A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Norse Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]

Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.Acquired Book By: I was approached in late August 2019 – just ahead of #Mythothon Year 2 to consider reviewing a tome of a book (over 800+ pages) regarding Norse Mythology. At the time the book review request came into my blog, I must admit, I was slightly *gobsmacked!* at the timing of it – as how could a book such as this about the very topic of discovery I was about embark on during September come into my Review Requests? I considered it writ in the runes as they say – eagerly excited about what the book would reveal to me about the Norse Mythologies but also, the challenge of reading, dissecting and blogging about a book separated into six distinctive sections called “cycles”.

Initially, I had projected to read and review this work of fictional excellence within the month of September, however, due to unforeseen illness and a severe migraine; I re-grouped and realised I needed three months not thirty days! I also re-planned how I would attack reading and reviewing this book – as per each ‘cycle’ of the story, there was loads to ruminate over and discuss with my readers – therefore, this is a review in [six] installments – where each ‘cycle’ in the book itself is a separate review [similar to when I read serial fiction?] and it will be anchoured with a Q&A at the beginning of my readings [featuring nine questions, one per post featured in this series of showcases]; a more extensive interview at the conclusion of my readings [featuring 20 questions] and a cumulative review wherein I will re-address each of the cycles (and their reviews) whilst talking about what truly resonated with the book overall as the whole story will have become revealled to me at that junction.

My health proved to be a stumbling block I could not circumvent in late 2019 – I had two months of migraines and two months of illness to shift through to where focusing on Non-Fiction and headier reads like this one were not going to work out very well for me. It wasn’t until May, where I felt I could re-settle into the context of the story and truly honour the text with reviews I had originally planned to write on its behalf where I felt renewed to re-attempt my original goals of sequencing the reviews into six installments whilst interviewing the author at the end of finishing the book and giving my overall impression of what I had read. Sometimes you have to let life be lived before you can return to something you were enjoying to read – such as this lovely book I received last year.

I received a complimentary copy of “Cycles of Norse Mythology” direct from the author Glenn Searfoss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The mood I created for myself as I read:

Regular followers who actively read Jorie Loves A Story will have denoted a section on my reviews where I talk about the playlists I listen to on a variety of platforms – from Spotify (my first choice), Pandora (my secondary choice), iHeartRadio (a distant third) and when I was able to have a subscription Hearts of Space programmes which I originally discovered on analogue radio broadcasts. If I could ever remember the Sunday Playlists are *free!* to stream via Hearts of Space – I could soak into their beautiful soundscapes which feature ambient and trance electronica.

As I was embarking on a reader’s odyssey into a wholly new dimension of a) literature and b) Mythology – in the Classical study of the field – I opted to use Spotify due to the choices the platform affords readers who are seeking a personalised soundscape as they’re reading. I’ve mentioned this previously on different reviews – how I equate the components of a novel or work of Non-Fiction with the sounds, tones, lyrics or non-lyrics, classical orchestrations or other experimental sound environs which are either contemporary, classic or somewhere betwixt the two – either featuring stateside artists or stepping through the window into the world’s musical stage. In essence, my musical adventures cast a wide net.

For Cycles in Mythology, I knew instinctively it would be similar to my original pursuits of Irish, Celtic and Gaelic stories – wherein I would pursue the music in-line with my readings across Contemporary and Historical story-crafters who were intriguing me into their sagas and/or genre fiction. Happily Spotify did not let me down – all you had to key into their lovely search box (it is a bit like a treasure box of infinite random joy; at least to me) was “Nordic” – this gave me such a motley ecelecticity of choice I was at first unsure which playlist, album or artist to begin my journey.

Previously I had discovered melodic metal bands Sonarta Artica and Nightwish – with this kind of background of layered sound and an intriguing approach to how music can transcend time, place and language inasmuch as create a soundscape intuitive aware of its origins, I let my eyes roam over the selections. Sometimes you have to just trust your intuition. This is how I landed on “Nordic and Viking Music” – a collection of music spanning 7 hours and 50 minutes with a total collection of 93 tracks. I felt it was fittingly long enough to dive into my “Day One” readings.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

A #WyrdAndWonder Book Showcase in [cycles of six] Reviews | The journey Jorie takes into the world of “Cycles of Norse Mythology” by Glenn Searfoss feat. [Cycle One]Cycles of Norse Mythology
Subtitle: Tales of the AEsir Gods
Source: Direct from Author

Edda's and Sagas of the Northland recount epic struggles for control of the world. In this land lost amid the cycles of time, canny gods confront shrewd giants, while valiant heroes battle honorable foes.

