Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman


15 Critic Reviews

Superb. Just the thing for the literate fantasy lover and the student of comparative religion and mythology alike.


Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil 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.


About Neil Gaiman

See more books from this Author
Neil Gaiman is the nationally bestselling author of The Graveyard Book, the only book ever to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie Medals. He lives near Minneapolis, MN. You can visit him online at Reaves is an Emmy Award-winning television writer and novelist who has written, story-edited, or produced nearly four hundred teleplays for various series. He lives in California. You can visit him online at
Published February 7, 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company. 304 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Political & Social Sciences, History. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Feb 26 2017
Weeks as Bestseller
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Norse Mythology
All: 15 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 2


on Nov 22 2016

Superb. Just the thing for the literate fantasy lover and the student of comparative religion and mythology alike.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

on Apr 12 2016

Like John Gardner in Grendel, a classic retelling of Beowulf, and Philip Pullman in his rewriting of Hans Christian Andersen stories, Gaiman takes a well-worn subject and makes it his own.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Douglas Wolk on Feb 02 2017

For admirers of his fiction, it's the equivalent of going to see a rock band you like and finding that they're just playing a set of Chuck Berry covers that night: great material, yes, and executed nicely, but less than the inventiveness we go to him for.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology | See more reviews from LA Times

AV Club

Reviewed by Bill Jones on Feb 06 2017 Norse tales have not received quite the same attention as, say, the Greek myths, it is nice to see someone passing these stories along to inspire another generation.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology | See more reviews from AV Club


Reviewed by Alex Brown on Feb 07 2017

Like Oceans at the End of the Lane, Norse Mythology makes a stunning and welcoming entry for newcomers. It is quite simply a breathtaking novel that is as matchless as the Norse gods themselves.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

20Something Reads

Reviewed by Pauline Finch on Feb 07 2017

Without distorting the long and tangled roots of Nordic mythology, Gaiman reveals lively nuances that reconnect these stories to our 21st-century world --- from the humor of Thor disguising himself as a ridiculously hairy the unintentionally timely episode in which Odin decides to build a wall to keep out invading giants.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Above average
Reviewed by Tom Szaroleta on Feb 19 2017

...simply retells it, with little or no embellishment or polishing. That may sound like lazy regurgitation – and that charge might not be unfair – but that’s all that is really needed here. The stories, told here in easy-to-digest 10- to 20-page bites, have managed to hang around for thousands of years, so clearly they didn’t need a lot of help...

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Library Journal

Above average
Reviewed by Barbara Hoffert on Aug 08 2016

Doubtless a terrific book that fans of both Gaiman and Norse mythology will want to devour, but is it fiction or mythology? Actually, it’s BISACed as both, though fiction does lead in the coding.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

The Spectator

Above average
Reviewed by JOANNE HARRIS on Feb 04 2017

...the myths I loved as a child can be passed to a new generation, to be reinvented anew. For stories that cannot be retold are destined to be forgotten; and every generation must rediscover these myths for themselves, and take from them whatever they need.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Spectrum Culture

Reviewed by John L. Murphy on Feb 12 2017

” A piddling pair outwitted flail in a rowboat “like a couple of bearded lobsters.” Such imagery and control show Gaiman’s affection for his material.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

The Verge

Reviewed by Andrew Liptak on Feb 15 2017

For those newer entrants into the mythic world, Norse Mythology is a wonderful introduction. It connects all of the major players and worlds of the Norse, and spins them out in a format that’s far less daunting than my century-old book of epic poetry.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Financial Times

Reviewed by James Lovegrove on Feb 14 2017

In reinterpreting the tales so faithfully and with such abundant joy, Gaiman assumes the role of fireside bard, inviting us to sit close on a chilly winter’s night and chuckle and wonder along with him.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology | See more reviews from Financial Times

on Feb 08 2017

It’s all immense fun, of course, and just about the only downside is that the fun ends too soon. If you place this book alongside Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales, which was hefty and substantial, you can’t help but wish Gaiman had got stuck into roughly the same amount of stories...

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Reviewed by Ray Olson on Dec 15 2016

...Gaiman’s retelling of these ever-striking and strange stories should be every reader’s first book of Norse mythology.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Reviewed by Jonathan Hatfull on Feb 07 2017

Readers may be familiar with these stories, but we’re always excited to return to the nine worlds, and especially in the hands of a storyteller like Gaiman, they are an absolute treat.

Read Full Review of Norse Mythology

Reader Rating for Norse Mythology

An aggregated and normalized score based on 608 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review