Norse Mythology

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Norse Mythology Book Poster Image
Gaiman makes myths compelling, accessible to modern readers.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Norse Mythology retells ancient legends and serves as a compelling introduction to Thor, Loki, Odin, Freya, and other Nordic deities.

Positive Messages

Promises should be kept, and those who break an oath will live to regret it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each of the Norse gods is powerful yet fallible: Thor is strong and brave but rather thick. Odin is wise but capable of foolishness. Most complex of all is Loki, who can't help but sow discord that will come back to haunt him.

Violence

The Norse gods fight powerful giants, ogres, and dragons. Thor kills giants and other enemies with his magic hammer. Beloved Balder dies from a wound from a mistletoe dart. All the gods die at Ragnarok: by sword, poison, and other painful fates.

Sex

Various men want to make Freya their wife, but she usually eludes them. Loki somehow manages to give birth to a magical horse.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The gods drink mead, a liquor made from honey, some of which flows from Odin's rectum.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Norse Mythology is a novelistic account of ancient Scandinavian myths, retold by Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book and many other award-winning titles. The book is set from the birth of the universe to Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods. The Norse gods go on adventures and engage in great contests. Things often turn violent -- Thor kills enemies (usually giants) with his magic hammer -- but the descriptions of the mayhem are not likely to disturb most readers. There's little sexual content (Loki somehow gives birth to a magic horse), and only a little drinking, mostly of mead.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPetalknits February 19, 2017

Common sense missed a lot! Tons of violence and a sex scene

Common sense missed a lot on this one....there is one scene that says, "when they were finished with their lovemaking, they lay naked together in bed"... Continue reading
Parent of a 15 year old Written byCasey12 June 30, 2017

The Master Takes On Mythology Masterfully

Neil Gaiman is one of the best writers working today, and we LOVE that he took on Norse Mythology. There aren't too many great literary versions (in engli... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 2, 2018

Great book for teens+

Norse Mythology is a book written by Neil Gaiman, a well known children’s author, that compiles a whole bunch of Norse myths into one amazing book. Gaiman uses... Continue reading

What's the story?

From the birth of the universe to the Twilight of the Gods, NORSE MYTHOLOGY casts a new light on the stories told by the ancient Norsemen. The reader learns how Odin, the king of the gods, lost his eye and where it went, how the trickster Loki nearly lost the sun and the moon to a giant in disguise, how Thor visited the Land of the Giants. Each tale, however, is another step closer to Ragnarok, when the gods will fall in a colossal final battle.

Is it any good?

Anyone interested in world mythology is likely to be fascinated by this new version of ancient tales. Norse myths come from an oral tradition, so there are many missing tales and contradictory endings, but leave it to master fantasist Neil Gaiman to find a way to weave these surviving tales together with clarity and aplomb in Norse Mythology. Gaiman's prose is smooth and supple, with none of the stuffiness one might expect. He clearly delineates the characteristics of the main set of gods and presents the large supporting cast with a minimum of confusion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the tales in Norse Mythology have inspired other books, comics, and movies. What attracts modern audiences to these ancient legends?

  • What do the myths imply about life in the ancient north? Was daily existence difficult? Did it have a softer side?

  • Loki can't seem to help but cause trouble for himself and others. How should you treat people like that?

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