - like when Thor has to dress as a woman to get his hammer back or what happens to Loki when he transforms into the above-mentioned mare to cheat the builder of the also above-mentioned wall.But there is tragedy too. Most of all because Ragnarok (end of days). The gods have always known about it, know that they will be defeated during Ragnarok and yet they are prepaing for it (it's the sole reason for Valhalla where Odin collects all the best fighters). Think about that: they already know the ending and that it cannot be changed, but they will at least go out in a blaze of glory and take as many enemies with them as they can. A powerful message.Then again, much of Ragnarok (if not the entire thing even) could have been prevented had the gods behaved more honorably in the first place.My favourite character in the entire canon is Fenrir, son of Loki and a giantess (yes, Loki cheated on his wife, 3 times with this giantess and once by becoming a mother himself), the giant grey wolf who would have been a friend to the Aesir had they not tricked him cruelly out of fear.Remarkable about these myths is also the implications, what they tell us about the Norsemen. It is clear to me that they did not necessarily love their own gods, and definitely did not trust them. But they respected them and learned from them. They knew them to be treacherous but that only made them be on guard, using wit on top of physical strength themselves because they could see the value of the combination of brains and muscles (a very interesting effect)!This book presents the myths in their original form (as given to us in the prosaic and poetic Edda) but slightly fleshed out with Neal Gaiman offering some descriptive details, basically giving the stories a face-lift, without changing the tone or content. One can tell that the author knows his stuff and has a deep passion for Norse mythology (especially for Loki) so this book was written with the utmost respect to the source material. This respect, in fact, is palpable, making reading the stories a delight.As a huge fan of Norse mythology, I'm actually overjoyed at what Neil Gaiman presents us with here and hope that he manages to reach a wide audience so the myths will live on (not just in Marvel comics and movies).
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  • Simona Bartolotta
    January 1, 1970
    “The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days...”If there is one thing you cannot do when you pick up a Gaiman book, it is not reading the introduction. Sometimes I think I read Gaiman only because of his introductions. (Totally untrue. I read him for many reasons, far more than I can count and let alone explain, the most important of which being: me being hopelessly in love.)I believe I've already mentioned this in my review of The Hamm “The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days...”If there is one thing you cannot do when you pick up a Gaiman book, it is not reading the introduction. Sometimes I think I read Gaiman only because of his introductions. (Totally untrue. I read him for many reasons, far more than I can count and let alone explain, the most important of which being: me being hopelessly in love.)I believe I've already mentioned this in my review of The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan, but in any case: last semester I took a Germanic philology course, and I might have become slightly more obsessed with Norse mythology than I already was before. And you have no idea how good it is when you read a fine, pleasant, brilliantly written work of fiction like this Norse Mythology, or also like The Hammer of Thor, and you catch your mind automatically picking up on all a number of references, cultural and ethnological data, details of this kind, and you are able to place them in the larger scheme of things. It's personally satisfying, and it also reminds me of the reason why I've been utterly fascinated with mythology, any mythology, and any act of storytelling in general, since I was a scrawny thing with too many bruises on my still unstable legs: they won't allow you to feel alone, ever. They won't and can't, because of their inherent nature: stories, and myths in particular, always refer to something bigger, something more, something else, something that you don't know yet but will know one day, and already, even though you're clueless now, you can feel the pleasure of that future discovery blooming in your chest. This was the peculiar kind of magic I believed in when I was little.I still do.It's all Neil Gaiman's doing.“Do you ever ask yourself how it is that some people can 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?”More specifically, as for Norse Mythology, it gave me exactly what my heart desired -except maybe the episode of the otter's ransom, because I would have loved to see Loki in that one. I think -I've always thought and rediscovered all anew- that Neil's writing works miracles like few other writers' can: here his style is measured, plain at times, that it to say, the most fitting style for the telling of a myth, and yet it manages to achieve, and always at the rights moments, such levels of emotional charge, that more than once I found myself on the verge of tears or bent double with laughter for the silliest reasons. And in some magical, beautiful way whose mysteries I am not able to disclose, these thousand-year old legends became, if just a bit, Neil's invention.The characters are humanized in a way that to me is hardly conceivable, considering that 9 out of 10 of their actions are only "caricatures" of what a real man could do, exaggerated feats (Hymir fishing full-size whales) or downright ridiculous resolutions (Loki tying his «private parts» to the beard of a goat in order to make Skadi laugh). These gods, in brief, felt way more real than I thought possible. (For all that we already knew the adjective "divine" would be ill-fitting, to put it mildly.)“Loki's green eyes flashed with anger and with admiration, for he loved a good trick as much as he hated being fooled.” But these stories are also fun -and speaking of the devil, guess who's most certainly involved when it gets fun?“Of course it was Loki. It's always Loki.”I'm already thinking of when I'll reread these stories in the future, trying to guess where I'll be, and what I'll be, imagining (maybe hoping and maybe not) if, and if yes, then how, they will have changed along with me. That's the Neil Gaiman effect for you, folks: his stories, even they are not really his, but anyway, kind of, have been with me for such a long time that now they are part of my mental setup. Where I go, they always come with me. So, whenever I need encouragement or consolation, a refill of dreams or a magic rush, or even just when I feel like it, I can fish them out, open them up, and lost myself in them for at least a little while.“And the game begins anew.”
