Norse Mythology Book Cover Norse Mythology
Neil Gaiman
Fantasy, Mythology, Retellings
Norton & Company
2017
304

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, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people.

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.

Old Myths For Modern Readers

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is definitely one of the most exciting this year’s releases, and we can totally understand why. Not only does Gaiman’s Mythology center around the vivid, unforgettable Nordic myths, but it also tells the old stories in a more modern manner.

As soon as you open the book, it will become quite noticeable how Gaiman explores Nordic myths in imaginative and detailed way. He brings to the readers beautiful, yet contemporary tales of one of the most intriguing pantheon in the multiverse. If you are not familiar with Nordic myths and gods, you might want to get to know them first, so that you can truly enjoy Gaiman’s storytelling.

Readers will get an opportunity to see many Nordic gods and goddesses as complicated, multidimensional, and most probably unfit for easy labels. They aren’t stereotypical. You may well be familiar with Gaiman’s writing, but if you’re not, there’s one thing you can be sure of: Gaiman would never allow himself to take great myths and turn them into boring history lessons about mythological theology.

Many of the gods show themselves as complex, colorful and extremely unpredictable. Their multilayered personalities make it impossible for a reader to simply categorize them as good or bad. However, this is just another example of Gaiman’s brilliant storytelling and characterization. This is why, for example, Odin is darker and more mysterious than simply being a grandfatherly figure; he’s cunning, dangerous and unpredictable.

Many other authors found the act of retelling ancient myths inspiring. If you love Egyptian mythology, for example, then you should definitely read Ancient Evenings by Norman Mailer. Also, Kevin Hearne brought Celtic gods back to life in his Iron Druid books.

Neil Gaiman, by writing consistently excellent and imaginative books, created a wide audience who is prepared to instantly buy his new work. You might think that is the case with Norse Mythology: that the amazing hype surrounding this book is due to Gaiman’s already well-known reputation. Alas, while it might be true, it is also because Norse Mythology is simply one brilliantly written retelling of Nordic myths, specially envisioned for a contemporary reader.

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