Norse Mythology – Review

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Published in 2017

Pages: 293

Genre: Mythology, Norse mythology

“It’s as hard to have a favorite sequence of myths as it is to have a favorite style of cooking (some nights you might want Thai food, some nights sushi, other nights you crave the plain home cooking you grew up on).”

The above sentence is probably not what one would expect to introduce a collection of Norse myths. Those intimately familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work will not be surprised that he jumped at the chance to retell the myths he loves most from Norse Mythology. The aptly titled Norse Mythology is his love letter to the tales of the Vikings, which feature not only action and suspense, but love, lust, poetry, and shapeshifting tricksters. In an attempt to pay homage to the stories that so deeply affected him, Gaiman succeeds in creating an accessible book to guide a new generation of readers into the nine realms. Continue reading “Norse Mythology – Review”

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Mythology – Review

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

Illustrations by Steele Savage

Published in 1942

Pages: 465

Genre: Mythology

“Greek and Roman mythology is quite generally supposed to show us the way the human race thought and felt untold ages ago.”

This sentiment, which begins Mythology by Edith Hamilton, expresses the limited worldview of not only the author, but the book itself. Primarily concerning the Greek and Roman myths and gods, Mythology collects some of the most famous stories in one place. All the greatest hits are here, including Jason and the Golden Fleece, the Judgement of Paris and Fall of Troy, and Oedipus’s folly at trying to escape fate. Mythology also contains lesser myths and the histories of tragic families; the only kind that the Greeks had in their myths. Continue reading “Mythology – Review”

The Norse Myths – Review

The Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Wood engravings by Jane Lydbury

Published in 1980; 2016 5th Printing by The Folio Society

Pages: 336

Genre: Mythology

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

 

Part I: The Story

“Burning ice, biting flame; that is how life began.”

Though such brutal conditions often factor in creation myths, the beginning of the world as told in The Norse Myths, by Kevin Crossley-Holland, reflects the temperament of both the people and land that shaped the stories. Comprised of over thirty Norse myths retold with vigor, the book collects the most famous and influential of the remaining myths that have survived the vigorous strain of time and its attempts to steal knowledge so easily forgotten. Continue reading “The Norse Myths – Review”

Norse Gods – Review

Norse Gods by Johan Egerkrans

Illustrations by Johan Egerkrans

Published as Nordiska gudar in 2016; English translation published in 2017

Susan Beard Translation

Pages: 160

Genre: Mythology, Norse mythology

“In the beginning – before the world existed, before men and before the gods themselves – there was only fire, ice, and nothingness.”

There are few characters as provocative, intimidating, and fascinating as the gods that reside within Norse mythology. Many books retelling the myths that survived the oral tradition have been written, but none so beautifully realized as Norse Gods by Swedish illustrator, Johan Egerkrans. In the first English edition of his book, translated by Susan Beard, Egerkrans leads the reader into the halls of Asgard, the depths of the sea surrounding Midgard, and through dwarven holds in a book that maintains its fidelity to the old tales while injecting a refreshing visual translation of the old gods and their tales.

1. Midgard.jpg

Continue reading “Norse Gods – Review”

American Gods – Review

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Illustrations by Dave McKean

Published in 2001; 2017 Edition by The Folio Society

Pages: 537

Genre: Fantasy, mythology

 

Disclaimer: This review will be different from the norm in that it is split into two parts: a standard, albeit shorter, book review and a specific review of this Folio Society edition. I am endorsing this product through my own volition and belief in its high quality.

Part I: The Story

“Shadow had done three years in prison.”

American Gods has been in the spotlight quite a bit lately with the recent television adaptation on the Starz network. This review, however, covers the book written by Neil Gaiman, upon which the show is based. American Gods follows the life of ex-convict Shadow Moon after he is released from prison, learns his wife died in a car crash, and meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. What follows is a meandering road trip across not only the geography of America, but the cultures and beliefs that came across the sea in the hearts and minds of immigrants. Continue reading “American Gods – Review”

Gods and Heroes: Myths and Epics of Ancient Greece – Review

Gods and Heroes: Myths and Epics of Ancient Greece by Gustav Schwab

Published in 1946

Olga Marx and Ernst Morwitz translation

Pages: 743

Genre: Fiction, mythology

“Often I have told my youngest daughter the legends of ancient Greece, and have found myself wishing that I could give her a book that would show her more of that magic world which was the delight of my own youth, and to which I love to return, now that I am older.”

Though I typically start my reviews with the first line of the book, I chose to begin my review of Gods and Heroes: Myths and Epics of Ancient Greece by Gustav Schwab with the first sentence of the introduction. Though it isn’t technically part of the stories told in the book, this section gives the reader necessary context (as an introduction is wont to do) regarding how the myths are presented. This information is integral to understanding the mighty deeds and tragic ends of the heroes of ancient Greece. Continue reading “Gods and Heroes: Myths and Epics of Ancient Greece – Review”