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  • Carlos
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book, it was fun, fast read and very informative. You get to learn all about Norse mythology, you will find Loki who is both a hero and a villain at the same time, Thor who is both brave, smart, dumb and weak in different stories, Odin who will lie and cheat to get what he wants. It is really a fun light read, but the only reason ill give 4 stars to this book instead of 5 is that i think this book could have been released by anybody , it is just a collection of ancient nordic mythol I loved this book, it was fun, fast read and very informative. You get to learn all about Norse mythology, you will find Loki who is both a hero and a villain at the same time, Thor who is both brave, smart, dumb and weak in different stories, Odin who will lie and cheat to get what he wants. It is really a fun light read, but the only reason ill give 4 stars to this book instead of 5 is that i think this book could have been released by anybody , it is just a collection of ancient nordic mythology, well edited but i dont think the author actually contributed that much. But maybe thats just me...this is my first book by Neil Gaiman after all.
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  • Chihoe Ho
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, yes, yes, an infinite yeses! Neil Gaiman hammers this one down like a boss.I'm a slow reader but I was so enchanted by "Norse Mythology" that I read all 250+ pages of it in a day. It felt like I was sitting around the campfire listening to Neil Gaiman narrate these stories as I look up into the blanket of stars (two bright ones are the giant Thiazi's eyes!), wondering if Odin, Thor and Loki are smiling down upon us, appeased with Gaiman's dedicated storytelling prowess and the audience's in Yes, yes, yes, an infinite yeses! Neil Gaiman hammers this one down like a boss.I'm a slow reader but I was so enchanted by "Norse Mythology" that I read all 250+ pages of it in a day. It felt like I was sitting around the campfire listening to Neil Gaiman narrate these stories as I look up into the blanket of stars (two bright ones are the giant Thiazi's eyes!), wondering if Odin, Thor and Loki are smiling down upon us, appeased with Gaiman's dedicated storytelling prowess and the audience's intent devotion."Norse Mythology" is both entertaining and educational. Made up of short vignettes of the lore behind these Norse gods and goddesses, I learnt so much of their backstory I never knew I wanted to know on my own accord. At the end of each story, Gaiman adds his fluid, flourishing touches, sometimes vivid observations, sometimes foreboding commentary that segue from one tale to the next, linking them up together to form an overarching narrative that feels like an epic journey, one that hurtles towards Ragnarök.Neil Gaiman's love for Norse mythology shines through from the text so much that it is contagious. That's what storytelling is.
