Non Fiction

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norse mythology

I was a bit of an odd child. I used to live in imaginary worlds full of fairies and other mythical creatures to whom I would serve tea.

I remember playing in my native woods with them, making houses for them and also having some heated arguments with them when they didn’t do what I wanted them to do.

I also remember Thor, Loki and Odin featuring in some of my encounters from time to time.

I was fascinated by mythology as a child. I would read anything I could get my hands on that was written on Greek / Norse / South American / Egyptian / Slavic etc. myths and tales.

The Norse myths were amongst my favourite ones. I am more of a winter rather than a summer person and I have always been interested in Scandinavia; its beautiful nature, architecture that compliments it and its people. Stories full of frost giants really are my thing. 🙂

Retellings of classical myths can be a bit of a hit or miss in my case. Sometimes I love them and sometimes, they are just not for me. I’m happy to report that Gaiman’s Norse Mythology was clearly written for me… 😉

But before I review this book, let’s have a look at GoodReads blurb first:

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, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. 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.

Norse Mythology is a collection of stories. Because of that, it could be easily read (or listened to) whilst reading other books or being short on time.

I absolutely adored this collection. Gaiman’s spin on Norse myths is a brilliant example how we can use something old and make it work. Not every work we crate must be ‘original‘, in fact telling something familiar whilst using our own voices and experiences can be extremely powerful.

Those stories feel modern, Gaiman’s sharp writing gives them a nice punch. They are fast paced and full of action. There is also a lot of humour involved – I chuckled many times. And they brought me back my childhood memories and that bittersweet feeling of nostalgia.

I listened to this collection of stories as an audiobook narrated by the author himself.

Gaiman is not only a skilled writer, but he also is an excellent narrator.

I found his voice splendidly adjusting to different characters – it would become loud and booming whenever Thor entered a scene and softer with hints of cunningness / slyness whenever Loki would show up. His accent adjusted well to dwarfs and giants and I honestly had a blast. I am likely to re-listen to these stories again as I loved them so much.

Side note: I did laugh-out-loud a few times whilst listening to this audiobook on a busy London tube. I got a few weird stares, but it did make my usually unpleasant tube experience quite bearable! I also nearly missed my stop a few times… so beware! 😉

Parting comments: I’ve always been fascinated how people across different geographies created myths that had so many similarities. Our need to explain our world via story telling is something that has always captivated me. If you are familiar with Greek myths, you may find many alike sounding themes in those Norse myths as well. Our vivid imagination, and how we can perceive nature and everything that is happening around us, without having to dip into scientific explanations, is something I have appreciated, and it is probably the main reason why I love mythology in general.

Over to you! 🙂

  • Have you read this book?
  • Do you read myths in general? And if so, what is your ‘favourite’ geography?

Verdict:  Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple (5/5)

26 thoughts on “Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman”

    1. I think fairies do exist… some people just cannot see them… 🧚‍♀️ 🧚‍♂️ 😊
      Thanks, I loved this book, I can’t wait to listen to it again during winter months. ❄️

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m always fond of books that include mythology and legends. I haven’t read this novel but the Norse mythology is also mentioned in the thriller Keeper by Johanna Gustawsson, the novel wasn’t focused on it but I really enjoyed it was mixed into the story! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I enjoy mythology being inspired incorporated into novels as well.
      Keeper sounds really interesting, I will be checking it out, thanks. 😊
      And thank you! 😊🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to love mythology as a kid too! Although i heavily favoured the Greeks 😀 (Nothing changed there, hehe)
    I think i only encountered Nose mythology when i was around 14-15, but i always found it fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love myths. Right now I’m probably most interested in the Russian or Eastern European myths/retellings as I don’t know that much about them. Glad you enjoyed this one- I really have to remember to listen to Gaiman do an audiobook one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I love Slavic myths. Just finished Spinning Silver and really enjoyed it – it’s full of those tales and Novik is such a skilled writer.
      And I need to remember to listen to more audiobooks. 😊 I am fairly new to them (this one is my second one) but am completely understanding why people love this format as well. So much fun. 😊


  4. I loved this book! I have always loved mythology but I’ve mostly read about Greek myths and thought this would be a great way of getting a good introduction to Norse myths. I would love for Gaiman to write a book on Egyptian mythology as well, I think they have a super interesting set of gods. Great review by the way!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I would happily buy another of Gaiman’s books on myths. 🙂 Egyptian mythology sounds really interesting as well. I don’t know that much about it and would love to hear more. I’m so glad you loved this book too. 🙂 And thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Kathy. 🙂 I like how you put it. I never thought of it that way but it makes sense, those Norse myths are quite raw and unpolished and it probably is one of the reasons I also appreciate them so much.

      And I loooove that cover. I am normally absolutely oblivious to book covers (I’m a proper book cover savage he he) but this one is absolutely stunning. I am toying with an idea of buying a physical copy as well (I have an audiobook so far). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve heard Neil Gaiman did a great job on this audiobook, so I like how you described the voice as being sly or booming depending on the characters! And I’m glad you enjoyed it so much; I’ve heard great things about this book, and I’d been dying to check it out. Very happy to hear it has humor in it, and that it uses modern-ish prose because that likely means that it’s pretty easy to read. 😉 Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gaiman’s writing is very sharp. I really like his style and hope you will enjoy these stories as well if you decide to read them at some point. It’s nice how short they are – easy to dip into two at any point. 😊

      And thank you! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. hehehe I most certainly relate to being an odd child 😉 And I’ve always been fascinated by mythology. That’s so brilliant about the differentiation in Gaiman’s voice for the audiobook 😀 I’m so glad this was written for you 😀 And I think I will definitely feel the same way about it 🙂 I love Gaiman’s wit and writing in general- so this sounds really promising 🙂 I absolutely agree with you about the similarities in myths across cultures- it’s always been fascinating to me too. Fantastic review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I think Gaiman could write a to-do list and I would still enjoy it he he. I am a big fan.

      And I am so glad childhood is something you can relate. 😊❤️

      I’m really hoping you will enjoy Norse Mythology as much as I did when you read it. 🍀😊

      Liked by 1 person

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