Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on October 5th 2009
Genres: children, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Legends, Myths, Fables, Monsters, Young Adult
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Odd's luck has been bad so far. He lost his father on a Viking expedition, his foot was crushed beneath a tree, and the winter seems to be going on for ever. But when Odd flees to the woods and releases a trapped bear, his luck begins to change. The eagle, bear and fox he encounters reveal they're actually Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giants who have conquered Asgard, the city of the gods . . . Can a twelve-year-old boy reclaim Thor's hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods?
With Neil Gaiman's wit and style this story transcends the everyday and becomes a humorous, rich and layered tale of a life lived courageously.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of this story is ‘charming’. It has the feel of an old world myth or fairy tale. Odd isn’t a disgruntled, angry youth like so many of the characters in current YA novels. He’s just a quirky kid with a quick mind who loves him mother. I know, that doesn’t sound like the makings of a fun adventure story full of talking animals, mischievous gods and frost giants, but that is exactly what it is. Odd’s quirkiness, intelligence and humor are exactly what make the story work.
The fact Odd has to puzzle out problems in order to achieve his goals, makes this a great story for parents to read to their young children. There’s no horrible violence, none of the animals gets hurt, and it doesn’t take itself to seriously. I especially enjoyed Odd’s reasons for believing ice imprisons rainbows. It’s cute and clever and adds to the magic of the story without the need for wizards in pointy hats.
If you enjoy Norse myths and are up for a more light-hearted take on coming of age stories, ‘Odd and the Frost Giants’ is worth picking up. It’s a short, happy tale to read during a gray winter day.