Chris's Reviews > Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
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it was amazing
bookshelves: i-own

I've always enjoyed mythology. I remember studying the Greek and Roman myths numerous times in school and personally had a couple of books of Greek myths as a child. I even remember having a brief segment about ancient Egypt and some of their myths. But through my school years I never remember any lessons on Norse mythology. My High School mascot was the Viking. Even then, the most Norse mythology we had were a handful of names for various rooms in the school or some allusions referenced during assemblies or games.

Most of my knowledge about the Norse myths is a hodgepodge of misinformation from comic books and TV shows. And yet, I've always enjoyed the concept of Norse mythology. The image of the ancient Viking and his lore has often intrigued me but I never felt like pulling down the Eddas and diving in deep. So I was excited when a modern author I enjoy decided to take a stab at sharing Norse mythology.

One thing I appreciated was that Gaiman's writing is very approachable and allows the stories to really shine without language or structure getting in the way. It was pointed out that this compilation of myths is structured as though we were sitting around the fire and the author is just telling the tales. The language is beautiful and elegant without being onerous or distracting. The style and format really drew me in and added to my enjoyment.

While it's true that by keeping the accessibility of the text lighter, there is potentially some depth that is lost. But for someone such as myself who is seeking for a thorough introduction to the myths, I found this book a great primer. It filled my mind with a ton of wonderfully rich stories and characters and left me wanting to dive deeper.

While this could be seen as a definitive starting point, I don't think the author intended this to be a person's final stop in learning the Norse myths. He includes some personal commentary about each of the myths he shares. He speaks about the research he did, the translations he referenced and some of the decisions he made to combine, reorder or even slightly adjust some of the myths. It's very clear that Gaiman is passionate about Norse mythology and he wants to whet rather than satiate a similar thirst among his readers.

This book is a fabulous piece of literature. For those completely unfamiliar with the Norse myths, this serves as a wonderful introduction. For those already familiar with this mythology, it will surely serve as a quick reminder of the joy of storytelling from a new voice. The format allows for quick reads in numerous sittings as you read each myth as a short story. There is a loose overarching narrative as we move from the Norse beginning of times to end of times.

The writing style is smooth and enjoyable and could be consumed by readers of all ages. While Gaiman's level of detail doesn't venture beyond the PG range, it should also be noted that some of these myths (like those of other cultures) venture into the realm of risqué or offensive and as such parents should probably preview the story before reading it to young children.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I will likely return and read some or all of the myths again at times in the future. I also noted some of Gaiman's reference material and will be seeking out future exploration into the world of Norse Mythology.

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reading Progress

December 29, 2018 – Started Reading
December 29, 2018 – Shelved
December 29, 2018 – Shelved as: i-own
December 29, 2018 –
page 10
October 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

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