Odd and the Frost Giants was originally written as a U.K. World Book Day book. It became a bestseller and subsequently was published in America. The edition being reviewed here is in hardback with expressive illustrations by Adam Stower. It is suitable for the 8+ age group and is available to buy from October 2010.
Odd lives in a small village in Norway in the time of the Vikings. His name does not mean odd in the English sense but instead translates as the tip of a blade. But Odd is strange in other ways. When he is told about his father’s death he just smiles. When he cripples his leg his reaction is the same. His mother’s new husband doesn’t have time for him and the winter seems as if it will never end. Odd decides to run away. He leaves for his father’s old woodcutting hut and that is when his adventures begin. He meets a fox who leads him to a bear and an eagle. They are not all they seem and through them Odd finds out why the winter has been so long and what must be done in order to end it and help his new friends. So Odd sets out on a journey to a place that stories are told of and on the way he finds out things about himself.
Odd and the Frost Giants is a book that uses Norse mythology to weave an interesting coming of age novel. Odd is out of place in his village after his father dies and he gets crippled. His journey with the fox, bear and eagle lead him far away from there. It is at this distance that Odd realises what he wants to do next in his life, after he has solved the problem of the Frost Giants of course! This is an exceptional piece of writing. I would never have guessed that it had originally been written for World Book Day if I hadn’t found out after I finished it. It is one of the best World Book Day pieces I have ever read and shows great skill on Gaiman’s part to be able to put together such an exciting and moving story with such a small word limit. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to people of all age groups!