Cycles of Norse Mythology takes the reader on a thrilling exploration of the Norse Universe as the Gods and Giants are exposed in their complex interactions. From the creation of the world to its violent ending, this comprehensive re-imagining breathes life and modern relevance into the Norse gods and their foes, while remaining faithful to the traditional myths. Through engaging, lyrical storytelling, this work presents the gripping adventures of the Norse Gods in a style to delight modern readers of all ages.

Cycles of Norse Mythology comprises six cycles of 100+ interconnected stories that encompass the entire breadth of Norse Mythology. All tales are extended to create greater tension between the reader and the characters. Sequence gaps are filled by interpolations based on cross references in classic and modern literature.

Cycle 1: Prophesy. Odin travels the dark road to Niflhel seeking knowledge from the withered lips of the long dead seeress. In this frozen land, he is forged to his purpose by the harsh lashings of the seeress as she relates the creation stories of the cosmos, the nine worlds, the sun and moon, day and night, the origin of giants, dwarves, elves, mankind, and the gods themselves.

Cycle 2: The Victory Gods. Returned to Asgard, Odin learns the truth of prophecy and the ultimate cost of purpose. As the Æsir expand their number and their power, Gullveig’s brutal death at their hands sparks a bloody war with a rival clan, the Vanir; their eventual truce unifies the godheads in an uneasy alliance. Post-war rebuilding introduces the primary gods and goddesses, along with the Einherjar, valorous warriors gathered from battlefields across Midgard. Meanwhile, Thor’s martial journeys into Jotunheim underscore the constant tension with the offspring of Ymir.

Cycle 3: The Sword of Vengeance. Accompany the fiery blade born of love and hate that is destined to play a pivotal role in the shaping of the Norse universe, through the tragedies of Volund its creator, Nidud king of the Njara who is ordered by the Odin to capture the blade, and Svipdag the chosen son of man fated to recover its keen edge, and who ultimately gifts it to the Æsir for his marriage to Fryeja .

Cycle 4: Premonitions. Victory, jealousy, and revenge follow the Æsir gods and goddesses as they seek to avert their ultimate fate. The Fenris wolf is tricked and bound. Baldur’s death sends shudders through the nine worlds as innocence dies and the first portents of Ragnarök begin to align. Vali, fresh born from his mother’s womb, slays Baldur’s hapless killer. Freyr gives away the Sword of Vengeance for a bride; an ill-fated gift which ultimately finds its way into the hands of Surt at Ragnarök. Loki’s devious and sometimes, vicious attempts to humble the gods highlight the strife and dissent of within the Æsir clan and result in his horrible punishment.

Cycle 5: Ragnarök. Unable to avoid the final confrontation, the Æsir gather their band of chosen warriors and prepare for battle. The rainbow bridge shatters as ancient enemies charge onto Vigrid Plain, eager to end the reign of the victory gods. Follow the fortunes of the primary combatants as they boldly face known defeat, the Æsir goddesses awaiting their fate in the great hall of Fensalir, and the remnants of mankind who survive to greet the dawn.

Cycle 6: Of Gods and Men. While Cycles 1-5 focused on interactions among the gods, this cycle encompasses stories of direct interaction between the Æsir gods and mankind. These stories contrast human folly with the morality inherent in Norse Mythology.

Glossary: Norse Mythology heralds from an era when names reflected the character attributed to an object, such as a weapon, a person’s character, or their current station in life. This glossary provides a quick reference to the meaning behind names and terms used in the book.

Source Reference: References for further reading are included for persons who want to delve deeper into the study of Norse Mythology. This bibliography is restricted to books published in or translated into English and is by no means, exhaustive. As with all resources, the harder and longer you look, the more there is to be found.

