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”.