Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Arty -- Thor's Wedding Day by Bruce Coville

Oh, gosh.  Did I just do a Coville review earlier?  Well, it was an anthology... just bear with me.  It's been a looong week or so (hence my lateness).

I'm a newborne Norse nerd. (Say that three times fast.)  The new Marvel movies have NOTHING to do with that.  No, seriously, they - yes, I'm lying my mouth off.  They may have had something to do with it.  But I promise, the Norse mythology is even better than Marvel.  Especially since you don't have to deal with Black Widow on the side...


Thor's Wedding Day is based off of the Norse legend where Thor, well, has to get married.  Sort of.  See, his great hammer, Mjollnir, has been stolen by a Jotun (frost giant).  This Jotun, Thrym, wants to marry Freya, goddess of beauty and love, in exchange for the hammer.

The trouble is, Freya doesn't want to marry Thrym.  Even to get Mjollnir back. (Aside from beauty and love and whatnot, Freya may as well be the goddess of hot tempers and stubbornness.)  No matter... why not dress Thor up as Freya in order to get into Jotunheim and retrieve the hammer?

Why not, indeed.

This is one of my favorite Norse myths for many reasons - not the least of which being the image of Thor and Loki (who accompanies Thor) dressed up as bride and lady-in-waiting, respectively.  So I was expecting a lot, even though here Coville adds a new character to the tale - Thialfi, the goat boy, by whom the story is told.  Thialfi isn't Coville's creation - Thialfi became Thor's servant in another Norse story - but he wasn't in this tale's original.  So adding him felt a little like cheating.

Still, it was an amusing little book (at under 200 pages with big type, it only took an hour or so to read).  It's a fairly straightforward retelling, with passable style and pretty good characters.  I mean, it would take a giant-sized idiot (no pun intended) to mess up the characters of Thor and Loki, especially when they're put together.

Thialfi wasn't a bad narrator, just typical.  Young, a trifle naive, yet somehow intrepid enough to save the day... yep, typical.  To be honest, I was more interested in the actions and reactions of Thor and Loki, but that's just because I'm addicted to those two.

The side characters were standard, though I liked how Coville brought in the goat that Thialfi, in his tale, crippled by eating his bone marrow. (Just... don't ask.  Read the story.)  Interesting reaction, there.  Talking goats pwn, anyway.  Talking goats with a grudge pwn even more.

And then the ending was cute.  Basically, that sums up the whole book.  Cute.  Nothing really new (aside from the fact that it's a kid's Norse myth retelling, which you don't see a lot of).  If you're a Norse fiend like myself, then you should read it just because it exists.  But... well, you won't miss out on a lot if you don't.

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