Book review - Odinsons by Dan Dewitt
review by Becky
Oliver Dinson cheated death in one world and awoke in another. Now, he finds himself an unwilling, and sometimes unwelcome, resident of Asgard. As he struggles to adjust to his new life, he embraces the role of warrior and learns what it means to live, fight, and love amongst gods.
This is another book that puts a slightly modern twist into the Ragnarok myth in Norse Mythology. It interestingly kicks off at the start with a rather stereotypical Loki stealing Sif's golden hair, a pissed off Thor throwing his hammer around and an unfamiliar magic mirror. The main character called Oliver is interesting only in that he's isn't a typical man in that he hasn't got a typical job, he's a medieval re-enactor and so is already quite handy with a sword. Yet when he's injured by a flying hammer and taken into Asgard for healing he doesn't seem too disturbed by the truth of real gods, or at least not for long enough. He does show some stereotypical attitudes to women who fancy him and vice versa and he also seems to relish throwing himself into trouble, as well as giving a gritty and supposedly bold verbal attitude to most characters, and immediately has a natural dislike of Loki which evolves into hatred when he becomes embroiled in Balder's murder which is a rather unusual twist on that particular myth.
It surprisingly features a a strong presence not just of Thor but also of his wife Sif, a famous valkyrie Brynhilde (sadly no sign of Freya) and Tyr who doesn't usually get a prominent position in most norse fantasy, Mimir, Heimdall, Hel, Jormungard, Fenrir, Garm, of course Odin and the Norns have a brief featurette near the end. So it's quite a cast of characters but thankfully not soo many that the reader feels overwhelmed but it does demonstrate to the reader that the norse mythical world is HUGE and has a lot of divine beings living within it. There are of course bad guys, Loki leading the charge, with armies of undead and giants as well as their cousins the frost giants and Loki's three children. Oh and a horse has quite a significant involvement throughout the plot.
There is plenty of action in the story, it could even be said too much as there isn't much space left for poetic description to immerse the reader in the actual landscape and the other world that Oliver finds himself in, or poingiant moments between characters to reveal agendas and secrets etc.
The plot is still gripping and is full of surprises at each turn and even Oliver acts in surprising ways which somehow still fit to the Ragnarok myth - just not in the classic fashion.
It isn't the best norse fantasy book I've read involving nearly the whole pantheon and the epic end that is Ragnarok but it is good for an easy, gripping read. The battles and blood shed and the problem of loving beautiful battle maidens will more than likely appeal more to the male audience. More knowledgeable and experience readers may even find some of the characters attitudes annoyingly stereotypical and twists to the old myths a bit concerning. But the main flaw with this book sadly is the ending which doesn't really conclude much of the Ragnarok myth and deviates completely, and it will frustrate those who know how the myth ends.
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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