Saturday, 19 October 2013

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman **Review**


Odd and the Frost Giants 
by Neil Gaiman
Series: None
Pages: 144
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Release date: 4th October 2010
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Thanks to the publishers for my copy of the book to review

Synopsis:
Odd's luck has been bad so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on for ever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they're actually Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods...Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods? With Neil Gaiman's wit and style, this story transcends the everyday and becomes a humorous, rich and layered tale of a life lived courageously.
I didn’t know about Odd and the Frost Giants for a long time after it was first released (in 2008), and then, even after it had been released in a prettily illustrated hardback (in 2010), I still had failed to notice its existence. Then I stumbled upon it while browsing in one of the larger Waterstones stores in my city, and instantly, I knew I had to read it. I’m a huge fan of Neil Gaiman anyway, but this book looked adorable. After I read the first couple of pages, I was already sold and falling in love with it, and add to that the beautiful illustrations, both on the dust jacket and throughout the story, and it becomes irresistible.

Although the hardback is technically shelved in the teen section (in Waterstones, at least), it has the feel of a classic children’s story, and I believe would be a perfect read for ages 7 and up (including any adult who appreciates a good bit of children’s fiction, like myself). As I’ve said, I am a huge fan of Mr Gaiman and his works, and have consequently listened to him speak on sites such as YouTube, so when I was reading Odd and the Frost Giant, I could hear him reading it aloud to me inside my head. This, to me, made the book even more enjoyable, warm and comforting (comforting because, let’s face it, when we read our old favourites from when we were young, it’s not only nostalgic, but, for me at least, it acts as a kind of comfort blanket. It’s a lovely, warm feeling. And this book feels to me like an old favourite already, though I have read it only once so far).

The story draws on Norse mythology, and includes Thor, Odin and Loki as characters, which was really interesting, and (I thought) unexpected, despite Odd, the main character, being a young Viking. I haven’t come across much, if any (that I can remember) children’s fiction that includes these characters (unless, of course, you count the Marvel creation), so it was really different to read about them, and in such a unique incarnation.
The Frost Giants are an addition to their story, and to the story of Asgard. Their purpose was fascinating, and I spent the part of the story leading up to Odd’s meeting with the giant wondering what terrible creatures they would end up being. What I found was not at all what I expected, and I loved the twist on the character – the chilly giant even got a laugh or two out of me, though I’m sure he didn’t intend to be humorous!

Odd and the Frost Giants is an immensely enjoyable read for any age. It has Vikings, Norse Gods, magic and giants, all woven together into a gorgeous little package, perfect for cuddling up and reading by the fire on a chilly winter night, and a spectacular gift (especially for Christmas). I fell in love with it, and I think you would too!

1 comments:

Sharmaine said...

Just recently, I finished reading The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman. It was the first book I have read written by him. Surprisingly, I loved it. And now I'm on the hunt for his other books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll definitely add this on my TBR pile.

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