Let me just get this off my chest: I have learned, over the past couple of years, to adore Neil Gaiman. Really. The more I read by this man, the more I love his writing.
If you’re looking for a good place to start reading some of his work, Odd and the Frost Giants is really about as accessible as Gaiman gets. Funny, yet slightly (but not too much) odd, there’s a little bit of everything for everyone: some honest-to-goodness coming of age in there, a bit of mythology, a bit of adventure. In short, it’s everything Gaiman usually delivers, just this time in a slim 117-page packet.
Odd is a boy who’s a bit down on his luck. His father died trying to save a pony after a Viking raid. Odd tried to fill his place, but a tree fell on his leg, smashing it to where it was nearly unusable. His mother eventually remarried, but his stepfather (who already has a bundle of kids of his own) isn’t very kind to Odd. Then, the winter that doesn’t want to let go, Odd decides to leave. Once he reaches the forest, he meets a fox, who leads him to a bear and an eagle — strange companions, sure, but with an even stranger story.
That’s when Odd finds himself on a journey he never expected to take: a journey to save Asgard, city of the gods, from the Frost Giants. There’s no doubt that he’ll succeed, but how he succeeds is ultimately quite surprising. (And satisfying.)
I couldn’t put the book down, and when I closed it, my first thought was, “That was just about perfect.” And, really, you can’t say much more than that.