In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.
In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he's had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.
Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It's going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.
Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .
Someone just like Odd .
Be the first to review this title!
The story itself is a simple one, based on the gods of Norse saga with a few wry references to events mentioned in the Prose Edda (Loki turning himself into a mare, for example). There's a surprising number of references and jokes that are mostly meant, I think, for a more adult audience, even though the protagonist is a child and the story is relatively simple. Neil doesn't talk down to the child reader/listener, just talks to them, telling it straight. Very enjoyable.more
Or maybe I'm not actually that fickle, and I just like the way his phrasing and ideas are like mainlining story straight into my amygdalae, so most of the time it doesn't really matter what type of fiction he's writing this time.
I like best to listen to his novels in audio format; it makes me feel like I'm wrapped in a big quilt and being read to like a child.
Odd is another installment in his latest string of children's tales. This one borrows heavily from Norse mythology, but mostly through allusion to other, more established stories. I had to go look some of them up – like how Odin sacrificed an eye to gain knowledge and wisdom from Mímir's Well, and about Jötunheimr, the Land of Giants. I love that there's a deeper layer of complexity to the story – but only if the reader desires it. In this completely Gaiman-invented tale, Odd, a young woodcutter's son, runs away from a cruel stepfather, and ends up meeting Odin, Thor and Loki, who have been outsmarted by a giant.
I both read and listened to this tale, it's quite short. The audio file was well under 2 hours in length. I probably could have read it alone in far less than an hour. This edition has wonderful little pencil drawing illustrations by Brett Helquist, which underscore its suitability for children. And it is just wonderful for kids, without any focus on the darker themes present in Coraline, or even The Graveyard Book. I think it would make a fabulous springboard for homestudy elementary school children, as an introduction to mythology. This one really is for all ages.
Odd and the Frost Giants was sitting on my bookshelf, ready to be returned to the library because Rabbit decided it was not for her, and I thought "SELF, YOU NEED TO READ SOMETHING ADORABLE" and decided to give it a go. Gaiman's story is, indeed, adorable. I liked it a lot. I don't know if I would have liked it as much if I hadn't seen Thor a couple of months ago; I probably would have been a little lost. Also, on the one hand, I wish Odd had been less of a hollow character, but on the other hand, the way he's written kind of works with the whole fairy tale thing.
The illustrations are charming, too. I think I'm eventually going to find a copy of this to stick on the bookshelf.more