Neil Gaiman wrote a new book. That was pretty much all I need to know before making a buying decision but, even though it was an instabuy, I didn’t expect it to leave me wondering if this was the perfect audiobook.
Before we go any further I should probably explain that last statement a little bit. I’m not trying to imply that Norse Mythology is the perfect book–or that there could ever be such a thing. Nor am I saying that Gaiman has crafted a book without flaw, I think even he would agree that that is an impossiblity. What I am suggesting is that when it comes to the audiobook, Norse Mythology may exactly what all audiobooks should be. But I’ll get back to that in a bit. First I should probably give a quick run down of the book itself.
Norse Mythology is exactly what the title suggests–a collection of Norse myths skillfully woven into a narrative arc that, in my opinion, widens the general appeal of the collection. A self-professed fan of Norse myths, Gaiman has presented us with just a small taste of the larger world of Nordic mythology. Introducing or reacquainting his readers with Gods such as Thor, Odin, Loki, Freyja, and others–names many of us may know only from comic books or television shows–Gaiman’s passion for the subject is obvious and contagious. He gives us just enough to leave the reader satisfied yet at the same time manages to peak our interest and inspire our own further explorations of the narrative collection. In hardcover or ebook Norse Mythology is a book that is sure to please a wide variety of readers of all ages, however where it truly shines is as an audiobook.
Which brings me back to my earlier assertion–Norse Mythology may just be the perfect audiobook. Like with so many other ancient storytelling traditions, what we know of Norse myth comes to us through oral history. Tales of the creation of the world, Gods and Goddesses, heroic battles, cautionary tales, the afterlife, and the end of the world, nearly every culture in the world has some form of tale that fits this description and before there were written records they were passed down from one generation to the next by storytellers. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman takes on the role of elder, of storyteller and shares these tales with a new generation of listeners/readers and while Gaiman’s modern English accent may not be the voice of Odin in my imagination, it’s this tradition of oral storytelling that makes the audiobook the perfect format for this book. As the narrator, Gaiman reaches his readers in a way that is reminiscent of the original way these tales were meant to be told. He gathers us near his fire, sits us down, and shares with genuine enthusiasm and joy, the stories of the world. No book can ever be perfect, and no one story will ever the one to reach us all but Norse Mythology, told in this format, by this author, is everything an audiobook should be.
Rating: 4 stars for the written book 5 stars for the audiobook
Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: February 7, 2017