Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date: March 2008
Genre: Middle Grade Adventure/Fantasy
Book Summary (from back cover)
In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he’s had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.
Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.
Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.
It’s going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.
Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .
Someone just like Odd.
I suppose I should preface this review with the fact that I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. So when I found out he’d written a middle grade, I knew I had to find it. And it doesn’t disappoint. I found it to be a quick, easy read that was still interesting and would keep the age range its intended for entertained. I wished the story had been longer, maybe a little more to it, but it was still a great book.
The current interest in the Avengers might make it more appealing as well, because Thor, Odin, Freya and Frost Giants are involved. The stories being told in the two settings are wildly different, but children reading it will be familiar with the names, if not the Norse mythology. It gives just enough for those who don’t know those stories. It is easy to understand, and Odd himself is a sympathetic and likeable character. His attitude and the way he views the world are happy, despite his circumstances. Even when things are at their worst, he looks at it with the idea that it must be done by someone, and it might as well be him.
The ending bit with Freya popping off his leg to try to fix it is a little…interesting. I had to read that section a couple times before I assured myself that, yes, that’s exactly what’s happening. I’m not sure I totally got my mind wrapped around that one, but it was an intriguing part of the story.
Overall, definitely a good book. I especially recommend it for boys, and children interested in mythology.
Where to Find the Book