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Norse Mythology

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2017)
Introducing an instant classic―master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

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 stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman―difficult with his beard and huge appetite―to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir―the most sagacious of gods―is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Librarian's note: See alternate cover edition of ASIN B01HQA6EOC here.

304 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 7, 2017

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Neil Gaiman

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Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
April 28, 2020
Gaiman is, without a doubt, one of the most multi-talented writers alive today. I don’t say this out of a sense of personal bias, but with a degree of objectivity. Not only does he write fantastic comics, intelligent children’s stories and detailed novels about the nature of godhood (even if I didn’t personally enjoy them all), he also has adapted Norse mythology and re-written it with his modern stylish flair.

He really is a talented man; he is capable of that rare, rare, thing of being able to write fiction that is worthy of literary criticism but is also ridiculously popular and, well, just plain cool. He has many years of writing ahead of him (I hope.) And I don’t think it is too far a thing to suggest that he may win the noble prize for literature in his lifetime. He has contributed much to the arts, and this work here shows he has much more to give. I think he really deserves it.

So here he has retold some already excellent stories. In doing so he makes them approachable and, perhaps even, more engaging for a reader today. I do like old poetry, though not everyone does. I think this can be taken as either an introduction to such works or simply as it is at face value. And it really is what it says on the cover: it’s a whole bunch or Norse stories about some familiar faces. We have Odin, conniving and powerful. We have Thor, strong and honourable. And we have Loki, cunning and ingenious with his own complex intentions. They do battle with each other, with the elements and a whole host of nasties. But not before Gaiman takes the time to provide you with guided tour of Yggdrasil and the nine worlds that take root from her. He clearly establishes the confounds of this mythology before he even begins.

The collection ends with the most appropriate tale of them all, Ragnarok: the final destiny of the gods. It spends the entirety of the collection building up to it:

“Until now I have told you of things that have happened in the past- things that happened a long time ago.

Now I shall tell you of the days to come”

Thus we witness the end of time. The gods fight in one final glorious battle. Loki, naturally, does not fight with the gods of Asgard. Instead he leads the armies of the dead against them. Many of the gods will die, and the pattern will begin anew as their offspring pick up the weapons of their slain forbears; ultimately, taking on their mantels. The cycle continues, as Gaiman captures the heart of Norse mythology here.

What I also noticed is how these tales have affected his other works. Sure, the characters are different; yes, the setting is warped into something else, but you can clearly see how writing this, and researching this, has oozed out into his other projects. This ideas of rejuvenation is repeated in the Sandman series, for example. Gaiman also narrates his personal journey in the introduction; this book has been a long time coming: this topic has clearly helped to propel much of his writing, and it really is worth hearing about.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
August 29, 2017
I've always loved mythology, folktales and legends. They are the original fairy tales of humanity and, given the timeless fairytale quality to Gaiman's writing, it seemed to follow that he would be the perfect writer for a book of Norse mythology. He is. In fact, Gaiman seems born to write (or rewrite) myths.

Norse mythology is actually one I've always been less familiar with. I know Greek, Roman and Egyptian fairly well, and some Indian as well, but my knowledge of Norse mythology kind of ends at Odin, Loki, Thor and Thor's hammer. And even then I don't know much about what they all did. To me, this book was very interesting and informative as well as a compelling pageturner.

Gaiman recreates Norse myths in his signature style, with a bit of humour, a whole bunch of complex characters, and a big serving of charm. He makes the stories feel modern and fresh, yet still timeless. You feel like you're reading about millennia-old gods, but it's very accessible to today's reader.

Norse Mythology is told in short stories. Some of the chapters are very short - only a page or two long - and others are slightly longer. I liked how easy it was to dip in and out of. I could go read some of my other books between stories and return to this without a problem. I know ease of reading should not be a top priority, but it is great to find a book that makes experiencing its stories as easy and non-demanding as possible.

It is fast-paced and action-packed, but what shines through most of all is how all these stories tie into important aspects of the real world - as stories about gods tend to do. This is a fascinating portrait of a time and a people who really truly believed in Odin and Loki and their many escapades. It's funny, it's eye-opening, and it's very enjoyable.

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Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
February 16, 2017
Definitely short, but imminently readable. This is one of the best straight mythology books I've read when it comes to pure enjoyment.

I say this, fully aware that I'm a Gaiman fanboy, and yet, I still mean it. :)

Don't look for fiction here. Rather, look for the source material and a clear understanding of the Norse mythos as far as we have it. So much has been lost and then, there's a ton of fragments. Alas. But what we do have is quite cool.

My personal favorite was the story of Baldur's murder and the attempt to raise him up from Hel's domain. Hel even agrees, graciously, to let him come back from the dead as long as not a single person on any level of the World Tree refuses to weep for the man. Baldur is a sweet man that makes the flowers grow, for goodness sake... and it was a very close race... but you know how these things go.

We all know that LOKI is the reason we can't have nice things. Forget children. I blame Loki. :)

I love the fact that wits and brawn are held in equal esteem, but I sure wish there was a lot more stories about the women. There's plenty of hints. Just lost fragments, however. It's a shame.

Still, what we've got is enough to whet anyone's appetite and I even think this is a perfectly appropriate text for young ones, too. I definitely plan on reading it to my kid once she holds still long enough for it. :) It'll be a nice companion to the The Kalevala and some Greek stuff, too. :)

Go Fenrir! (I'd really love to see Cthulhu go up against him.)

Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
793 reviews3,602 followers
February 21, 2023
Retelling and thereby pimping the original stuff

Like rarely someone except Gaiman could
His talent is incredible and extra fueled by his love for the material, so there´s simply no alternative if one is a mythology nerd. It´s also an example of the fact that

Ancient storytelling often fails in comparison with reboots
That´s kind of unfair too, because they invented storytelling and each nowadays author has several advantages. The millennia that passed and the works that have since been created to get inspiration from and steal everything that isn´t approved Loki safe standard, but especially the fact that creative writing can be learned, not to mention the importance of tvtropes. Or maybe modern writers just thereby subconsciously compensate for the fact that most stories have already been told and that there just can be

New interpretations of the gold standards
Let´s face it, we´re kind of always reading the same fantasy, sci fi, and horror tropes in different constellations, but it´s still always a hell of a ride. Especially if someone like Gaiman is so nice to tell us stories we should already be bored of. But instead of repeating one more round until boredom kicks in, he raises the level of how rousing a story can be and burns clearer pictures in our collective memory.