Genres: Anthology Collection of Short Stories and/or Essays, Classical Literature, After Canons, Re-telling &/or Sequel, Norse Mythos | Legacies, Mythological Fantasy


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781789820829

Published by Acorn Press

on 11th April, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 825

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published By: Acorn Press,
an imprint of Andrews UK Limited

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #NorseMythology, #Norse, #Mythology and #Odin
as well as #WyrdAndWonder

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This story received my award for Best Adaptation of Classical Mythology.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

How the book layout is approachable for a new reader of Norse Mythology:

As you might have noted in the synopsis of Cycles of Norse Mythology – Searfoss created six cycles of influence, intellectual dissection and creative exploration for his book. After thanking his wife and their family of dogs who have taken this journey with him – a sentiment I smiled after as I understood how attached we all become to our companions in fur; canine or feline inclined; he moved into the Content List and the List of Acknowledgements of the collective works which not only inspired this edition of Norse Mythological stories but of how he understood the back-histories of the mythos itself.

Immediately you dive into the first cycle of “Prophecy” after a delightfully ancient image which reminded me of the totem poles of Alaska’s Native population. And, thus your journey inward to seek the Mythology and the stories begins as any other novel would present itself to you. Except in my particular case, I had chanting, drums and an ethereal sound journey evoking itself in the background re-pleat with lightning, thunder and other interesting bits of inclusive ambience which not only centred my journey but anchoured me to the aspect I was journeying somewhere wickedly new and exciting.

In some ways, the musical soundscapes I am listening to fill in the small gaps between the text and the narrative arc; knitting out the bits you cannot gain unless you see a place in person or are able to travel through the effects of the soundscape which tricks your mind to believe you already have arrived to this ‘other place’ the novel or book is transporting you towards – it is another layer of insight as I read and one in which I enjoy as oft-times it is completely serendipitous how I find the music which fits so well into the book in my hand.

[On that note, you have a bit of a clue why I love audiobooks – for the sound journey they create and the experience which feels as realistically lived as if you walked the path the characters took due to the interpersonal way narrators connect with their readers in the same level of connective awareness as musical artists and their music.]

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

my review of cycles of norse mythology (focused on ‘cycle one’):

As this collection is broken into six distinctive cycles of story, I am in effect going to break my review into six distinct sections of ruminative thoughts, initial takeaways and the musings which arrive as I soak into a branch of literature I am only just starting to discovery since November, 2018.

I ought to preface the start of my review by stating I was jumping in the deep end of the pool so to speak – I had no anchour or compass into this world, nor did I have any foreknowledge about the characters, the places or the evolution of the stories contained herein. I was as Jules Verne inferred – a traveller out of time.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Cycle One: Prophecy –

The person featured in this initial cycle is self-sacrificial in his pursuit of knowledge and the insight gained from a self-directed pursuit of perfected wisdom. He is willing to give more than most in order to accept the life he has chosen for himself  – even if that means losing portions of himself in order to feel fulfilled. This is one aspect of Mythology I did not quite explore when I was in seventh grade (when I first was introduced to the grittier texts and stories of Greek Mythos) – how a person would be willing to sacrifice part of their sensory gifts if it meant heightening themselves to a higher level of understanding; the ultimate pursuit of their individual nirvana (or so it felt to me).

They’re a student of the Runes – a ritual I learnt whilst attending a Yule festival wherein the stones themselves tell their own tales and even if the person who reads them is hoping to interpret something relevant to themselves or to those they readily know of near to them, the runes have a way of revealling only what they wish the reader to see and understand. In essence, runes are a way of fuelling a catalyst of prophecy by what you can ascertain and intuit out of them.

As soon as the subject of interest turnt to ravens – I must admit, I sat a bit straighter as I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this segue. Ravens, as you know were part of why I loved reading Corvidae a Cosy Horror and Speculative Fiction anthology of short stories which involve the ‘corvids’ : ravens, magpies, crows and (?). By happenstance, I also have observed many a flock of crows of whom I have no doubts of being in the same general family both immediate and extended; as if you watch them long enough, you understand more than they wish you did.

In this instance, he’s able to call the ravens down to him – to personally evoke an exchange of information and to extract more about this world – which is noted as having nine world in total. This interested me – is this similar to the seven continents of our world? Or is it dimensional space and not physical land and sea? A combination of both or an elevation of a lifetime heightened through wisdom and knowledge few obtain. There are layers to life as much as there are layers to time – time is temporal and the universe is infinite; betwixt the two, who can aspire to understand it all within one lifetime?

