Oh those crazy Norwegian gods. So similar to Greek/Roman gods but with a lot more cheeky humor. This is a fun book, even if there is nothing about it that resembles any other Neil Gaiman novel. Rather it is a straight retelling of selected myths. I have been binge-watching “The Almighty Johnsons” on Netflix and this is a great companion book. The Almighty Johnsons inhabit a world where the Norse gods are reincarnated with lesser powers in human form. Hijinks ensue. I recommend watching the show, at least a few seasons before reading the book. While the two are not related, Gaiman’s collection of myths occasionally show up as plot points in the show and are a bit spoilery.
Gaiman is obviously a good writer. He takes a complex system of intertwined characters and sorts them out. Who are Thor’s brothers? Well damn there are quite a few besides Loki. Is Loki a total shit? Well yeah, but let’s count the ways he is screwed over or screws over others. Do the gods party hard. Oh good lord yes. Gaimen focuses more on Thor related myths than any other god. It could be because most myths involve Thor, at least the surviving ones, or it could be that any story involving a dudebro with incredible stamina and strength but saddled with a teeny weeny brain are going to be the most fun to share.
This is a fast and fun read full of interesting characters. It’s most definitely not a scholarly work- there is no analysis as to why these myths were created or insight into the culture that created them. There’s just bearded dudes in wedding dresses, mass consumption of alcoholic beverages, two omnipotent gods pranking each other and more than a few murders.