Splendid Thursday, Bookworms.
Remember back when I read American Gods and I was all “I need more Neil Gaiman in my life?” Well. I made good on my promise to myself. During a Kindle sale I noticed another Gaiman title and snapped it up at a bargain price. This novel? Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman writes for a variety of age groups. Me being me, I paid absolutely no attention to whether or not this was an adult book or a children’s book. Luckily, Gaiman’s whimsy is so delightful it really doesn’t matter.
Odd and the Frost Giants centers on a young Viking boy named Odd. Odd is aptly named (although in Viking lore the name is meant to be lucky) because he’s the “odd” man out. His father died and his mother remarried a major tool. Also, Odd managed to chop a tree down which landed on his leg and thus needs to use a crutch to get around. I really can’t discuss this book much further without getting spoiler-happy. It’s really short, y’all. So. If you want to avoid spoilers, you can stop reading now.
Is it safe? Good. Okay. So. Odd has had quite enough of his crappy stepfather’s antics and decides to run away. He makes it out to his old hut (because they’re Vikings and they live in huts surrounding the Mead Hall, yo) only to meet up with a weird trio of animals. A bear, a fox, and an eagle follow him home. Odd lets them in, gives them some salmon, and goes to sleep. (I guess Odd figured if the bear had just eaten he wouldn’t be interested in devouring him? I realize I shouldn’t question the judgement of children’s characters, but really, Odd. What would your mother say?)
As it turns out, the animals aren’t REALLY animals. They’re Odin, Thor, and Loki who are trapped in animal form. Which explains why the bear didn’t eat him. They figure all of this out and Odd decides to join them on their quest to get back into their normal bodies.
Oh yeah. And because of Odd’s busted leg slowing down the trio, Thor (who is stuck in the form of a bear) totally lets him ride on his back. I wonder if God-Bears are stinky. Would immortality keep you from smelling like a gross bear? Let’s say that this is the case. Because I would totally ride a bear, if it smelled decent. Who am I kidding? I’d ride a stinky bear too. I’d get a fancy bear saddle and a Viking helmet. Glorious. (I realize this paragraph is probably going to lead to me getting a LOT of hits from people looking for animal porn. Sigh.)
This book was totally entertaining. Norse mythology and all that. It’s for kids, so maybe it’d make for a good chapter book bedtime story for those of you with youngins at home? A nice change of pace from Captain Underpants or what-have-you. So, Bookworms. The question I pose to you is this: if you could ride any wild animal, what would you choose, and why? Bonus points for creativity and stench reduction implements.