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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Norse Mythology retells ancient legends and serves as a compelling introduction to Thor, Loki, Odin, Freya, and other Nordic deities.
Promises should be kept, and those who break an oath will live to regret it.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Various men want to make Freya their wife, but she usually eludes them. Loki somehow manages to give birth to a magical horse.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The gods drink mead, a liquor made from honey, some of which flows from Odin's rectum.
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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.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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