And there are still hidden mythology treasures from all around the world to be explored
Just as with the famous, mostly European, tales, their extra layer of ancient storytelling stylistics could be polished to make them more attractive to modern audiences. The sheer potential is immense and could lead to a similar avalanche of fictional stories inspired by them.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
344 reviews31k followers
March 8, 2021
Przyznaję, książkę czytało ( a właściwie słuchało) mi się bardzo dobrze. Nie czuć kompletnie Gaimana w tym Gaimanie, więc mogę wam ją polecić, nawet jeśli już się od tego autora odbiliście. Co nie zmienia faktu, że to prawdopodobnie ostatnia książka tego pana w moim życiu 🥲✨
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
February 8, 2019
Hammer of the gods!

A book written by NEIL GAIMAN about NORSE MYTHOLOGY was a book I was going to read. There was no way I was NOT going to read it. Mr. Gaiman might as well have mentioned me in the dedication page “… and of course Lyn must read this.”

And I was going to like it. He could have written “They were blond and cold. The end.” and I’d have said WOW! succinctly stated, he’s a genius!!!

Thankfully Gaiman goes into some more detail and has crafted for us a beautiful modern saga of the coolest pantheon in the multiverse. I, of course, revisited Deities & Demigods: Cyclopedia of Gods and Heroes from Myth and Legend and refreshed my memory of these badass northerners.

And like Norman Mailer did with Egyptian mythology in Ancient Evenings, and like Kevin Hearne is doing with the Celtic gods in his Iron Druid books, so too does Gaiman give life and breath to ancient myth. I am also reminded of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and how he was able to craft a First Age mythos for his fantasy.

We learn that unlike the money making Marvel heroes, these gods and goddesses are complicated and unfit for easy labels and stereotypes. This also made me think of myth in terms of ancient psychological needs and how primitives came up with the gods and their stories. A comparative religion study could trace the similarities in many legends and ancient belief systems. I am especially interested in a comparative study of Loki and other trickster gods like Coyote and Anansi. I was also reminded of American Tall Tales like Paul Bunyon and Pecos Bill and I thought of the origins of these kinds of stories.

And the author of American Gods is uniquely able to make this more than just a history lesson about primitive theology, and also more than just a current re-telling of legend. Gaiman reveals Loki as a colorful and complex rogue who is, like most of these figures, more than simply bad or good. (Although Deities & Demigods does list him as Chaotic Evil). Odin is darker and more mysterious than a grandfatherly figure; he’s cunning, dangerous and unpredictable. Thor is a simple and straightforward brute, sometimes petulant and easily misled. Gaiman’s interpretation of the death of Baldr was also very poignant.

So turn on Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, tap a keg of mead and enjoy!

Recommended for Gaiman fans, myth and legend fans and everyone else, a fun book.

Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
530 reviews34.5k followers
November 25, 2018
“Of course it was Loki. It’s always Loki.”

If you ask me this quote is a sufficient summary of the entirety of Norse mythology. *lol* But no one asked me so I’m going to continue to write down a few of my other thoughts. ;-P

- I wish I could have read this before I read Uncle Rick’s “Magnus Chase series” because there were all the details I wanted to know while I read those first two books. XD Also it’s kinda funny that Uncle Rick managed to write some of those stories into the plot of his books. ;-)

- Thor is definitely not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. *lol*

- What’s with all those giants and other gods that want to marry Freya?! O_o I mean what is she? A honeypot for bears?! XD They all want to buy a pig in a poke and don’t even know about her fierce temper. Haha! Poor Freya always reduced to her good looks. Guess this game is as old as time. *shakes head*

- Why are all the giants ugly except of some of the women?! *lol* I mean there were gods (Loki, Frey) who had a relationship with or married a giantess and they obviously were beautiful, so I don’t really get why the rest of them (even their parents) look the way they do. The ugliness skipped a generation? *lol*

- Why didn’t Balder and Freya start dating? They would have made the perfect children. ;-P

”Loki was handsome, and he knew it. People wanted to like him, they wanted to believe him, but he was undependable and self-centred at best, mischievous or evil at worst.”

- It was nice to hear more about Loki’s family even though I feel sorry for Sigyn. I mean he obviously cheated on her or his three kids with the giantess wouldn’t have even existed, yet she’s still faithful and stands next to him trying to safe him from the poison of the snake. Sigyn deserves everything and the world for this! <3

- I mean I get it, Loki caused Balder’s death and he did a lot of mischief over the centuries, did his deeds really qualify to punish him in that cruel manner though? Sigyn and his sons Narfi and Vali had nothing to do with his plotting yet they were the ones that got hurt the most. Couldn’t they just have locked Loki in an underground cell and let it be? To watch your children kill each other and to be bound with the intestines of one of them + the snake was a little bit over the top, wasn’t it? Just saying. No wonder he wants revenge in the form of Ragnarok.

- Also if Odin is the All-father and sees and knows everything how could he have missed so much? *lol* If Loki actually managed to do mischief whenever the almighty Odin was on the privy he’s even more talented than I thought. ;-P

- Last but not least I’ll go and check my family tree now. There’s a slight chance I could be one of Loki’s descendants. (All the mischief, plotting, scheming, being sassy, a self-confidence you’d have to slay extra one day … sounds damn familiar. Pity I didn’t inherit his good looks. *lol* ;-P)

This said: Happy Reading! XD


I love Norse mythology so I was kind of bound to read this book sooner or later and I’m really curious how Neil Gaiman wrote this.

