Completed: 21 March 2017
Summary & Review:
Author Neil Gaiman presents his re-telling of some of the famous stories from Norse mythology, tracing the world from the very beginnings to the final battle of Ragnarok.
I pre-ordered this book not really knowing what to expect. Would it be a historical commentary on the myths? Would it be an analysis of them from a modern perspective? Would it be a novel based on the legends? What it turned out to be was pretty much a simple retelling of many Norse tales. To be honest, it was a little disappointing. Gaiman somehow made these grand tales seem very mundane and small, almost ordinary. At times, he would let some of his personality show through and these were the best moments of the book. But, the majority of it was just a straight-forward rehashing of Norse legends without any style or flair to speak of.
On the plus side, this was still a very informative book and the myths were presented clearly and in a logical sequence. In college I was able to study Greek and Roman mythology, as well as much of Mesoamerican mythology, but the Norse legends were all but unknown to me (aside from the Marvel Cinematic Universe :). So, I will give Gaiman credit for writing an accessible layman’s introduction to myths that form part of the historical foundations of Western Civilization.