Title: “Norse Mythology”
Author: Neil Gaiman
Length of Audiobook: 6 hours 29 minutes
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “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 a giant, 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.”
Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:
- character death
- [Note: There may be more — I forgot to keep track of them as I was listening]
Representation in the novel:
- …They’re gods and goddesses, I don’t know if anything really counts or not?
I will admit, this was one of those audiobooks I impulsively borrowed from OverDrive because I wanted another book to read, and I am so glad it was. It was my first time with both a Gaiman book and Gaiman as a narrator, and I was floored.
Norse Mythology is exactly what it sounds like: it is a book about Norse mthology, with both the beginning of the world and the end of the world and some fun stories in between. You have the major players most people know — Odin, Thor, and Loki — along with many that people may not recognize. The sroies range from Loki’s trickery to how the end of the world comes about, and they also seem to go in a somewhat linear order.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience. Like, really enjoyed it. Gaiman is such a good narrator: he not only has a soothing voice, but he puts so much emotion into the story. I am pretty sure I teared up a couple times, and I definitely laughed out loud at least five. I am surprised about that latter part. I thought it was all going to be serious, similar to a dry textbook on mythology, but that was not the case. While there were indeed some serious moments throughout the novel, there were plenty of scenes between Thor and lokie, as well as Loki one-liners, that had me chuckling out loud. I think this enhanced the novel immensely: without it, the reader would have a book with dry characters and not-as-engaging stories.
Moving on to the plot and characters: I liked how the short stories/chapters were arranged. The beginning and end were quite clear, but there seemed to be a bit more leeway regarding when the rest of the chapters took place. They sort of flowed from one to the other, and while a lot of them had repeating characters, the reader does not have to necessarily read the other chapters in order to understand the chapter they read at any given time. But why would you want to skip anything? I loved most, if not all, of the chapters/stories. They were engaging and action-filled. And the characters! I knew about Loki, Thor, and Odin (thanks, Marvel), but there were a lot more that I had not idea about before I read this novel. They were interesting to read about, and I loved all of their personalities.
Tl;dr: Norse mythology books are rad, and I love them. Gimme more.
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