Tricksters in Norse Mythology | Spoiler-Free Review

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

5 Star Rating System 3 stars

Genre: Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: February 2017
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Pages: 301 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

I have rarely delved into the world of Norse Mythology – at least not to the extent that I have with Greek Mythology. This was quite a short book filled with a bundle of short stories about the gods. I really enjoyed listening to it via audiobook but I wasn’t all that inspired by Gaiman’s performance, which was surprising. I also have come out of this book with a sense of not knowing if I’ve heard all the stories or 1% of the stories. I have many thoughts to ponder.


Norse Mythology

This is Neil Gaiman’s take on Norse Mythology as told by him. It’s essentially a collection of short stories about the Norse gods following all the ones we know and love (largely thanks to Marvel, let’s not lie) such as Thor, Odin and Loki.


What I Liked

I found the Norse stories compared to the Greek ones to be a little more fun and I enjoyed that a lot. Whereas Greek Mythology follows a lot of adventure and cunning – often with monsters and lessons to be learnt, I found Norse Mythology to be a little different.

Which was certainly unexpected. I was expecting to draw more parallels between the two but that just goes to show how little I really know about it. The main character that seems to have driven a lot of these stories is Loki. He’s always causing havoc and is the reason behind many of the things that happen in Asgard.

Being a massive fan of Tom Hiddleston (Marvel), I’ve always had a soft spot for Loki, so I thoroughly enjoyed Hiddleston playing the role of Loki in my mind for this book, too. Mostly, the gods just seem to be having a lot of fun and sidestepping a lot of trouble laid down by Loki.

Many of the stories are stories of revenge or deceit as the gods try to get what they want out of others. The cast of characters was small and familiar, unlike in Greek Mythology where the cast seems genuinely endless. So I enjoyed knowing the history and motives of all the characters as we progressed through all of the stories from beginning to end.


What Stumped Me

As much as I enjoyed this on a base level, I just had so many questions coming out of it at the other end. Are there more stories? What else did the gods do? What did they really do in their spare time? Did they ever really interact with mortals?

Funnily enough, I felt a bit lost at the context of the Norse gods, because the Greek gods you can almost draw parallels with more modern religions with how they tie in with mortals and the fact that we supposedly could learn from their mistakes. Whereas the Norse gods just seem to be having a grand old time and are somewhat separate from the world itself.

My main complaint is that I had too many questions at the end of this book. Surely there are more stories? Surely I can uncover more? But I just don’t know. I could, of course, look this up, but a hint or suggestion from Gaiman as to how much of the Norse story he was portraying in this small book would have been nice for the naive Norse newbie, like myself.


Summary

A thoroughly enjoyable book – and a good-ish narration by Neil Gaiman for the audiobook. I would certainly recommend this to those who are interested in Norse Mythology but I shall be waiting with bated breath for a sequel or some explanation as to whether we will be getting any more out of Gaiman on this topic!


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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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3 thoughts on “Tricksters in Norse Mythology | Spoiler-Free Review

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