Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A. S. Byatt

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ByattRagnarokWhy I Read It: Short and full of Norse mythology.

Where I Got It: Paperbackswap.com

Who I Recommend This To: If you are new to Norse mythology, or want a refresher, this is beautifully done.

Narrator: Harriet Walter

Publisher: Brilliance Audio (2013)

Length: 3 hours 46 minutes

Series: Book 17 Canongate Myths

First, Canongate Myths is a series of novellas in which each book focuses on a different ancient myth. Each book in the series so far is written by a different author and each can be read independently of the series.

A young girl tries to escape the brittle world around her by diving into a book about Norse mythology. Her world is full of war-time deprivations and nightly bombings that light up the sky and tumble down her world. A. S. Byatt uses lyrical prose to lead us and this girl through the realms contained in Norse mythology.

Quite simply, this was a beautiful little book. Full of imagery and much-beloved characters, such as Ratatosk. I swear, while listening to this book while driving, I inadvertently missed my turn to work. Really, it was because the book was so very engaging (and not at all because work is a bit dull most of the time). Of course, then it would take me an extra 10 minutes to park and make sure I had everything to go into the office – all while listening to just a few more minutes.

This may be a children’s book, but Byatt doesn’t hold back in straightforwardly depicting the violent and sometimes precocious deities that inhabit this particular pantheon. I also loved the involvement of the mythical beasts and indeed the mythical realm the Norse Gods inhabit. This book will be living on my shelf for the occasional reread, or re-listen.

Narration: The narrator, Harriet Walter, was excellent, providing the hushed moments and bounding excitement as needed.

What I Liked: Norse mythology; beautifully written; short, so it makes a great recap or introduction to this pantheon.

What I Disliked: Occasionally, the switch to the WWII-era child we disruptive to the mythology story telling, but this was a very minor criticism of mine.

What Others Think:

In Order of Importance

Rebecca Reads

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Desperate Reader

6 thoughts on “Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A. S. Byatt”

    1. It’s excellent and quite short. Since I have been reading Kevin Hearne’s The Iron Druid Chronicles, this was a great recap of the Norse mythology that features so heavily in Hearne’s work.

  1. I love mythology stories, and Norse Mythology is one that I’m fascinated by, but just don’t know that much about. Looks like I just found a series to help me out! also, in this case, short = good!

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