Friday, April 17, 2015

Good Books to Read

Odd and the Frost GiantsRead anything notable lately? Here's a couple books for fans of Norse mythology and the apocalypse. (Can someone really be a fan of the apocalypse?)

Odd and the Frost Giants, by Neil Gaiman is a charming tale about a young boy who teams up with Thor, Odin, and Loki to save Asgard from the frost giants. Odd's father, a master wood carver, dies while on a raid. An accident leaves Odd lame, forced to hobble about with a crutch. Odd's mother remarries, but no one has time for a crippled boy. One year, when spring is unusually late, Odd leaves home for his father's cabin in the wood and there comes across a strange trio of beasts: a bear, a one-eyed eagle, and a fox. Odd uses his wood chopping skills to save the bear. He later learns that the animals are Thor, Odin, and Loki. A frost giant has captured Asgard, turned the gods into animals, and exiled them. Eternally confident, Odd offers to help.

From the Amazon page:
In this inventive, short, yet perfectly formed novel inspired by traditional Norse mythology, Neil Gaiman takes readers on a wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back.

In a village in ancient Norway lives a boy named Odd, and he's had some very bad luck: His father perished in a Viking expedition; a tree fell on and shattered his leg; the endless freezing winter is making villagers dangerously grumpy.

Out in the forest Odd encounters a bear, a fox, and an eagle—three creatures with a strange story to tell.

Now Odd is forced on a stranger journey than he had imagined—a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants who have invaded it.

It's going to take a very special kind of twelve-year-old boy to outwit the Frost Giants, restore peace to the city of gods, and end the long winter.

Someone cheerful and infuriating and clever . . .

Someone just like Odd.
Gaiman tells the story of Odd and the Frost Giants with his usual mix of humor and pathos. Odd uses his wits and ingenuity to prove himself a more clever trickster than Loki. Highly recommended to fantasy readers and anyone with an interest in Norse mythology.

The Girl at the End of the World The Girl at the End of the World, by Richard Levesque is a very compelling story of a young girl's struggle to survive and find trust in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Scarlett is an average teenager with an average set of problems until she attends a baseball game with her father and his new wife and kids. A neighboring spectator dies horribly. Fungus-like stalks explode out of his face. The contagion kills within hours and spreads via airborne spores. Scarlett is certain she's going to die and locks herself in her room, hoping to shield her mother and sister from harm. Scarlett's world comes crashing down. Everyone is dying, except Scarlett. By some freak of genetics, she is immune. Scarlett gathers supplies and heads out into a very different world. There must be other survivors she reasons, but can she trust them?

From the Amazon page:
Her fight begins the day the world ends.

Scarlett Fisher is an average California teenager. She likes hanging out with her friends and talking on the phone. She does all right at school, and she's made the best of her parents' divorce. But in one way, she's special: on her fifteenth birthday, a fast-moving plague wipes out everyone she’s ever known, yet somehow it passes her by.

Her family dead, alone in a corpse-strewn metropolis, she has no choice but to survive. She needs food, shelter, a safe place to sleep. She discovers that an ordinary girl is capable of extraordinary things, and that she's more resilient than she imagined. Even so, she wishes more than anything that she could just find another survivor.

Unfortunately for Scarlett, not everyone who survived the plague is looking for companionship. And she’s about to find out just how difficult survival really is.
Levesque paints a terrifying picture of a world gone mad, where life and death survival is a constant concern and the rules of society no longer seem to apply. I don't read many apocalyptic stories so I can't say how this one compares to similar stories, but this compelling tale is hard to put down.


  1. I'm glad you found some books to enjoy! I haven't been able to read for pleasure for weeks and I really miss it. Have a good weekend!

  2. I'll have to pick up the Gaiman book sometime. I love Norse mythology.

  3. Jeff, I find both stories appealing. i'm reading, The Way of the Wild Heart. Have a fun weekend.

  4. "The Girl at the End of the World" sounds really interesting. I love post-apocalyptic and young protagonists who struggle to survive in it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. The Girl at the End of the World seems compelling, indeed.

  6. Thanks for the tips. Love a bit of Norse mythology, me, so I'll check them out.

  7. Both of these sound good, especially Neil Gaiman's. Thanks for suggesting them.

  8. Thanks for the good reviews. I like Neil Gaiman.