Norse Mythology, a series of classic myths retold by Neil Gaiman, is an entertaining read that revitalizes the ancient figures of Norse mythology into funny, complex characters that readers fall ...
- Re-Readability Measure4.0
Norse Mythology, a series of classic myths retold by Neil Gaiman, is an entertaining read that revitalizes the ancient figures of Norse mythology into funny, complex characters that readers fall in love with.
If you weren't aware, Bella and I are hardcore Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. We rave, admittedly, too passionately about our favorite characters. To state it lightly, Infinity War broke us.
Of course, being Marvel fans, the characters of Thor, Loki, Odin, Frigga, and Heimdall are all too familiar to us. Bella loves Thor, or, more specifically, Chris Hemsworth, and one of our closest friends has a... mild...obsession with Loki. Okay, scratch that. She has a mildly-concerning, severe obsession with Loki.
Subsequently, our keen interest in these characters led us to this book when we visited the book store. I mean, sure, Greek and Roman myths have their perks. For one, there are countless of them. The religion was much more wide-spread than Norse, so their influence on people was more significant. They are also very beautiful and imaginative.
But, guys... Vikings. Vikings are cool as heck.
Not only that, but the basis of Norse Mythology is much more interesting to me than Greek and Roman. The gods and goddesses of Asgard know that their time is limited. In Ragnarok, Asgard and its defenders are destined to fall. Regardless, the souls of dead war heroes, and the residents of Asgard will fight until the end. A very noble cause, if you ask me.
Now, onto the review!
Since the plot itself is not original, as each section of the story is a retelling of an ancient myth, I'm going to be talking more in terms of format and how Gaiman chose to pace the novel.
The way in which the story is structured is very clever. With introducing the characters first, and then using specific myths to build their character, the outcome, or ending, of the novel, with Loki's fate is heartbreaking. Through Marvel's work, I already loved Loki, but the way his character was constructed in this book really made me feel for him.
However, sometimes the stories got a bit confusing, and the undistinguished characters' names and roles are very easy to mess up. I do wish some of the other characters, like Odin, Frigga, or Freya were expanded upon. Also, the afterlife in Norse Mythology is really cool, but that wasn't really mentioned much, so that put me off slightly.
I loved that unlike in the myths I read about in school, the story gives a fun, relatable side to the solemn, feared leaders of Asgard. The myths really are inane, and the predicaments increasingly get more ridiculous as the story goes on. This caused me to want to keep reading, and I learned a lot, too!
My favorite myth takes place at Freya's wedding. In exchange for Thor's lost hammer, Freya has to be married to an ogre. Since Freya is obviously not having that, the gods decide to send Thor, dressed as a bride, to take Freya's place.
Thor in drag is my aesthetic.
Continuing on, the way Norse Mythology is written is so simplistic, and yet, so wonderful. You can tell the author really knows how to tell a story, and the humor isn't forced.
I honestly can't explain what exactly I like about the writing, but I think it mostly has to do with the dialogue. With the minimal acts of Freya telling Loki she hates him, Loki telling Thor to shut up, or Thor being worried about an ogre feeling him up, I was sent into a fit of hysterical giggles.
Loki is the actual, biological mother of a weird horse-mutant-thing, and I will never be more amused by anything else, like, ever.
Don't get me started. Goodness, I swear, every one of these characters is such a mood.
Freya hates people and is constantly fed up with Thor and Loki. I love it.
Thor loves eating with such a passion, I respect him for it. He's also kind of an idiot, but in an endearing sort of way. Besides that, he wanted to hurt something so bad, that he kicked a dwarf into a funeral pyre. What a charmer, am I right?
Finally, Loki. Loki is everything in this book. From claiming that he can eat faster than anyone like it was a fact, to being only mildly irritated when he might get decapitated, to proclaiming he was a Grade-A piece of man, he is always my favorite. No joke, he literally orchestrated a murder because he was petty, and then proceeded to say how terrible it was with zero emotion. What a savage.
The love I held for Loki only made it harder to read about his shift to the 'dark side.'
What Neil Gaiman did excellently was give depth to Loki's character, but still not gloss over the fact that he is, in the end, a villain of sorts. This is not to say he is the antagonist of the story, because that would be a silly and untrue accusation to make. Loki is simply blinded by his need to be clever, and raise chaos, and I love the way this was explained in the story. No matter how many times Loki saves everyone's butts, he usually created the problem in the first place. He just didn't know when, or how, to stop.
To conclude, I loved this reinvention of the world of Norse gods and goddesses. I not only got a little insight to an ancient religion, but I enjoyed the story all the way through. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who's interested in an entertaining tale filled with tricks, death, and magic.