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  • Gabrielle
    January 1, 1970
    So I had made this New Year resolution about not buying new books, because I went a little insane last year and I am running out of shelf space. Predictably, that all went to Hell the moment I saw "Norse Mythology" at the book store… I should make more realistic resolutions, because I really can't resist a new Neil Gaiman book…I have always been fascinated with mythology. My mother gave me a copy of Robert Graves' "The Greek Myths" when I was a kid, and I must have read it a hundred times; I sub So I had made this New Year resolution about not buying new books, because I went a little insane last year and I am running out of shelf space. Predictably, that all went to Hell the moment I saw "Norse Mythology" at the book store… I should make more realistic resolutions, because I really can't resist a new Neil Gaiman book…I have always been fascinated with mythology. My mother gave me a copy of Robert Graves' "The Greek Myths" when I was a kid, and I must have read it a hundred times; I subsequently devoured every book I could find about the Egyptians and the Celts. But for some reason, Norse mythology had not captured my interest quite as strongly as other folklore. Maybe because when I was younger, I couldn't appreciate how dense and complex Norse myths were: with the Greeks and the Egyptians, it's very easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys, but the Norse seemed to have a more flexible view of such things… What little I knew, I had gathered from movies about Vikings: I have a soft spot for those…"Norse Mythology" is divided into short stories, which gave me the lovely feeling of curling up for story-time. Gaiman's warm and friendly tone certainly plays a big role in conveying that wonderful fuzzy feeling. He has wit and humor in spades, but also incredible love and respect for his source material, which makes his version elegant and engaging. As he mentions in the introduction, so little of the Norse oral tradition made it to us, so the stories he collected here are but a mere fragment of what must have been an even bigger and more complex world. But he begins as all stories must, with the creation of the world; and ends with Ragnarok, the death of the gods. Each story in between links perfectly into the next to give the reader a smooth and complete picture of the stories of Odin, Thor and Loki. He's scratching the surface, but his etchings are beautiful.I am always fascinated by the way different cultures portray their deities, and the deeply flawed characters of many Norse gods is interestingly telling of how Vikings might have feared and respected their gods, but did not seem to love them. I've always had a weakness for complicated bad boys, so of course, I finished this book crushing on Loki… and I think Gaiman has a thing for him too! Fans of Gaiman's work will easily be able to see that Norse mythology is at the core of so many of his other stories; it made me really appreciate how long he has been brewing this collection of stories. But it's a fast read, and since it struck me as a retelling, I confess I finished it hungry for more. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if he had fleshed the stories out more fully, by adding and embellishing. But I also know that' s not what he set out to do…Gorgeous prose and amazing stories that will leave you wanting more. Neil, you are a tease. 4 stars.
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  • Sr3yas
    January 1, 1970
    ❝ Read the stories in this book, then make them your own.❞ Just like Neil Gaiman (and most of us, I wager), my introduction to Norse mythology was through Marvel comics and Disney's live action adaptation of the same. (While we are on the subject, my introduction to Greek mythology was through Disney's epic cartoon series, Hercules and my introduction to Hindu mythology was through Jai Hanuman and my mom, of course)This collection tells some of the best and popular events and fables of Norse my ❝ Read the stories in this book, then make them your own.❞ Just like Neil Gaiman (and most of us, I wager), my introduction to Norse mythology was through Marvel comics and Disney's live action adaptation of the same. (While we are on the subject, my introduction to Greek mythology was through Disney's epic cartoon series, Hercules and my introduction to Hindu mythology was through Jai Hanuman and my mom, of course)This collection tells some of the best and popular events and fables of Norse mythology, re imagined by ever talented Neil Gaiman without sacrificing its authenticity. Like every other mythologies, Norse mythology has a beginning and an ending, deaths and rebirths, true loves and betrayals, bravery and trickery. We meet many major gods in these tales, like the enigmatic Odin, cunning Loki and a strong and surprisingly dense Thor. We also meet many other characters other than the big three. My personal favorites were beautiful Freya, brave Tyr, Fenrir, the wolf and Utgardaloki, the sly giant. I also found that many of Norse gods were in fact barbarians and douches. ❝ Lit, one of the dwarfs, walked in front of Thor to get a better view of the pyre, and Thor kicked him irritably into the middle of the flames, which made Thor feel slightly better and made all the dwarfs feel much worse.❞ Poor Lit got lit up because Thor was pissed! *sigh* I feel for you, Lit.Well, all things considered, Loki wasn't half bad as I thought he would be. He indeed made the fables more interesting.Most of the stories are fun and adventurous in nature, but there are couple of dark tales, especially towards the end. There is one story called "The last days of Loki" which will make Disney executives faint and makes Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" tame in comparison!Then there is Ragnarök, the glorious apocalypse of Norse mythology. Apart from Ragnarök, my other favorite stories were "The treasure of gods", "Thor's journey to land of giants" and "Freya's unusual wedding!" And to Neil Gaiman, I say this:
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