The Age Of Odin. James Lovegrove (2011)
The Age of Odin. James Lovegrove (2011)
3.75 of 5 Votes: 2
1907519408 (ISBN13: 9781907519406)
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What's not to love about all things Norse? This is among Lovegrove's series of mythologies set in the modern day. In this book, it's Ragnarok, 'twilight of the gods' in Old Norse, also known as the Norse apocalypse. Most of us are used to reading or imagining these mythologies as happening in an age before the Industrial Revolution. But what if it were to happen today? It's often tricky enough wrapping our minds around what the Biblical Apocalypse will look like with things like our modern war machines involved. So what if we translate that into someone else's idea of the end times?The first thing I noticed was that the book is written in the first person. This always lends a sense of heightened immediacy to the story, dragging me into it, so that I'm not just an observer, but a participant. Good writing can do this, too, but use of the first person just gives it that much more of an edge, as though I become the character in a way that's more personal than when reading in the third person.The second thing I noticed was that Lovegrove did his research, beyond simply paying attention to traditional accounts of Ragnarok and other stories about the Norse gods as they appear in places like the Eddas. He seems to get into the heads of the Norse and the way they looked at their world and how that was reflected in the mythologies they built through their stories, even through the theme of rebirth at the end. He reimagines some things, such as how the Nine Worlds are arranged relative to each other, as well as some of the modernizations--Valkyries riding snowmobiles, for instance.Weaving a story like this was probably tricky. Those of us familiar with the events of Ragnarok can predict the major plot points, so what's an author to do about that? For me, it was curiosity about how the modern Ragnarok would play out, whether the actions of the main character would change any of it, and that surprise ending, which I didn't see coming.Besides it being a great story, there's some meat to it, too: modern political commentary; social psychology; sociology. If anything, I was left wanting more, even though the story is nice and complete as written.A couple of mild caveats: for those of you who might be sensitive about profanity, yes there's some in there, but basically just enough to make the human characters believable as blue-collar soldier types. Also, just as a bit of a spoiler, the USA is more or less the bad guy (Lovegrove is British, by the way.), and while I like to think of myself as patriotic as the next guy, I won't dispute that we've earned the love-hate relationship the rest of the world has with us, so I went with it. I mean, even in the Christian Revelation, the Antichrist has to come from somewhere, right? I thoroughly enjoyed the immense amount of mythology tossed around in the book, but the idea of gods living among men and losing power as they lose followers has been done before recently (and better IMO) by Neil Gaiman in American Gods.I was also extremely frustrated by the dense, simple-minded, protagonist. If you're not into military novels, then pass on this book. Hell, pass on it anyways, because there are much better military novels out there.
A refreshing take on the Norse gods, Lovegrove's action oriented style is always a joy to read.
Adult version of the Rick Riodan's series....
Very Fun to read! This should be a movie
Wow! What great surprise this was.
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