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.
I already knew going in that I liked Neil Gaiman’s writing style, so I was excited to experience the Norse myths though his style. I think this is a great example of modern language and story telling techniques refreshing these old myths and making them more accessible to people who may not want to read them as they were originally written.
Gaiman injects his usual wit and cleverness in the stories and in my opinion makes them vibrant and an easy, enjoyable read. He sets up the myths well and laid a great groundwork so that the worlds and characters could be understood. This is great for people who already love the myths or those just getting into them.