Bookish Discussions · Reviews

The Penguin Book of Norse Myths:


Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars | Read: 11 February – 12 February, 2018. 

This week, you lucky devils, you’ll be getting three blog posts! I recently read this book and just had to share my thoughts on it. Enjoy!

I have always been curious about Norse mythology (you know, Odin, Thor and Loki), but my interest has peaked since watching the History Channel’s Vikings. Listening to the host of characters talk about such stories had me endlessly researching for a good book on their myths. I came across this re-telling of ‘Edda Prose’ by Kevin Crossley-Holland and ordered it almost immediately. Bound up inside this collection is 32 re-tellings, ‘taking us from the creation of the world through the building of Asgard’s Wall to the final end in Ragnarök’. Inside, you will ‘discover how Thor got his hammer and how Odin lost his eye, the terrible price of binding the wolf Fenrir and why Loki the trickster can never be trusted’. On the whole, this book delivered just that.

The amount of research Crossley-Holland put into this collection really showed. There is a lengthy introduction for those of you wanting to be glued up on what is about to come, in addition to how and why Crossley-Holland is publishing this. Not only that, but considering the book is 276 pages long, one-hundred of those pages are notes (or further research). So, in the grand scheme of things, it seems Crossley-Holland was the perfect candidate for writing this; he knows his stuff. However, I found one major issue with this. He didn’t utilise the potential to make these stories engaging. I know he is re-telling the ancient poetry, so probably wants to stick as close to that as possible, but he could have added to it. Instead of describing them in such dull and monotonous ways, Crossley-Holland could have used more vibrant language to engage me as a reader. This wouldn’t have taken away the authenticity, but would have made it more fun to read.

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