This book took me forever to read. It was so dry and uninteresting. Really, it’s an art to make a book about Greek and Norse mythology this irritatingly bad. I would have been better off reading English translations of the stories themselves than this.
Soon after I finished this book, I picked up Richelle Mead’s The Immoral Crown and felt like I was welcoming an old friend. I’m just not meant to read books like this one. I actually worry my own book may have suffered because I wasn’t reading a good example of excellent writing. Sorry Edith, but this was just no fun to read.
On this positive side, Greek mythology is extremely interesting. Please don’t accept this poor review as a review of the mythological stories. There were a lot of small facts I found fascinating. For example, there was a minor character in the stories named Lucifer. I thought it was amazing that the name existed before the dawn of Christianity. It makes me wonder why Christianity chose that name for the devil.
I was also delighted to find that the anime Sailor Moon is loosely based of Greek mythology. I mean, the names are even the same. Selene, the Moon, fell in love with Endymion. In the Greek story, Endymion is a shepherd, not a prince like Sailor Moon says. Either way, I found this connection entertaining.
What really struck me was what author attributed to the decline of Greek mythological beliefs. The claim is that this decline started when the stories of gods took a more human turn. Later stories of the gods showed them with far more human emotions, eventually making it hard for them to be held above humanity.
At the very end of this book, Edith touches on stories in Norse mythology. This was honestly the most interesting part of the book. The Norse gods were mortal and, while they fought incessantly for good, understood that eventually evil would overcome. All their epic tales were about warriors who ran to battle despite inevitable death. That courage to fight for good with the knowledge that one would eventually succumb to death marked one as a hero.
My interests in mythology hasn’t left me, but my interest in reading text books on the subject has. I’m just going to have to grab a copy of the Iliad and live the adventure myself. I don’t need someone to explain it to me.