Review: Norse Mythology, Neil Gaiman

Rating: 3 out of 5

I thought this was average at best. It wasn’t that the stories are bad — I know them from before and Norse mythology is absolutely amazing. What I was disappointed in, however, is that a lot of the very cool stories were not considered. That being said, Mr Gaiman’s introduction into this topic was pretty good and included aspects which are wise to keep in mind when dealing with mythology in general (such as who wrote it down and what did they really think).

Indeed, in tone and style this felt more like a half-hearted attempt to put out another book. The Norse mythology, after all, is incredibly more complex and varied though the author’s presentation of a circular world is effective. What he completely ignored, however, and potentially it is in mind to write a sequel about this, are the Norse heroes whose exploits are similarly astonishing as those of the well-known Greeks.

I also found the light comedy aspect disappointing — I don’t have a problem with the author describing the gods as he did, but some of the dialogue started feeling like a sitcom where you know what reaction follows an action. I am actually amazed that a writer this nuanced didn’t find it in himself to use more of his skill to describe some of the most anthropomorphic deities who have ever existed.

Yet, with all of the above drawbacks considered, I would still rate this as an alright book for those who wish to re-delve into the Scandinavian mythology. Just don’t go into it hoping for too much detail, and you’ll be alright.

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