Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.)
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