Odd and the Frost Giants, Neil Gaiman

Imagine my surprise when I discovered this at the bookshop!  The American bookshop because the book is here in America now!  Who knew?  It’s thrilling!  Odd and the Frost Giants is about a boy called Odd who has bad luck.  His father has drowned, and his stepfather doesn’t much care for him, and an accident with a tree has left him with serious and lasting injuries to one of his legs.  He runs away from home, into the forest, where he meets a bear, a fox, and an eagle, who actually are Thor, Loki, and Odin, cast out of Asgard by a Frost Giant who has Thor’s hammer and wants to marry Freya.  Odd helps.

Illustrated by Brett Helquist, who did the illustrations for Lemony Snicket’s books as well, Odd and the Frost Giants is probably the most cheerful and charming of all Neil Gaiman’s books, excepting I suppose Blueberry Girl.  It’s short and leaves you (leaves me, anyway) wanting to see more of clever, perceptive Odd.  I like it when characters are able to sort things out using only their words – mainly because, I guess, I myself feel very strongly that most things could be sorted out with words, if people would only cooperate.  The end was neat, but not too neat – exactly neat enough for the length and tone of the book, I felt.  Neil Gaiman has said that he has more stories about Odd to tell.  Hope so!

I have noticed that British authors seem to really love Norse mythology – Neil Gaiman returns to it again and again, Tolkien obviously loved it, and Diana Wynne Jones works it into her stories too.  To me, Norse mythology is just okay, definitely inferior to the cool and exciting Greek and Roman mythology.  Is this because I didn’t grow up with Norse myths?  Do you love Norse myths, hate them, or not care?  Is there a particularly wonderful Norse myth you want to tell me about that could serve as my Norse mythology gateway drug?

What other people thought: things mean a lot, Bart’s Bookshelf, Stainless Steel Droppings, Stuff as Dreams Are Made On, bermudaonion, Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review, The Wertzone

Let me know if I missed yours!

P.S. I keep wanting to write “Ood” instead of “Odd”.

  • I really enjoyed this one, but missed out on the illustrations since I read it on an e-reader. Thanks for linking to my review!

  • Eva

    Byatt loves the Norse myths too! 🙂 I enjoy them as much as the Greek/Roman ones, but then I did live in England for 7 years.

    I won this one from Nymeth back when it was released in England, so I read it awhile ago and loved it. I’m glad it’s finally come ot America!

  • I kind of want the American edition of this. It seems nicer, and plus it has different illustrations! Does getting a book I’ve already read go against the ban? Hmmm….

    Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I grew up with Greek/Roman myths and so I’m more attached to them, but I love Norse mythology too. I love that it’s wilder, more chaotic, and if possible even darker.

  • I love Norse mythology too, but that’s probably a Scottish thing, we’re pretty close to the stuff after all. And I’m glad you enjoyed this as I absolutely loved it. (Oh an glad I’m not the onlt one who wants to say Ood – sad isn’t it…)

  • Sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to know more about Norse mythology… maybe this is the perfect reason to start looking in after it!

  • Thanks for linking to me. I really enjoyed this one when I read it (seems like ages ago now!) I wanted to read so much more about his adventure. And I hope Neil Gaiman decides to write more about him!

  • anna

    I was really hoping you wouldn’t notice that book until after christmas, which I knew was likely a vain hope, but it would have been fun. Poo.

  • I have my round of obsessions. I was obsessed with Norse mythology for a while, and greek mythology and egyptian… and now it’s asian mythology. In sum, a mythology freak. This one sounds delectable!

  • bermudaonion – Oh, you missed out, the illustrations are so pretty. I like this illustrator a lot (though not as much as Dave McKean, who frequently does illustrations for Neil Gaiman’s books).

    Eva – See! British people! They love them! I don’t know if it’s because I am not familiar with the stories, but I just get a bit tired of retellings of Norse myths, or characters from Norse myths featuring in books…

    Nymeth – Was your ban designed to prevent you from adding to the TBR pile, or just acquiring too many books? I say buy it in either case; the illustrations are nice, and it’s in a pretty blue binding.

    Wilder, eh? Maybe that’s why I don’t like it. I like nice tidy myths. Also I like irony a lot, and the Greeks do too – maybe that’s why I get on with their mythology so well.

    Bride of the Book God – I was anxious that I wouldn’t like it at ALL, as Neil Gaiman’s shorter fiction tends to be hit and miss for me. I’m glad too that it turned out so well!

    history of she – That’s what I was thinking! Everyone seems to like Norse mythology so much, I feel like I have maybe been wrong all these years, and missing out on something fantastic.

    Bart – Yep, I was very sad that it had to end. I would like to see lots of adventures that Odd could solve using his words and his wits. (Always more fun than battles.)

    Anna banana – Sorry! Do you still love me? I don’t know what I’m getting you for Christmas either!

    Sharry – I am a mythology freak too! I was constantly getting those massive mythology anthologies (hm, that sounds weird) out of the library when I was littler, and the Norse myths usually didn’t do it for me. But okay, I’m convinced now. I have to try again.

  • Aww – Blueberry Girl is so sweet!

    • I know, I love it. I wish someone would have a daughter so I could give it to them!

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