ODD AND THE FROST GIANTS by Neil Gaiman

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The Norse name “Odd” is supposed to be lucky.  But Odd’s life thus far has been far from lucky.  His right leg was shattered by a falling tree, his father drowned in a Viking raid, and his mother’s new husband mocks and ignores him.  But Odd–being, well, odd–never stops smiling, a huge goofy smile that infuriates the rest of the villagers.  During one particularly cold winter that lasts a whole lot longer than it is supposed to, Odd decides to take a break from the stresses of village life, and he sets off for his father’s old hunting cottage in the woods.  There he meets a fox, an eagle, and a bear who, to his great surprise, can talk!  He learns that these animals are really the great gods Loki, Odin, and Thor who have been banished from their home of Asgard and trapped in animal bodies as the result of a Frost Giant’s trickery.  Odd decides that he will be the one to defeat the Frost Giants, and he and the gods set off for Asgard.

Odd and the Frost Giants is a short, simple fantasy book that follows an unlikely hero from his beginnings as a weak, lame, and ridiculed underdog through his transformation as champion of the gods.  Readers are sure to love Odd and his “infuriating smile.”  No surprises in this classic plot structure, but the historical and mythological details that Gaiman weaves into the story make it unique and engaging.  Readers who enjoy the works of Roald Dahl should definitely check this book out, as Odd resembles many of Dahl’s heroes and the book deals with similar themes to many of Dahl’s works.

If you liked Odd and the Frost Giants, you might like The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and other fantasy books by Roald Dahl.

The audio book performed by Neil Gaiman is quite good.  I highly recommend it!

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