The opinions of my friends seem to be rather mixed on this one and their reviews vary from 5 stars to only 2 or 3. Plus I read some disturbing updates. *lol* (Do I really want to read this?! XD)

Well, I guess I’ll have to find out if Gaiman’s book works for me or not.
Hopefully it does! Wish me luck! *crosses fingers*

P.S.: If it turns out to be bad it's at least not all too long. *lol*
Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
April 18, 2017
3.5/5 Stars

Gilgamesh from Mesopotamian religion, Izanagi from Japanese creation myth and Zeus from Greek myth. These are a few popular figures from many mythologies around the globe. I’m here to let you know my thoughts on one of the most popular and well known mythology, Norse Mythology, told by Neil Gaiman with Odin, Thor, and Loki at the center of the lore.

Norse mythology has always been one of the foundations used for most fictional stories in our time. I grew up playing tons of video games that were based on these myths without even realizing that they were based on the mythology in the first place. For instance, Odin as a summon in Final Fantasy franchise, Einherjar that were taken to Valhalla by the Valkyrie in preparation for Ragnarok in Valkyrie Profile series, or Yggdrasil, the tree of life that were depicted in Breath of Fire III but I won’t bore you with these countless video games adaptations.

Let’s do the most famous example: Thor and Loki from Marvel Universe. This franchise is so damn popular that every time the name Thor and Loki were mentioned, I can’t help but envisioned Chris Hemsworth and Toms Hiddleston as the canon facial features, flaunting their long hair everywhere like they’re in a shampoo commercial. (No idea why, they just do.)

Picture: Hair of the Gods

Anyway, my point is, Norse mythology is a really important source of material for our current media entertainment and I admit, it has always been one of my favorite mythologies along with Japanese, Greek and Rome mythology.

Norse Mythology is an EXACT retelling of Poetic Edda, the source material of the myth, which is already fantastic in its own way. Neil Gaiman did a great job in adapting the source into a collection of short stories with his own words that made it enjoyable to read, especially for beginner to the myth but for me who’s been fed with this myth for almost 20 years, I wish there’s something new to be found here. For those of you who don’t know, the basic outline of Norse Mythology is about the creation of the worlds until the final battle between the Gods and the creatures that will destroy the worlds. In case someone who doesn’t know about the myth stumbled upon this review, I won’t tell you about the battle itself other than in my opinion, it's always epic, in all adaptations.

Picture: An example of the kind of battle you’ll find in Ragnarok.

I find Neil’s retelling enjoyable to read but I do have two main problems with it.

-First, as I mentioned before, for those of you who’ve known about this myth already, you won’t find anything new here, this is an EXACT retelling that it almost feel like a copy and paste to me. I came into this book with the expectation that it will be a full novel with Neil’s own rendition of the myth but nope, you can actually go to Wikipedia, search Norse Mythology and voila, you’ll find the story told here.

-Secondly, this is a really expensive book for its content. It cost $20 where I live and for a 2 to 3 hour read of a story I’ve heard about almost my whole life is really not worth it. I received this book from my friend otherwise I’ll feel so robbed personally.

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.”

Overall, I personally still think that this book is a great introduction to the myth. The original source, the Poetic Edda languages are hard to dive into and it’s more of an info dump compared to this. Despite not finding anything original here, I still find it enjoyable and good to read.

I definitely recommend this to any Norse Mythology beginner, Neil Gaiman did a great job in this retelling and it’s so easy to understand the words he wrote. Plus, Norse Mythology is one of the best myths out there. You owe it to yourself to read it if you’re interested in knowing more about the original tale of Odin, Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, Balder, Fenrir, Mjollnir and many more names, I'll let you find out about them by yourself.

Picture: Norse Mythology by Marc Simonetti

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at Booknest
Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
January 12, 2018
In the beginning, there was nothing but mist and flames.
At least, that's what the Edda claims.

I've always been fascinated with Norse Mythology (and with everything ancient in general). With its strong impact on Marvel's movies, metal music and J.R.R. Tolkien, the AllFather of high fantasy, references to the mighty Gods of Asgard, and the impending twilight thereof, are a part of daily life. Neil Gaiman did not invent a story from the start. He had the material, the facts, the descriptions ready. Yet Norse Mythology is the stellar proof of his tremendous talent and ingenuity, because like a new Odin, he instilled breath in myths existing for thousands of years, he commanded to life frost giants, demons, dwarves, elves, Æsir and Vanir alike, and crafted a marvelous collection of stories, ideal to read them in a cold winter's night, next to a grinding fire, holding a cup of warm content, while your mind travels in wild landscapes and flies in the form of a raven, spying the creation of the world and its destruction, only to be reborn again. For in Norse Mythology, it is obvious that rebirth always follows death.
“Behind the depth, before the height
Surrounded by the serpent Jörmundgand
World of man in the middle
Of heat and ice built by the Ymer brow”

One of the most astonishing things you realise while reading Norse Mythology, is that human minds work in a similar manner all over the world. You can't help but notice the similarities with other mythologies, the traditions of people who thrived miles away. Take the creation of the Nine Worlds for example: there was a flood, one created by Ymer's blood, that destroyed all life only to start it anew. You will notice the same pattern in Greek Mythology, with Deucalion and Pyrrha, in Genesis, with Noah's ark, and many other cultures, like the Aboriginal tribes and the Mayas. You will also discover the origins of the Middle Earth's creation, and the races inhabiting it, and you'll marvel at the parallels between Gjallerhorn, which will be blown by Heimdall at the end of all things to wake the Gods, and the Horn of Valere which will summon the Heroes to battle in Tarmon Gai'don, the Final Battle, in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. It's chilling, and strangely satisfying.

