Review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norse mythology

Title: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Date: 7th February 2017

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Before picking up this book (or rather, switching on my Kindle) I had never read anything that Neil Gaiman had written. I have heard of him (although I didn’t realise some of the books he had written, such as Coraline) but I never thought to read his work. Everyone said how masterful he was and I figured I would get around to it eventually. Well, eventually did come around when I saw Norse Mythology on offer for £2, which is a great buy.

I have always been intrigued by mythology, especially Greek mythology, and I had a few text books that I once used for a story idea (I never finished it) and I loved reading YA inspired by it. One of my favourite adult series was Goddess Summoning by P. C. Cast, in which different Gods and Goddesses feature. When I saw Norse Mythology, I realise that I didn’t know much apart from what Marvel had taught me (which doesn’t even feature all of the God’s or even Odin’s favourite, which is Balder).

So, I dived into the stories and I loved them. People weren’t wrong when they said that Neil Gaiman is a master of storytelling. There was so much detail woven into the tales and he breathed life into them, making them so vivid in my mind. All the tales were building to the end of days, Ragnarok, and it was so interesting to see how all the parts fit together.

Thor is very different to the one that Chris Hemsworth plays. For one, he is a redhead, and the second is that he isn’t the brightest, often letting pride and ego get in the way. I loved reading about Loki and all the tricks he played, always getting himself and others into trouble, but somehow making things right again. Not to mention, I finally found out what happened to Odin’s eye and why it was gone.

Freya, one of the Goddesses, featured prominently, often put into situations thanks to the Gods, none that she was pleased about, and she often fell out with Loki. We learnt about Balder, Odin’s favourite son, who was the sun for all, and how Loki betrayed him. We learnt about how Thor’s hammer came to be, as well as other gifts given to the Gods, and I found myself wanting to read more.

While this book was very informative, written so that I thought it could have been real, it was also funny in places, with action and drama. I loved the narration that featured throughout, making it seem more real and I was able to connect with the stories. Overall, this was a great read and I think 4 stars is the perfect rating.

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Review: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

between the blade and the heart

Title: Between the Blade and the Heart

Author: Amanda Hocking

Date: 22nd February 2018

Publisher: Pan

Until I picked up this book (which I was approved to read on NetGalley) I was in a bit of a reading slump with another book I was slowly making my way through. I knew the publication date was coming up and thought it couldn’t hurt to read two books at once. Turns out it was a good choice to make because I flew through this book. Luckily it isn’t a large read, with only 287 pages on the Kindle, and I have to say it was a fun read and quite entertaining. While it isn’t the best book I’ve read, I will probably be picking up the second after that ending.

Valkyries help to keep the balance in the world by slaying the immortal beings when their time comes to die. Malin is in training to become a Valkyrie, but she hasn’t been finding it easy to balance everything in her life, with things being more difficult once she broke up with her girlfriend. When Malin’s home is broken into and she’s attacked, she realises that the stranger has discovered that a rogue immortal, who should have died, killed his mother. After asking for Malin’s help, she uncovers that a betrayal led to the woman’s death and that nothing is as it seems. She embarks on a journey with her friends to hunt down the immortal and stop him before the end of the world, as they know it, comes about.

I can see why this book was compared to Blade Runner (although I have never seen it myself, I know about it) and it was interesting to see Valkyries in such a modern setting, with strange and unique weapons. It was a different concept and a unique idea, one that Hocking fleshed out so I had a good idea of the way the world worked. I would have loved to see the Valkyries in action more and have more battle scenes, but something tells me that will be in the second book.

Malin was an interesting main character, with so many conflicting emotions that made her relatable, but also annoying at times. She didn’t always make the best decisions, but I liked how she questioned things, about her mother and the way their world worked. What I didn’t like was the little love triangle (if you can call it that) and the romance wasn’t incredible. There were a few scenes that got steamy, but I was expecting more from what I had heard from others. I wish it had seemed before realistic, so I could believe what was being said, but I didn’t resonate with it.

The other characters weren’t too memorable, although I thought Oona, Malin’s best friend, was quite cool, being a sorceress and all. I had read one of Amanda Hocking’s books before, but it was so long ago that I can’t remember if I loved it or not. Between the Blade and the Heart entertained me for a bit and it didn’t take itself too seriously. If you are expecting a book all about Norse mythology, you’ll be disappointed because this has a very urban fantasy setting, something I wasn’t sure about at first and in the end I enjoyed it.

Overall, I thought this was a good read with a fast pace. It was nothing spectacular but I wasn’t expecting it to be from the reviews that I had seen. A booktuber I like said that it was a fun read with some sexy scenes, and that is what it was. I enjoyed it for the most part and I might even pick up the second book, just so I can see how it ends. All in all, I will be giving Between the Blade and The Heart a solid 3 stars.

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