This person is humble at times – noting how his physical journey to seek further wisdom is a costly route across vast lands and of personal conversation with those of whom began their journey ahead of their own pursuit. Yet, there is a distinction between what is physically lived and what is thought about during the times the feet are still. They are also acting through different shadows of perception – independent of others and outside the general purview of society, this person (who has more names than others – yet owns none) has an enlarged sense of self whilst I felt believed they would be above reproach or counsel. Even though in the pursuit of self-driven knowledge (ie. wisdom) counsel is sought to explore new entreaties of understanding – but herein, I inferred the kind of counsel to ‘change oneself’ or to ‘seek an internal check’ on one’s own thoughts and actions.

Similar to the journey to seek wisdom – the names infer that these actions are not always self-driven but are called upon and requested at different intervals of experience by others. Thereby, the influence of this person is widely cast due to the exchanges of interpretation and of the necessity this person creates in ‘their’ own journey in whichever way the presence of ‘them’ is seen or observed.

In regards to the others who occupy this world or worlds, you can decipher quite a lot in how the descriptions of their peers are described – how there are small notes about their personalities, strengths or weaknesses but not about their story or their own personal heritage of journey.

The key strength revealled though is a propensity for conflict and war; even with the interchanges of names, of personalities and attributes of character – this person still holds true to themself in whichever incantation they are presenting to the world. Similar to the Greeks, the Norse Mythos have their own hierarchy of Gods – each with their own designated role and legacy.

Perception is everything and yet, perceptional understanding of whom this person is and what personally motivates them cannot always be understood by their self-presentation of whom they are in the greater scheme of things. Thus, in th end of the first chapter (so to speak) you gain more insight than in the fuller context of the chapter because most of it is a stream of consciousness – to where a person is judging themselves and attempting to reveal information about others at the same time. A personal allegory of insight limited by their own internalisation of what is perceived and what is known. At the conclusion of the chapter, you see a man tested by time, determined in the grit of accepting his fate and humbled in how any passionate pursuit of an interest which overtakes one’s mind and spirit is its own cautionary tale. Nothing is what it appears and yet the purpose for the search was to forestall events not yet taken place; to preserve the legacy of a family or a lineage.

Alas, the main name he prefers,.. “Odin”,.. a name which curated through my initial research of Norse Mythology,… my first ‘ah-ha’ moment of the Cycles of Norse Mythology as it was as if the ‘mask’ of this person was first removed. Such a complicated fellow with more layers to his person than an onion!

One of the most descriptive sections I’ve seen in a Mythological re-telling or re-visitation are within the chapter known as “Hlebard’s Hall”. An ancient estate crumbling round the owner as if time itself had bent against the threads of hours interlacing a suspension of life and dwindling what was left to be seen in clouds of dusted debris. Searfoss makes good use of his descriptive narrative here – as rather than talking to us about the person Odin is known as and how Odin “became Odin” – here we start to segue into his life as he is living it. First to meet with Frigg – a woman who loves him more than he can give love back to him and now, secondly we re-segue to this Hall, where the chambers are a shamble of life they once had known. It is here where you see the well of insight Searfoss is painting into the background of the evolving story.

Even in this moment of anguish for Odin, to recognise the fragility of the giant’s mind and the cost of time on his life – he confided to Frigg about his options and what he should do with the staff he was entrusted to take with him. Of course, nothing in this story (nor world) is quite as simplistic as a ‘staff’ by the general condition of one – no, this one was entrusted with different ‘beings’ and acted as a gate towards a truth seeker’s journey. It could provide protection and that was what Frigg felt was most important even if Odin had different thoughts. Again – the visuals and the descriptions pull you closer into this setting – giving you dimension and an firm impression of whom Odin is and was selfishly motivated to his own self-gain – not a person you’d wish to cross or one you’d secret information from as he brokered no fools and was the kind of person who knew where all the cards were at the poker table.

The “Journey to Niflhel” reminded me of my readings of Frozen Fairy Tales (another anthology of Speculative short stories; focused on Winter and the frozen landscapes therein) – where Searfoss takes us into a Wintry landscape where the harshness of breaking ice, raging water funnelling through a river hungry for more than what it can bank is at the forefront of the path Odin is taking with his horse in a near-stampede to reach a particular person who is housed in this land of the dead. He has complete disregard for tradition and the circumspect one ought to have for charging through such a landscape – again, his incessant selfishness is on display. Odin does what pleases Odin with disregard for others if an action does not befit his own end game.