Odin, Thor and Loki are the main dramatis personae, followed by Freyr and Freya, Baldr and Týr. Through Neil Gaiman's eyes, his witty narration infused with humour, subtle comments and foreboding, you witness Odin's quest for wisdom, and the price he had to pay to acquire it; you will find out how Loki made Sif go bald, and thus the greatest treasures came to the possesion of the Gods; you will follow a strange man's efforts to create the walls of Asgard, demanding to be paid with the sun, the moon and beautiful Freya.
Blue her eyes
Gold of hair
A maiden so fair”

You will shiver before the children of Loki, the serpent of Midgard, the lady of the realm of the Dead, and wolf Fenrir, the demise of the Gods.
“I watched as he shouted
To the giants who died that day
He held up his hammer high
And called to Odin for a sign”

You will laugh at Thor's disguise in order to take back Mjolnir, and taste the heavenly mead of Poetry and Widsom, which was made of blood; you'll visit the land of the giants alongside Thor and Loki and you'll be tricked by illusions; you'll search for the apples of Iðunn which grant eternal youth (apples of Hesperides anyone?) after the Gods lost them thanks to Loki; you'll see Freyr finding his missing part; you will steal the cauldron that brews the greatest beer; and you will mourn the death of the Sun.
“Honour your brother's name, unarmed or blind
Let me aid you in your aim, don't stay behind
Let's maim immortality and death to a deity”

You will find out how the first fishing net was created and why, and finally, you will freeze in the Coldest Winter, the prelude to the extinction of mankind, and the Twilight of the Gods.
See the earth go up in flames
The great serpent writhes in rage
The doom of gods now hath come
The fall of the sun
The gates of Hel devour the dead
At the twilight of the gods”

Neil Gaiman's pantheon is ruled by the same passions, desires and ambitions with the mortals. His Gods are naive and cruel, spontaneous and bloodthirsty; Thor is not particularly bright (nor as hot as Chris Hemsworth), and Loki is a spiteful creature, a puppeteer, a troublemaker and by the end, you'll crave his suffering.
“Asgard's always been my home
But I'm of different blood
I will overthrow the throne
Deceiver of the gods!”

Norse Mythology may not be original in its content, but it is innovative and deeply inspiring in its prose, and the blessed talent of the hand that wrote it. It is a quick and relaxing read I highly recommend if you're searching for your next epic adventure!
“Thor! Odin's son
Protector of mankind
Ride to meet your fate
Your destiny awaits”

*Buddy read with Eliasdgian*

Playlist (in order of lyrics' appearance)

Midgard - Therion
Frøya's Theme - Leave's Eyes
Thor - Manowar
Brother's Bane - Týr
Ragnarök - Stormwarrior
Deceiver of the Gods - Amon Amarth
Twilight of the Thunder God - Sabaton (Amon Amarth cover)
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
281 reviews504 followers
June 22, 2022
"I am grim of mind and wrathful of spirit and I have no desire to be nice to anyone."

I cannot say Norse is my favorite area for mythology, especially compared to the Greek, but Gaiman does a pretty good job here to get one interested in the Norse. In fact, I believe this is an excellent way to start your Norse journey.

I'm sure majority of the mythology fans probably had read Stephen Fry's Mythos, and if you had done so, this is going to be a lot familiar: A collection of small stories but shares an underlying plot that only gets attention during last chapter. Well, may not be as humorous as Fry's work, but good enough to keep one entertained. 3.5-stars.

"That is the end. But there is also what will come after the end...

From the gray waters of the ocean, the green earth will arise once more...

And the game begins anew."
Profile Image for Swrp.
662 reviews
January 14, 2022

Yes, just amazing. Neil Gaiman makes you fall in love with the goodness in Gods and Goddesses, and hate the evilness in them.

As Thor says if something goes wrong, blame Loki first, as it usually saves time...

But, if you end up feeling like a God (or Goddess) and decide on making Asgard your home, then first blame Neil Gaiman , and then blame yourself for reading Norse Mythology.

Norse Mythology is an amazing retelling of all the "so-called" myths and legends (*psst - don't tell anyone, but these are all for real, except for that squirrel 🐿ï¸ which gossips).

And finally, this book is highly NOT recommended (*me don't want Asgard to end up crowded like Planet Earth).
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,613 followers
April 2, 2017
First off the cover of this book is amaze balls! I just freaking love it! ❤

Many gods and goddesses are named in Norse mythology. You will meet quite a few of them in these pages. Most of the stories we have, however, concern two gods, Odin and his son Thor, and Odin's blood brother, a giant's son called Loki, who lives with the Aesir in Asgard.


I have always wanted to read a good book on Norse Mythology and I think Neil Gaiman did a great job explaining some things before the stories.

The different stories were awesome, okay, some were mean and what not but they were just so awesome. Stories of the gods and giants and ogres and cunning and trickery. I just loved it.

This book isn't very long at all and the stories are short but I think they were still great. We don't always have to read big tomes to get good stories =) That being said, I think this would have been a cool trilogy of stories, but that's just my opinion. I would liked to have seen two more books.

I think that anyone that loves the gods will love or like this book. I would recommend it for all of the great stories. I can see how they all wanted to drop-kick Loki across the room =)

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
November 12, 2020
”The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them. As best we can tell, the gods of Asgard came from Germany, spread into Scandinavia, and then out into the parts of the world dominated by the Vikings…. In English, the gods have left their names in our days of the week. You can find Tyr the one-handed (Odin’s son), Odin, Thor and Frig, the queen of the gods, in respectively, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.”

Christianity very nearly drove the old gods of the Northmen from the face of the Earth. There was something so tangible about the pagan gods. They had personalities, fallacies, and a sense of humor that didn’t always bode well for their human worshippers. If we learned that Loki, in particular, had taken an interest in our troubles, we felt more trepidation than relief. His cunning intelligence was more often used for creating mayhem than it was providing solutions to dire problems. He was the gasoline that turned a smoldering, warm, ash heap into a raging forest fire.

Loki made enemies of everyone, which was why he had to live in a house with four doors facing each direction. He was the instigator of much of the troubles the gods found themselves facing, but he was also the one who always brilliantly conceived a plan that saved them from those troubles. Was Loki more of an asset or a liability? You will have to decide that for yourself. I do know that finding out he was not on the side of the gods in the final battle, Ragnarok, made me tremble with concern for the gods.

Who didn’t want Thor on their side? He wasn’t the brightness bulb in a chandelier, but once he entered a fight, one side breathed a sigh of relief, and the other side started fleeing for their lives. His magic belt, Megingjord, doubled his strength, but it was his hammer, Mjollnir, that made Giants, Trolls, and other gods tremble. The great, recently departed, Stan Lee mined the Old Norse tales heavily for his writing. These Norse gods were superheroes long before the term ever existed.

