Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Norse Mythology
By Neil Gaiman
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN13: 9780393609097
Pages: 293
Genre: Mythology/Fantasy

Goodreads Blurb:

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.


I am late today and have yet to make my rounds for two reasons: real life and I know several bloggers who just finished this very book because it is highly anticipated. So I opted to skip perusing through posts during lunch today. I wanted to ensure that when I finally completed this review that it was completely my own. Let’s face it, we start reading reviews and we begin seeing things in a different light at times. I am trying to assure that this is exactly as it has played out in my head for the last few days. I mean I currently have a rainbow of tabs accumulated and a brain crammed full of thoughts.. let’s put them to good use.

The title alone is self-explanatory. This is a collection of Norse Mythology that is presented to us by Neil Gaiman. I find it unnecessary to remind many of you of the standards to which I happen to hold this particular author to. He is an auto-buy. He has proven his worth and earned that respect. He tirelessly prevails and exceeds. So I had no doubts that this beautifully and so aptly covered book would meet these high expectations.

What is presented to us is a masterfully crafted interpretation of myths that are easily engaging equally for readers with a solid background in Norse mythology to those with  little to no previously working knowledge. I admit that I fall into this latter category. In fact, I believe most of my learned mythology was derived from comics and video games. My high school and college studies tend to have leaned more heavily towards Greek mythology. So I can claim not true intellectual comprehension, I speak only of what I took away from this reading.

This was an experience that read more of a worthy and fascinating history than simply fiction. We are given a clear concept of the events that unfolded during the lives of Odin, Thor and Loki. The stories are delivered in an almost simplistic yet impactful and memorable manner that has made the entire event flawlessly engrossing and informative. Gaiman has taken something older and complex at times and made it approachable for every individual.

After a welcoming introduction, we are immediately introduced to the key players and some familiar Gods for many of you:

Odin – He is oldest of all gods and the all-father, he is known by many names.
Thor – He is known for his strength and his legendary hammer Mjollnir, he is a son of Odin.
Loki – He is known for his wit and looks. He is a constant thorn in the sides of the other gods and Odin’s blood brother.

Don’t fret, Gaiman has left no stone unturned including many other gods and characters that are familiar to Norse mythology, including dear Freya.

I attribute part of the successful execution of Norse Mythology to just how well Gaiman has managed to divide each story and narration appropriately. He has even so kindly inserted a thorough glossary for those who find themselves in need. The reading process is fluid and effortless. This is a title that could easily be consumed within a few hours.

We are graciously gifted 15 stories within this beautiful title. My favorites would include:

  • Mimir’s Head and Odin’s Eye
  • Freya’s Unusual Wedding
  • Hymir and Thor’s Fishing Expedition
  • The Last Days of Loki

If I had to choose an absolute favorite god, it would be Loki. For all of his mischief and arrogance, there was a great amount of entertainment to be found within his exploits and adventures. He truly is cunning.

“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.”

“He is tolerated by the gods, perhaps because his stratagems and plans save them as often as they get them into trouble.
Loki makes the world more interesting but less safe. He is the father of monsters, the author of woes, the sly god.”

Gaiman has vividly painted the worlds of Asgard and beyond with great clarity. This fascinating history of mythology unfolds in a way that only he could make happen. His ability to weave endlessly enchanting stories full of magic and promise carry you effortlessly on a journey from the very birth of Odin to Ragnarök. Even those with zero comprehension of Norse mythology will walk away feeling knowledgeable and satisfied.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Purchase Links:

Amazon US  Amazon UK  Book Depository

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92 thoughts on “Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

  1. I’m so adding this one to my ever growing Gaiman TBR! I have to admit I know next to nothing about Norse Mythology except for what was briefly covered in a Humanities class I took. So, it’s good to know that you can go into this without really knowing anything and still understand it. I love learning about different mythologies so this definitely seems like a book that is my cup of tea. Great review, Danielle!! 😊💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely review Danielle! You know how I feel about Uncle Gaiman! I was waiting for your review with fingers crossed & now I can finally breathe 😃 Lol! I’m going to read along with the audiobook hopefully within the next two weeks. Loki seems like he would be my favorite too but I do love Freya, you have me looking forward to this even more now. I’ll keep an eye out for the stories you’re favorited 😉

    P.S. Hip hip hooray for Glossaries! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes haha, Uncle Gaiman. I had to refrain from calling him that during my review lol. People would have thought I was either crazy or had the coolest uncle in the world 😛

