'Tommy Taylor: "It's--it's just a STORY, man. It's not worth DYING for!" 'Count Ambrosio: "Just a STORY? Tell that to the Greeks who fought at Troy, To...more'Tommy Taylor: "It's--it's just a STORY, man. It's not worth DYING for!" 'Count Ambrosio: "Just a STORY? Tell that to the Greeks who fought at Troy, Tommy." 'Tommy: "Wh- What?" 'Count Ambrosio: "Tell the women BURNED as witches. The ROSENBERGS. Sacco and Vanzetti. Tell the MARTYRS of all the religions and the millions who fell in all the WARS since time began. Stories are the ONLY thing worth dying for!"(less)
What an unexpectedly amazing book! The title caught my eye, because I had just read some Norse mythology, so I picked it up hoping it would be a silly...moreWhat an unexpectedly amazing book! The title caught my eye, because I had just read some Norse mythology, so I picked it up hoping it would be a silly but fun read (and fearing it would be garbage). To my surprise, however, the story was epic, deep, moving, fascinating--and, yes, fun. The title, cover, and blurb on the back do not do any justice to the quality of the book, or accurately represent what it's about.
Ragnarok is approaching; the chain of events leading up to it were set in motion long ago. But Hermod, son of Odin, is worried that he's accidentally sped things up, and he doesn't really want that kind of responsibility. After all, he hasn't been to Asgard in thousands of years, and he hasn't kept in touch. Mist, meanwhile, has only been a Valkyrie for three months--since she and her sister were killed in a drive-by shooting--but she's already ready to take matters into her own hands and rescue her sister from Helheim and from Hel, the terrifying queen of the dead. Only one person has ever been to Helheim and back, and that's Hermod. Together, they just might be able to accomplish both goals...but destiny can be pretty hard to escape from.
They imagine the chain of events like a line of dominoes, and they want to figure out how to stop them all from being knocked over. So along with Mist's partner Grimnir and Hermod's dog Winston, and a few other people they meet along the way, they journey through Helheim and among the nine worlds that make up Yggdrasil, the world tree, looking for the piece to remove. But everything they do seems to topple yet another domino and bring them closer to Ragnarok.
The NorseCODE genome project is actually a great idea, and it might be fun to read a book or short story just about that, but it's only a very tiny part of this story. And that is not a complaint. The scope of this novel is so much greater than just a clever idea. Here we deal with destiny, with betrayal, with responsibility, with staying true to oneself, with love...Hel, there's a freaking apocalypse! There's also plenty of buttkicking and swords and even zombies, in the form of draugr, the shambling dead. There are also a lot of details and imagery from Norse mythology, which were done excellently. There are also some different and fascinating interpretations of aspects of some myths, which didn't detract from the originals in anyway, but made them more meaningful.
The characters in this story are mythic and legendary, but even though some of them are g-ds, they're so very human. There are many heroes, but there are also many characters that the heroes are fighting against, many of whom I would hesitate to call villians. After all, everyone already knows that Ragnarok will happen and what the result will be, and most know their own parts to play in it. If some are tired of waiting around for it, or have plans to make the best of it, does that really make them bad guys? This is one of the many interesting questions that this book raised in my mind.
I was really not expecting to like this much, but holy crap was it good. Great, actually. You have to get past the title--it's cute and clever, but it trivializes the book and it's almost completely unrelated to the plot--the cover, which is not a good representation of the epic-ness and the many heroes and POVs of the story, and the summary on the back, which is kind of misleading, and you'll find a real gem.
First line of the Prologue: "On the last true day of spring the nine world will ever know, my brother and I fly recon through the land of the g-ds. From this high up, Asgard shimmers. The shields that roof the timber halls glimmer like golden fish scales. It's all green grass and fluffy white sheep and fresh red blood. A very pretty scene." First line of Chapter One: "Only two hours into Mist's first job, things were already going badly. For one, the duct tape had come loose over the recruit's mouth, and he was screaming so loudly that Mist was sure he'd be heard through the walls of the van, even above the roar of Route 21 traffic."(less)
This book deserves a much more detailed and thought-out review, which I'll give it when I have time to do both the thinking-out and the writing, but f...moreThis book deserves a much more detailed and thought-out review, which I'll give it when I have time to do both the thinking-out and the writing, but for now I just want to write a quick review: I'm having some trouble coming up with a plot summary, but this book is genius, fascinating, exciting, deep, mind-blowing, epic-feeling, and wonderful. Probably a few other great things as well. Tim Powers is my new favorite author. I'd decided he was just based on and interview and descriptions of his books, but having read him, I am not disappointed.
While reading this I was attending a six-hours-a-day, week long training session and I read during every five-minute break and lunch break we got (as well as some that I manufactured), and even though I was in an echo-y room with around thirty other people doing paperwork, I couldn't stop myself from exclaiming and trying to advise the characters out loud. It's that good, and sucked me in that much.