What would we give up to have all the wisdom of the world? Odin gave up an eye. He even plucked it from his head with his own fingers. He was the god of the gods and, according to legend, the father of us all. ”Because he was the father of the gods, and because he breathed the breath of life into our grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents. Whether we are gods or mortals, Odin is the father of us all.”

How about this for creepy? The Death Ship, Naglfar, was made from the untrimmed fingernails of the dead. A friend of mine was once moved into a different office where he worked. He kept finding fingernail clippings in drawers, in between stacks of paper, under the desk legs, wedged behind the computer speakers, snagged in the carpet fibers. Every time he would clean a new section of his office, he would find piles of fingernail clippings to sweep up. This was all very creepy for him, but when I told him that the man those clippings belonged to had recently died, he nearly came out of his skin. Suddenly, those annoying nail clippings became eerie reminders of mortality.

Speaking of mortality: ”When the gods felt age beginning to touch them, to frost their hair or ache their joints, then they would go to Idunn. She would open her box and allow the god or goddess to eat a single apple. As they ate it, their youth and power would return to them. Without Idunn’s apples, the gods would scarcely be gods…” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could use a bite of those Golden Apples. I’m not even greedy; just a nibble would be great.

Even the mighty Thor could be temporarily flummoxed. ”There was a giantess in the kitchen, cutting up onions as big as boulders and cabbages the size of boats. Thor could not help staring: the old woman had nine hundred heads, each head uglier and more terrifying than the last. He took a step backward.” If you were fighting a monster like this, where would you start and where would you end?

The stories that Neil Gaiman gathered together here were based on what little was left of the pagan stories of the Norse gods. Fortunately, a 13th century Icelandic saga writer named Snorri Sturluson recorded these tales in his book Prose Edda. Neil Gaiman retold them with his entertaining and illuminating prose. Check out the life of Snorri Sturluson when you get the chance. He might have written about heroes of old, but his life was equally fascinating to read about.

What stories we have were the tip of the iceberg of the stories that were originally told. Wouldn’t it be great if more of them were found? The Norse gods were mere shadows of what they were in the past.

This was a wonderful introduction to Norse Mythology. If you know very little about the old gods, this would be a great place to start. If you have some idea of the Norse legends, you would certainly benefit from reading them in Gaiman’s engaging style. I even found myself chuckling at several points...that Loki kills me every time.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,919 reviews10.6k followers
May 1, 2017
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman is a compulsively readable retelling of various myths from Norse Mythology.

Once upon a time, in that hazy prehistoric time before Goodreads, Neil Gaiman was my favorite author. Sandman was the gateway drug but I read all the Gaiman works I could get my hands on: American Gods, Neverwhere, Coraline, Stardust, you get the point. As the years went by, some of the shine wore off that penny. As I explored Gaimain's influences, like P.G. Wodehouse and Ray Bradbury, some of the magic was diminished.

Anyway, I heard Gaimain was writing this book and my interest was rekindled. I've been curious about Norse mythology since reading my first Thor comic. Gaimain delivers the goods here.

In Norse Mythology, Gaimain retells fifteen Norse myths, from the creation of the Aesir to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, making them accessible to the modern reader.

All of the Norse gods you're familiar with from pop culture, namely Odin, Thor, Loki, Balder, and Heimdall, are here, as well as a slew of others like Vidar, Kvasir, and Hod. I was tangentially aware of some of what transpired, like Loki giving birth to a six-legged horse and Odin hanging from Yggdrasil, the world tree, for nine days and nights before gaining his wisdom, but a lot of it was new to me. The Aesir sure liked to booze it up, didn't they?

While there was quite a bit to like about this book, the thing that really stuck in my mind was Naglfar, the ship of the dead made out of fingernails. Really. Loki tying his junk to the beard of a goat for entertainment purposes was right up there, though.

Reading Norse Mythology, I noticed echoes of it in fantasy novels I've read in past couple decades, most notably The Elric Saga Part II and The First Chronicles of Amber. For my money, this is the best thing Gaimain has done since The Graveyard Book (though Doctor Who: Nothing O'Clock was also pretty sweet.) Four out of five stars.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book859 followers
January 17, 2021
Eight centuries ago, Snorri Sturluson, one of Iceland’s greatest literary glories, wrote the Prose Edda, a significant source for what is left of the ancient religion of the Vikings, with a medieval Christianity twist. Only recently, Neil Gaiman, one of Britain’s most celebrated literary glories, wrote this Norse Mythology, a blockbuster retelling of the ancient religion of the Vikings, with a Marvel superhero twist.

While it is not always easy to wrap one’s head around Snorri’s prose, Gaiman’s book is delightful and readable, almost a children’s digest of these arcane myths of pre-Christian Scandinavia. The colourful tales flow naturally under Gaiman’s pen as if they were a collection of Grimm’s fairytales or Lancelyn Green’s recounting of the Arthurian legends.

Gaiman addresses the reader as if he were a skald speaking to an audience gathered around a campfire under a field of chilly stars. He starts with the dismemberment of the cosmic Ymir at the beginning of times. He leads us through the various adventures of the gods of Asgard, particularly Odin, Thor and Loki, against different kinds of cave-dwarfs and frost-giants, all the way to the last battle of Ragnarök, at the end of days. I particularly love the stories that involve this most unlikely duo, the coarse and invincible Thor and the devious and shapeshifting Loki. Some of their adventures, for instance, their encounter with the Brobdingnagian Skrymir/Utgardaloki, are fascinating; others, like Thor’s wedding with the ogre Thrym, are priceless. Gaiman’s description of Ragnarök is both sublime and sinister: indubitably the best section of the whole book.

However, while Snorri Sturluson went on to tell the stories of the hero Sigurd, Gaiman restricts himself to the narratives concerning the gods. Therefore, you will not find a word in his book about the heroic Norsemen — historical or legendary — who are mentioned in Snorri’s Heimskringla, in Saxo’s Gesta Danorums (the source of Shakespeare’s Hamlet), in the Völsunga Saga, or the Nibelungenlied.

