“Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman

It’s probably safe to say that a lot of people today get their information about Norse mythology from Marvel films and comics. While those versions of the Asgardian gods are great entertainment and all, they aren’t all that true to the actual legends.

Neil Gaiman’s new book, titled simply Norse Mythology, is a delightful way to get acquainted with the myths themselves without suffering through the boring prose of, say, a history textbook. In this collection of 15 retellings of Norse myths — mostly centered on the adventures of Loki, Thor, and Odin — Gaiman breathes new life into these ancient tales, fleshing them out with the narrative arcs they deserve (and with all the witty characterizations and ironic sense of humor you’d expect from a Neil Gaiman book).

Constance Grady of Vox sums it up well:

Throughout the book, Gaiman keeps his characters walking a fine line: They are powerful and immortal and divine and tragic, but they are also childish and peevish and petty. That tension is part of what powers the stories as they move, inexorably, toward Ragnarok and the apocalypse, and it’s how Gaiman plays between the two extremes that keeps this retelling fresh, vital, and compelling.

Norse Mythology releases tomorrow (February 7th, 2016) in these formats: