Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

After Douglas Clegg’s novella Isis, it was time for one more piece of shorter fiction before a step back into novels. This came at the hands of Neil Gaiman’s Odd and the Frost Giants. Famous for a wide range of genre, Gaiman has bestselling works in adult fantasy, young adult fantasy, children’s books, and graphic novels. Odd and the Frost Giants, his latest in the USA, is actually a reprint of Gaiman’s contribution to World Book Day in the UK. Just recently arriving stateside, Gaiman’s novella is geared to be young adult friendly, but is certainly an all ages tale.

Odd, star of Odd and the Frost Giants, runs from home after suffering the abuses of a mean step-father. While living in his deceased father’s old cabin, Odd stumbles upon a fox, a bear, and an eagle, who turn out to be far more than they seem. Odd begins a quest to save all of Asgard, and Midgard as well, from the cruel Frost Giants, who have over-run the gods’ fabled home.

A fun, light, and very quick read, Odd and the Frost Giants showcases Gaiman’s ability to tell a tale that all readers, from youngest to oldest, can enjoy. Drawing on a vast amount of Norse myth, he mentions a number of more famous stories, all while creating his own that is uniquely Gaiman-esque. Odd doesn’t feel similar to your average character, and that in part is because of his realistic, and therefore seemingly out of place, reaction to the loss of his father. Gaiman’s prose is, as always, wonderful. Yet another excellent way to spend an afternoon or evening.


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