Naturally, these myths, which had been stifled under Christian domination, resurfaced in the 19th century with Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, and in the 20th century with J. R. R. Tolkien — the Silmarillion is a fascinating variation on the Norse myths. More recently, G. R. R. Martin borrowed quite a few themes from these old myths in his A Song of Ice and Fire, and there are now literally piles of YA novels that giddily, and maybe unwittingly, loot and misrepresent Snorri’s legacy. However, Gaiman’s book is an honest, faithful, engaging and robust endeavour to make it shine yet again.
Profile Image for Paul O’Neill.
Author 3 books174 followers
March 21, 2017
What a fantastic retelling of Norse Myths. Featuring such characters as Odin, Thor and Loki along with a host of other lesser known gods and characters.

Gaiman does his best to stick to the source material and not stray too far from the myths themselves, writing it in his own language which really brings the stories to life. By doing this, Gaiman has written the perfect place to start if you want to learn more about Norse Mythology in my view.

What really added to my enjoyment was that I had read the Poetic Edda before this, so I had an inclination as to which myths would get the Gaiman treatment.

It’s basically a collection of short stories, with a large Ragnarok story at the end. Amongst my favourites were:
• How Thor receives Mjollnir (Treasures of the Gods)
• When Thor has to dress up as a bride to get Mjollnir back (Freya’s unusual wedding)
• The story of the cauldron the Gods want so they can get drunk a lot (Hymir and Thor’s fishing expedition)
• The mead of Poetry (Mead of poets)

My favourite though, was Thor’s journey to the land of the giants. It’s one of the longer tales in the book where Thor and his companions are put through their paces in a number of physical contests.

Gaiman stays true to how the characters are described within the ancient myths. The characters are different to what people have come to expect from Marvel films. Thor is a bit of a dumb meat head. Odin is treacherous and ultimately clever. Loki is even more conniving than the film/comic book version.

Gaiman starts the book by saying that Norse myths are his favourites, and this shows with the level of care he gives the source material whilst adding his own spin to the tales. Norsemen also play a large part in American Gods.

I listened to this on audiobook and Gaiman’s narration is great. Something really special happens when writers narrate their own works. The passion comes across when they read their own works. I’d recommend any of Gaiman’s audiobooks.

Final thought

Gaiman has definitely drank from Odin’s Gift (from the nice end!) and this is a must-read for anyone interested in Norse / Viking history. I already want to reread this, it was that good and it’s short enough to be read in a couple of days.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
March 10, 2021
There is not much to say about this book, except that if you have a few hours of very boring work ahead of you, listening to Neil Gaiman tell you his versions of fairytales ancient myths at 2x speed is a fairly ideal way to accompany it.

Doesn't need too much attention. Won't distract you very much. This should be consumed, in my opinion, exactly as pleasant background noise.

Sorry that that's kind of a frenemy-ish thing to say.

Bottom line: Fine!


what's the level of possibility on neil gaiman narrating every audiobook?

asking for a friend or whatever.

review to come / 3 stars

tbr review

on a quest to find pure joy. pretty sure i'm on the right track with "mythology rewritten and read aloud by neil gaiman"
Profile Image for Peter.
2,620 reviews467 followers
January 24, 2020
If you never read Northern mythologies before or only heard about the Northern Pantheon by a Marvel movie (the author refers to them in his introduction) this is certainly the book to get a good entry into that world. Neil Gaiman professionally introduces in a modern and fluent narrative what it is about and who the main players are. You come to know why Thor once dressed up as a woman, learn where poetry does come from and wonder about the timeless wisdom that no one can beat old age. Packed chapters tell of Thor, Thyr, Odin, Loki and their adventures. You see how the world was structured back then and what was good or evil. My favourites were the death of Balder, the last days of Loki and the apocalyptic Ragnarok, the final destiny and destruction of the Gods. The end of the old times. Well, so far so good. Was there anything new to Northern Mythology as I read it way back in my childhood and youth? Unfortunately not too much. Certainly a good book if you want to have some more background to a Marvel movie or comic but not sufficient for the experienced Mythologist. It's easy to read though and brought back some memories of the old stories. A good basic work, a fine cover and a quick read. But don't expect any new aspects.
Profile Image for Ahmed  Ejaz.
549 reviews325 followers
April 8, 2017
**Spoiler Free Review**
There is no glory without danger
Before beginning the review, I clear out that I read this book as a fictional work not as the work which I believe can be/is true. I am telling you because this book was getting little serious about narrating these myths. Like trying to make us believe these are real facts.
Now, the actual review:
This book is the re-writing of Norse Mythology. Author doesn't exaggerate the facts. He simply re-writes some of the popular myths in pretty straight-forward way. I really liked the writing style.
Most of the myths are about Odin, Thor and Loki.

In the whole fifteen myths, I just loved four:
=> The Children of Loki
=>Freya's Unusual Wedding
[this is hilarious]
=>Thor's Journey to the Land's of Giants
[this myth has some great universal truths]
=> The Treasures of gods
[if you wanna know how Thor got his Hammer, read it]

These are those which I enjoyed the most. Other than these were just fine. Some of them I liked as a fiction. Some of them I didn't even like as a fiction.

I liked Loki. He was clever. Evil. Cause of every bad deed. But he was little good too. I couldn't decide whether he was completely good or completely bad. Thor was also good. I liked reading his myths too. I couldn't like Odin that much. He was just fine.

After reading this book, I wouldn't recommend this book to children. Even though this book is totally fine for them. But still I won't be recommending this to them. I hope some of you have gotten an idea why I am saying this. Believe me this book is totally fine for them. But I am not feeling that they should read this book. Of course when they will have grown-up then there is no harm.

Or the most important thing I almost forgot to tell you that this was my first Mythology reading. I thought these were just like our regular fantasy genre. But now I think that there is a great joy in reading myths as a part of books' plot. Like Rick Reordan's books. Rather than reading the original myths. Don't get me wrong, please!

Nevertheless, this book is good. Highly recommended for those who love reading original myths. But not for children until their mature age.