      Freya and Loki are awesome! And so are glossaries. I hope to see you review this one soon ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review madam!😀

    Ah, different favourite stories apart from Freya’s Unusual Wedding, it was a fun short, Thor!lol 😂

    Totally agree with you about reading other reviews affecting your own thoughts, it can’t be helped though as the damn words sink in. I didn’t read any other reviews either until I’d wrote mine, I wrote it in the morning after work, surprisingly the words just flowed and I’m usually slow at writing reviews!😂

    Glad you wrote that the tales are slightly simplistic, that was what I thought with his writing but it just makes it more accessible to all.😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sir! I too wrote this with ease right after work… odd hmmm. Queue eerie music haha.

      I did find that it was very well executed and approachable for all. I think some mythology can be unnecessarily complicated, so I really appreciated that aspect 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay! I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! I wasn’t expecting the stories to be written in their simplistic fashion, but I was find with the style after the first story. It definitely helps you absorb the stories more easily.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been seeing reviews for this everywhere today! (But yours is the bestest) 😘 Anywho, I need to read this, seriously. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It was my love for Greek and Norse Mythology that got me to start reading Fantasy, back when I was 5 or 6 years old. (yes I was a strange kid). So I will definitely be getting this one soon. When I will have time to read it is a whole other story. As always a great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love legends and mythology and saw quite a lot of it in school back in the days, I remember was always fascinated. I also just saw an episode of Face Off where these sculptors had to create a godlike masked character showing their special power. I’m so in the mood for a book like this right now! Great review again.. I don’t think he can do much wrong by you anymore ;-).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And the wait is over… This book has been like the Second Coming or something but it seems the wait has been totally worth it 🙂
    Seeing as you and Drew really enjoyed this I will be happy to also read this someday soon… I’ll need to score a hardback just for the cover alone! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hated the Sandman series and his short stories Fragile Things. The Sleeper and the Spindle was ok, but I did really like the first Marvel 1602. I’m not totally tuned off by his writings, I just haven’t had much luck with what I have picked up.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Fantastic review! I’m glad to hear that Gaiman hasn’t disappointed you with this latest, less traditional type of story. I like the sound of “simple writing” as people are probably not looking for an in-depth analysis of all those famous Norse stories, especially with Neil Gaiman behind it all. I guess something that would leave an overall impression on the readers memory regarding Norse mythos was the best way to do it.

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Danielle–it’s obvious that you were completely immersed in this novel. Not only is it obvious that you have strong opinions which you have clearly articulated, but your writing style is different in this post than most. You picked up a bit of Gaiman’s writing style! It’s awesome. What a FABULOUS review!

    I’m so glad this book lived up to the hype. Like you said, Gaiman is an auto-buy. Your whole post is rave rave rave! Yet, you only rated this 4/5 stars. Where did the 5th star go? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It was simple because the stories while entertaining were very straightforward. There was no unnecessary addition of overly complex history that mmy make this daunting for some. He incorporated enough to convey the story and presented it in a very easy to follow time line 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  11. I just love the idea of this book and now that I know it’s okay to have little to no knowledge of Norse mythology, I’d happily dive into it! This is a beautiful and fantastic review, I feel you wrote this review to match the book so perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stop *blushes* ❤ You can absolutely jump in without prior knowledge. It will not hinder your experience at all. If you enjoy mythology then give it a go. Although, I am not sure how this will sit with those who do not normally prefer mythology. Maybe I will find a review soon 😉


  12. Fantastic review Danielle!

    “His ability to weave endlessly enchanting stories full of magic and promise carry you effortlessly on a journey from the very birth of Odin to Ragnarök. Even those with zero comprehension of Norse mythology will walk away feeling knowledgeable and satisfied.”

    If I wasn’t already planning on reading this one, the conclusion to your review would have had me running to the bookstore! I discovered Neil Gaiman this past year and he has also become an auto-buy author for me. I have been working my way through all of his books and am currently reading Neverwhere. I picked up a signed copy of Norse Mythology on release day at my local bookstore. I was beyond thrilled. Cannot wait to pick this one up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Signed! I am sitting over here super jealous of you at the moment 😉 I cannot wait to see how you feel about Neverwhere. My favorite. But it is dark and many people cannot seem to get into it for that reason. I think it is a lover or hate. Review soon I hope?

      Liked by 1 person

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