Waiting on Wednesday: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.  Oh my giddy aunt!  Norse mythology.  Neil Gaiman.  Do I really need to say it again.  Okay.  Third time’s the charm: Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman.  Colour me happy. 

norse-mythologyNeil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales.

In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki son of a giant, blood brother to Odin and a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator.

Gaiman fashions these primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds and delves into the exploits of deities, dwarfs, and giants. Once, when Thor’s hammer is stolen, Thor must disguise himself as a woman, difficult with his beard and huge appetite, to steal it back. More poignant is the tale in which the blood of Kvasir, the most sagacious of gods, is turned into a mead that infuses drinkers with poetry. The work culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and rebirth of a new time and people.

Through Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge these gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to duping others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

Due February 2017

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‘Death, is only the beginning…’

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme being hosted by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite books covers.  The rules are fairly simple and can be found here.  Each week, following a predetermined theme choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.  Simples.  This week the theme is:

Dead Men Tell No Tales

A cover which features something or somewhere relating to death

This week I’ve gone for The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and a whole bunch of covers to choose from:

So, from the top-

  1. Very creepy cover with the two characters
  2. Not sure about this one – bloody knife with a little toddler running along the edge – I understand why – ‘there was a hand in the darkness… and it held a knife’ – very creepy though
  3. I really like this one – the whole floating graveyard!
  4. I really like the simplicity of this cover and the angel gravestone
  5. This is beautifully illustrated, I admit this cover originally made me think this was a children’s book but I really like it now.
  6. This is the version I own – and I do love it – plus it’s signed!

My favourite this week is difficult to choose but I think I would probably go with this one:

GYB4

Next week’s theme:

Like One, That on a Lonesome Road

A cover which features a road

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink

FFO.jpg

‘Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme being hosted by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite books covers.  The rules are fairly simple and can be found here.  Each week, following a predetermined theme choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.  Simples.  This week the theme is:

‘Water, Water Everywhere’

This week I’ve gone for three covers: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, firstly, I love Neil Gaiman’s books, his imagination and ability to just completely pull me into whatever world he has created and, secondly, these covers are all excellent:

So, we have the first cover with the young girl, the second cover with the young boy and the third cover with the boy and the girl in the background.  I like all of these covers for different reasons but without doubt my favourite is the third.  I like the fairytale feel, the style of the font and the title framed by the trees and then in the very back the two figures like two shining lights emerging from the dark.

Next week’s theme:

01st April 2016 | Peace is Poor Reading

A cover which features war

Come join in the fun!

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Just finished reading The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman which is a beautifully illustrated story.

This really is a gorgeous little book, a reimagined mishmash of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty with a bit of dark and creepy thrown in for good measure.

Now, whilst I do love a good fairytale retold, particularly when they come in such lovely packages, I wasn’t totally bowled over with this one.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not a bad book, just not as good as I expected and I think I’ve genuinely surprised myself to be honest because I quite literally usually adore everything that Neil Gaiman does and I practically love him (not in a stalker-lets-boil-the-pets sort of way!)

It is a good story with an interesting twist in the tale and modernised in terms of a Queen coming to the rescue as opposed to a dashing knight in shining armour and I certainly wouldn’t discourage anybody from reading as, like I said, it is good.  It just didn’t have that certain something that I can’t usually put my finger on but I always find in a Gaiman book that makes me want to run out and gush like a maniac.

It is a lovely book though and I have already ordered Hansel and Gretel as well – I just need to be more measured with my ridiculously high expectations I suppose – at the end of the day you can over hype something all by yourself.  And, just feast your eyes on that cover!

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Eddie Campbell

A novelette featuring two characters travelling across Scotland in search of the Misty Isles, gold, truth and maybe something more.  One character is the guide, the other a half man who is not all he seems.

This is a dark and rather haunting story, illustrated in a stark and dramatic fashion.  It’s a quick read that starts with the half man searching out Callum McInnes as a guide to to the Misty Isles.  The Misty Isles are strange and mysterious, some say not always to be found in the same place!  Upon this island sits a mountain on the side of which is the opening to a cave in which gold can be found.  You might be forgiven for wondering why all the gold hasn’t long since been taken and the answer lies in the payment that must be paid for taking the gold.  It’s a price that not everyone is prepared to pay.

I understand that this story was read aloud by Neil Gaiman to an audience at the Sydney Opera House, accompanied by the Four Play String Quartet.  I can only imagine how spectacular that must have been.  Gaiman is an amazing narrator and has the ability to hold an audience spellbound.

Now, obviously, I couldn’t drum up the same setting however I made the best of it, reading this by myself late of an evening with just a table lamp and my dog for company.  I thought it had a certain ambience, a certain lonely spookiness if you will!

Anyway, I have no intention of giving away the plot of the story.  This is a short read intended for one sitting.  It is brutal in parts and is definitely not to be confused for a children’s story!  Think more of the Sandman or Smoke and Mirrors and you’re a bit nearer the mark than Stardust and The Graveyard Book.  It is a difficult book to review because it’s only short and yet manages to carry a fairly strong story that will make you think for quite a while after you’ve finished reading – in fact I admit I went back to the beginning and read certain chapters again.  Even now I’m thinking about the ramifications of what actually took place.  It certainly wasn’t what I expected and it’s not the sort of book that you can finish and use words such as ‘enjoy’.  I think more that it’s a reading experience, with the magical words of Gaiman spinning a tale of folklore and superstition, family and revenge.  I confess that I wasn’t entirely a fan of the artwork – but that’s just down to personal taste and whilst I might not love it I admit that strangely enough it does fit the story with it’s strong dark lines.

My thanks to the publisher and bookbridgr for a copy of this book for review.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

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