☆☆3.5 Stars☆☆
When something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time -- Thor

April 5, 2017
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
May 8, 2022
Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology is a 2017 book by Neil Gaiman. The book is Gaiman's retelling of several stories from Norse mythology. These stories include the theft of Thor's hammer, the binding of Fenrir and other tales about the Aesir. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki—son of a giant—blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «اساطیر نورس (نورسه)»؛ «داستان‌های کهن اسکاندیناوی»؛ نویسنده: نیل گیمن؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و چهارم ماه ژوئن سال2019میلادی

عنوان: اساطیر نورس (نورسه)؛ نویسنده: نیل گیمن؛ مترجم: رحیم قاسمیان؛ ویراستار: فرزاد فربد؛ تهران: انتشارات پریان‏‫، سال‏‫1397؛ در288ص؛ شابک9786007058589؛ ‬‬ موضوع: اساطیر اسکاندینای از نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده21م

عنوان: داستان‌های کهن اسکاندیناوی؛ نویسنده: نیل گیمن؛ مترجم: جواد همایون‌پور؛ سبزوار: انتشارات یوبان‏‫، سال‏1397؛ در270ص؛ شابک9786008349396؛

کتاب «داستانهای کهن اسکاندیناوی»، اثری نوشته ی «نیل گیمن» است، که نخستین بار در سال2017میلادی، به چاپ رسید؛ «نیل گیمن» که مدتها از اساطیر کهن، برای آفرینش دنیاهای شگفت انگیز داستانهای خویش الهام گرفته، در این کتاب به پرداختی نوین از «خدایان نورس»، و ریشه ها و داستانهای مربوط به آنها دست زده اند�� «گیمن» در این کتاب «داستانهای کهن اسکاندیناوی»، با وفاداری ویژه، از خدایان چندگانه ی «نورس» سخن میگویند؛ از: «اودین، خدای خدایان، که خردمند، جسور و زیرک است»؛ «ثور، پسر اودین که بی نهایت قدرتمند است اما باهوشترینِ خدایان به حساب نمیآید»؛ و «لوکی، برادر خونی اودین و شخصیتی حیله گر و فوق العاده فرصت طلب»؛ «گیمن» با نثر دل انگیز و هیجانی خود به داستانهای افسانه ای این خدایان میپردازند، و به آنها، با همه ی پیچیدگیها و ظرافتهای شخصیتیشان، جانی دوباره میبخشند؛ اسطوره ­های «اسکاندیناوی»، اسطوره­ های سرزمین­های سرد هستند، با شب­های زمستانی بسیار بلند، و روزهای تابستانی بی ­پایان، اسطوره ­های مردمانی که هرگزی کاملا به کسی، حتی به ایزدان خودشان باور نمی­کردند، اگرچه از ایزدان می­ترسیدند، و به آن­ها احترام می­گذاشتند؛ به گمان این فراموشکار ایزدان «آسگارد» از «آلمان» آمدند، و در «اسکاندیناوی» گسترش یافتند، و سپس به بخش­هایی از جهان، که «وایکینگ­ها» تصرف کردند، راه یافتند، به جزیره ی «اورکنی اسکاتلند»، و سرزمین «اسکاتلند»، «ایرلند»، و به شمال «انگلستان»، جاییکه این مهاجمان بخش­هایی از سرزمینشان را با نامهای ایزدان خویش «ادین» و «تور» همنام کردند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 23/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 17/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
160 reviews322 followers
December 16, 2020
Re-read (16/12/20) - 5 ⭐
Initial Read (19/5/19) - 4 ⭐

I’ve fallen for Norse Mythology as unequivocally and as whole-heartedly as Frey, Brother of Freya, fell for the beautiful Giantess, Gerd. Gaiman’s ‘Norse Mythology’ is the closest thing I’ve found, thus far, to literary comfort food and I can see myself coming back time and time again to these stories that range from Humorous and Whimsical to Tragic and Epic, but always peculiar. Very peculiar. If you’re a lover of Greek or Egyptian Mythology but haven’t delved into Scandinavian, or if your knowledge of Norse Mythology is limited to the Marvel Universe, you really must do yourself the kindness of picking up this wonderful little book.

Given that this re-read was my first-ever audiobook experience, I suppose I should make comment on that. Firstly, thank you to my friend Aoife who suggested the audiobook when I mentioned I was eager to re-read it. It was a masterclass in story-telling, narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. His enthusiasm and passion for the source material is apparent as early as the introduction in which he all but confesses his favouritism of Norse Mythology over others. He voices all characters superbly, with oddities specific to each individual, apparent. Thor is Mr.Bombastic himself, Loki sounds sly and mischievous, Odin sounds wise and all-knowing, it’s all spot on. I don’t drink warm cocoa or have a fire to sit by but I would imagine that’s the ideal means by which to settle in and listen to this veritable dessert platter of curious tales.

I will mention that I had to go back to the paperback for 2 very short chapters, ‘Before the Beginning, and After’ and ‘Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds’ due to the shear number of obscure names of people and places spat out in a brief account of the beginning of everything. But they are exceptions, once you get to the more story-driven chapters, the audio medium is perfect.

”That was the thing about Loki. You resented him even when you were at your most grateful, and you were grateful to him even when you hated him the most”.

Ultimately, like everything, these tales are a result of cause and effect. With Loki invariably being the cause, and the effects ranging from the birth of Sleipnir the eight-legged horse, the result of inter-species intercourse between God and Horse, to the creation of the legendary weapons Mjollnir (Thor’s hammer) and Gungnir (Odin’s spear), and finally to Ragnarok, both the beginning and the violent end of the world as it is and as it will be. Everything that the Gods own must have a name! Megingjord (Thor’s belt of strength), Naglfar (a boat made entirely of the fingernails and toenails of the dead) and many of these names were familiar to me as I’ve seen them used, time and time again, in Movies, TV and comic books but never more copiously than in video games where RPG’s like Elder Scrolls or Final Fantasy make endless references to these legendary Gods and their treasures. ‘God of War’ is another recent example of a game that brought these tales to life in extraordinary detail. The influence is widespread.

