Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Brett Helquist
Pub. Date: November 22nd, 2008
Age Level: 8+
Synopsis via Goodreads
In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.
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.
Odd and the Frost Giants was a quick and simple yet fun and adventurous story that I think would greatly appeal to younger readers.
Odd was indeed an odd sort of boy but I couldn't help but love him. He was determined, never let anything get him down, and even in what would be his scariest moments, his sense of humor never failed him. For that, I found Odd to be a very admirable hero for this story. Next we have the bear, Thor, the fox, Loki, and the eagle, Lord Odin. Loki was easily my favorite of the three; with his sly and slightly arrogant mannerisms, he was both a funny and amusing character. Thor was a bit of a grump and understandably so. I mean, if I'd been a powerful God who'd been transformed into a bear and banished from my kingdom, I'd be grumpy too. Yet even in his frustration and irritability concerning their present situation, humor still shone through. While I didn't dislike Lord Odin, he didn't exactly say much so it was a little more difficult to really get a sense of his personality. As for the Frost Giant, despite being the bad guy of the story, he was suffering in his own way and I found myself actually feeling sympathy for his predicament.
Odd and the Frost Giants was a delightful combination of mythology and adventure. I'll admit, I was worried how the plot development would fair considering this book's short length. Surprisingly though, everything seemed to fit into the 117 pages perfectly and the pacing was very well balanced. There was never a dull moment in the plot and I was glad to see it hadn't been made more complicated than need be. I actually enjoyed the simplicity of it, making it a relaxing and entertaining read.
In the beginning, I wasn't all too sure how well I liked Gaiman's writing style. I had to remind myself that this story was written and intended for a much younger audience than my eighteen-year-old self. Once my brain grasped firm hold of that fact, I found that I actually liked the writing. It also turned out to be very descriptive, painting the world Gaiman had created vividly into my mind. Not to mention, I felt the third-person narrative benefited this story as it gave me that feeling of sitting around a camp fire and being told this age old folk tale by a very wise elder.
The ending drew this story to a close quite well and I don't think the ending could have been written in a way that would have suited this book better.
I thought Helquist did a wonderful job on the illustrations. They had this beautiful imperfection about them and I loved the almost scratchy quality of the lines. I kept wondering how all those little lines and marks could pull together to form such a lovely and detailed image; I know I certainly couldn't do it. The shading was also very well done.
All in all, Odd and the Frost Giants is a great book to kick back and escape into, even if only for a little while. Gaiman sure knows how to create and tell a good story and I think this is one that will be loved by middle graders and even us older folks. :P Because it is so short and quick to read, I can easily see my self delving into this book several more times over the coming years and I do recommend it. I can't wait to get my hand on Neil Gaiman's, The Graveyard Book.
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Monday, January 24, 2011
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Posted by ~The Book Pixie at 1/24/2011 08:56:00 AM