rating: 5 of 5 stars
I can say one thing, if this is Greg Van Eekhout's first and last book, I think he can retire pretty proud of himself. As a fan of any mythology, I have to recommend this book. It brings the myths to life in all their dark, violent glory. Ever wonder what Ragnarok would look like? Read this book. I have decided this book is as close as I'd like to come to the Norse end of the world.
Yes, this book is violent and gory. But it should be. It would have lacked the important impact otherwise. Think about it, heaven is preparing for the final battle on the side of Odin during Ragnarok, with brief periods of drinking mead served by comely maidens, er valkyries. These myths have a built in blood and guts factor. Like the best books, I felt like I was right there in the action, knots in my stomach as Fenrir devours the moon, while his ever-ravenous pups devour the sun and whatever else gets in their way. The Midgard Serpent engages Thor in the final battle, and the ship of the dead, carrying Hel, the Norse goddess of death's troops, comes from Helheim to fight the final battle against the Einherjar.
Well thankfully there is a reluctant and disgraced god, Hermod, and a runaway valkyrie, Mist, to stave off Ragnarok. Mist is looking to rescue her sister Lilly from Hel's clutches in Helheim, and Hermod is the only living person to go there and return. He went there to retrieve his brothers Hod and Baldr, who died unjust and untimely deaths (long story, read the book). In payment for his aid, she agrees to help him save the nine worlds, which include Midgard, what we call Earth. It sounds complicated, and well it is a bit, but it's so entertaining, and so interesting reading about all these events. This book really is urban fantasy at its best.
Although some might want a faster paced read, I felt this book is very much worth the investment in reading it. The descriptions are so vivid, and it is clear that Mr. Van Eekhout did his research, which he earns my admiration for doing. And for telling a story that is so readable, fun in parts, and almost dreary in others, as only the myths are; and increasingly hard to put down. Although reading Norse Code doesn't replace reading the Prose Edda, I would say that this book would do very well to introduce a novice to Norse mythology, and what a cool ride it is along the way.
This book starts rather slowly, but you definitely want to hang in there. Heck, there's even a great, eight-legged horse (Slepnir).
View all my reviews.