As Neil makes clear in the introduction there are a few inconsistencies and contradictions from myth to myth. One such example is the generous palming-out of the title “Wisest of the Gods”. Mimir who is just a head and whose well Odin drinks from to gain wisdom and clarity, is the wisest of all the Gods. But Kvasir, who was born of the saliva of the Aesir and the Vanir is THE wisest of the Gods. At the Same time, Odin The All father is the WISEST of the Gods…. Hmm, at times you could be forgiven for thinking Trump may have written the first manuscripts of Norse Mythology, which he would claim, and for once I might agree, are “The greatest! The likes of which the World has never seen before”. There are a number of these quirks but these are ancient tales, it is what it is. Make a game of picking out the inconsistencies, I did, it doesn’t hurt the experience.

The only thing that disappointed me about this collection of myths is that it is not more substantial but this is no fault of Gaimans. It’s largely due to the fact that “record-keeping” wasn’t at the top of the priorities list for the Scandinavian people of the early middle-ages. Storytelling was very much an oral tradition for the Icelanders and the stories were only collected into manuscripts beginning in the 13th Century. These early texts include the Prose Edda and the Poetic Edda, The former composed by Snorri Sturluson (Great name!), the latter anonymously composed. I’ll definitely be needing to read them both to satiate my new North Germanic addiction!
Happy reading! :)

“There is no end. It is simply the end of the old times, Loki, and the beginning of the new times. Rebirth always follows death.”
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
566 reviews3,927 followers
June 12, 2018
Igual es un poco loco darle 5 ESTRELLAZAS a este libro pero es que lo he disfrutado DEMASIADO.
Este volumen es una manera genial de introducirse en los mitos nórdicos contados de manera super entretenida, ligera, divertida y al mismo tiempo informativa.
Igual influye que amo la mitología nórdica y que amo a Gaiman, pero el caso es que ha sido una lectura de 10 para mi.
¿Dónde hay que votar para que Gaiman escriba más libros sobre leyendas y mitología?
Profile Image for Philip.
498 reviews672 followers
December 22, 2017
2.5ish stars

Interesting folklore told competently, descriptively and cleverly. That's about the gist of it.

Most of the stories were new to me. Some of them I enjoyed more than others. All of the blurbs describe this as Gaiman's "version/rendition/interpretation" of the mythos (and he presents a good rendition) rather than actual fiction. As such, this was more of a "that was cool I'm glad I read that" read than a "whoa coolest book ever!" read.

Favorites: The Treasures of the Gods, Freya's Unusual Wedding, Thor's Journey to the Land of the Giants (all the silly ones with Thor being a doofus) and The Death of Balder

Also Gaiman is a really awesome audiobook performer! It surprised me!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 10, 2020
“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”
This is my first comprehensive book on Norse Mythology and I was not a huge fan. Everything seems too disconnected. The Gods actions, their reactions, their punishments all don't seem to fit. There wasn't fluidity between one legend and the next - it felt like a bunch of disjointed vignettes featuring the same characters.

But, considering most of my knowledge is based on Marvel movies, I can't tell if bits of the stories are being left out in this rendition, if it's Gaiman's particular style or if this is just how the myths are told. If they are anything like Greek myths, I think it could be just due to the oral traditions being scattered and warped every time they're told.

I did enjoy Gaiman's style of writing. Yes, these tales are ancient but they didn't quite feel so old. Gaiman inserts humor through the word-choice that while likely not a literal translation, it certainly made for better listening.
I’m not happy about any of this,” said Thor. “I’m going to kill somebody soon, just to relieve the tension. You’ll see.
There's such a steep curve for keeping track of the people and things. I kept having to rewind my audiobook to figure out what I missed. Everything, right down to the cauldrons and the hammers have difficult names and sometimes multiple names. However, listening to the audiobook did make it slightly easier to handle all of those names.
Of course it was Loki. It's always Loki.
Audiobook Comments
Read by the author (a definitely plus)...and reading all of those crazy names was difficult but listening to them being said was significantly better for keeping track.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
February 27, 2019
If you want to read myths and stories about the gods of Valhalla, Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology is quick, accessible and an entertaining way to delve into the subject. Some of the tales were short and fragmented, but that allows the reader to see the difference between the source material and the way these legends have evolved in the modern day. What really makes this compelling is the fact that Gaiman is such a great storyteller himself. The gods are no longer characters in a superhero universe. They belong to their own time and distinct place. Without changing the essential stories, Gaiman brings life to them. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews931 followers
February 9, 2017
I do not have a strong knowledge of any mythology as a general rule. It's something I've been wanting to remedy for a while, but it's a vast subject.

I've known for a while that Gaiman was working on Norse Mythology (for almost 8 years wowza!), and that many of his stories and characters take inspiration from the Norse tales. So naturally, I pre-ordered this one.

I did enjoy this. It's a selection of tales, mostly focusing on Odin, Loki, and Thor, that all lead up to Ragnarok, the end of the world. It's a quick read, and decently accurate. Gaiman retold these stories in an interesting way, in layman's terms, and definitely taught me a couple things I did not know.

I think this book accomplished what it set out to accomplish, but I guess I was looking for a little more. I haven't read scores of mythology books in order to know how this holds up against other existing works, but I stayed present more for Gaiman's brilliant writing style than for the actual stories he chose to retell.

Throughout the book I saw glimpses of some characters I would've liked to hear more about, such as Fenrir, Loki's wolf son. Perhaps substantial material on these gods does not exist, but they caught my attention and I definitely wanted to explore more of their story. But as I mentioned earlier, a large portion of the focus was on Loki and Thor.

I must say though Loki is a very interesting dude... maybe I'm just ignorant but I didn't realize he is literally at the heart of every problem.

From his author's note, I'm to understand that Gaiman would've liked to focus on some lesser known Gods, but that there simply is not enough source material to accurately and effectively retell their tales. While I appreciate that this book exists, I don't believe it is something I'll ever revisit.
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews892 followers
October 21, 2019
I don't know why but this book failed to keep me interested. It was hard for me to keep focused, I found myself getting distracted really easily.

The writing style was quick and easy and I'm generally very interested in norse mythology, so it doesn't really make sense that I didn't enjoy it that much. But oh well, shit happens lol
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