Friday, 5 May 2017

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Publication date: 7th February 2017
Published by:  W.W. Norton & Co.
Genre: Fantasy

Publisher's synopsis

Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.
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.

My Review

With Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman has gone back to the original tales of the Norse gods.  He has said that he wanted to stay true to the original source material while at the same time developping the storiesMy own knowledge of the Norse gods is very limited (basically, the Marvel characters), so this was all fairly new to me.  I found the book to be a page-turner.  I think what made it such a compelling read for me was the Gods themselves.  Loki in particular is quite the anti-hero.  His antics made me laugh out loud a few times.  The stories all head in one direction - towards Ragnarok (Doomsday). 

I found myself drawing parallels with the real world, e.g. The gods decide to build a wall to keep the giants out of Asgard (the realm of the gods).  Also, alarmingly, the slow and steady decline that ends in Ragnarok had an awfully familiar feel to it.  That said, I am pleased to say, there is hope in the end.

For those who love the physicality of books, the hard back version is a beautiful thing to behold.  

Norse Mythology is a book that will appeal to anyone of any age who enjoys fantasy fiction.  My copy is a prized possession and, I am certain, one I will re-visit on numerous occasions.

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