I’ll admit one thing – Neil Gaiman is on of the writers I trust completely. If he decides to write anything I’ll probably not only read it but buy a copy as soon as it’s translated to my language. It’s not that I love everything that he’s written, no, I was actually left unsatisfied more than once after reading his stories but the truth is – if you’re a fantasy lover, you will have problems with finding someone who writes better than Gaiman.
There are a couple of reasons why I was a bit unhappy when I heard that he’s writing a retelling of Norse myths. The first reason is, well, it’s not his original story. Now if you’ve read his The Sleeper and the Spindle you’ll know that he can write an interesting retelling (this one is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White), but I usually like his original stories more (especially The Graveyard Book). The second reason has something to do with recent adaptations of Norse myths (in Marvel movies or in the TV show Vikings). There are actually many stories inspired by Norse myths and while I actually find many other mythologies more fascinating, people keep using the same old stories. The third reason may seem absurd but it is what it is – sometimes it’s really hard to read a long book with many characters if you’re not an English speaker and given that not many people are interested to read these stories in my area it may never be translated or very late this year. This is why I waited for a long time to get this book and finally I got an audiobook! And trust me, you too want Neil Gaiman to read to you.
I found that the introduction was the most important part, so don’t skip it. In it Gaiman explains how he got the idea to write this book, how he did his research and how he chose which stories to tell. Now I’m not an expert on Norse myths, I’ve read only popular works, I never got the chance to do a bigger research like digging into centuries old scripts, but from what I’ve read Gaiman did a great job with it. We got a book where Norse myths are explained, gathered in one place, easy to understand and at times even funny. There are many things we got wrong from pop culture about the original myths but this book can only push us to do some more research.