Odin is such an audacious fellow! He will raise the dead if it could impart knowledge he is seeking – and yet, he won’t reconsider his actions even if he is guided towards taking a moment to consider the after effects of what his actions could lead him towards. The way Searfoss approached how Odin chooses to raise the dead was a believable sequence of action – even from a rudimentary knowledge of Earthen magic and the ways in which the dead can become exhumed from their slumber by chants, runes or other works of darker magic which do not respect the distance between life and death; you can find yourself enthralled by how odious this act is to perform and the consequences it would naturally incur against the person.

Throughout the passages of “The Dawn of Time” and “The Start of Life” we’re treated to how Odin’s world gave birth to the ancestry and lineage of his people. It is an interesting treaty on how life is first restored to a world of only fire and ice; where water and the natural elements have a firmer grip on the power in a world that is just becoming populated with people. It is full of allegory and metaphoric symbolism whilst it also hones in on how a world can be built first through the elements and then through a species of origin; in this case, the humanoids who were to become known wide and far of this world. Including the giants who in of themselves had an interesting origin story.

It is here as Odin listens to the tales and intuitive knowledge of a seer he starts to see how his impulsive nature is almost always his undoing. Even as he listens, he is attempting to redirect an outcome of his personal choosing and the seer, rightly calls him out for it. In his gruff response he wants her to continue her oral histories but there is a part of me who questions if Odin can get past himself long enough to truly hear what is being told to him. Whilst at the same time, will he understand the wisdom of what she has foretold and related of the past?

One of the hardest passages to read is the death of the giant Ymir (within “The Killing of Ymir”) – a senseless death and yet, there is an unexpected moment of Hope within this part of the back-histories – for Ymir and his kin were taken far too soon from their lives but a rather resourceful giant was able to save his family. It was one of the most brutal deaths of any character I’ve read but it was done with such taste for how to visually reveal just enough to paint the picture of what happened during the death scene without turning it to gore or graphic horror. This is another way in which Searfoss has softened the harder scenes with a mindfulness approach to tell his story in a sequencing of earnest realism with a deft hand for balancing the violence with literary prose. You can handle what happens because what hits you harder is the emotional response from the surviving family – of what they felt when they realised they were the last family of their kind to be left on this world.

Yet, it was their personal resilience (etched out in their biographical sketch throughout “The Killing of Ymir”) which re-sparked a genesis of their race and species. From their bloodline came their descendants who helped re-populate their part of the world. Interestingly enough, each of those descendants had something unique to contribute to their community and to their society; things not of this world but more of a fantastically magical gift or talent in which each of them were given to use during their lifetime. This section of the story reads like an ancestral lineage log – wherein you can observe who is whom, which talent was theirs alone and how they held a certain level of recognition whilst alive.

Certain parts of this section of the story reminded me of the back-histories of the Clan especially during my readings of the first trilogy when the Clan lived on Cersi. It is a necessary portion of the back-histories of this world because you are being treated to understand the origins of the Æsir of whom Odin is a crucial part of the lineage. I was most interested how their talents were not limited to specific tasks or specific gifts – for instance, there was an entire family dedicated to the seasons of the year and the prosperity of their kin. It took four of them just to control ‘Winter’ and to ensure a positive mark on Harvest! It was in this tracking of the lineage of their line wherein Odin doesn’t hesitate to re-injury the patience of his reincarnated seer.

By the time I moved into the passages of “A Time of Creation” – I had already observed a keen retelling of Genesis and how a world can become created by a recycling of organic materials. One layer of reading this section would be of abject horror because of how through the death of Ymir – land, sea and sky were created out of the remnants of a man’s life. However, from the start of my readings I’ve wanted to look at this evolving story a bit deeper than the superficial layers wherein we can obtain one layer of insight into what the story seeks to reveal. In this portion of it – without the sacrifice of Ymir, this world would have existed differently. He was truly representative of how powerful one person can carve out a difference within a singular lifetime because he inspired so much out of his followers. They did not want his life to be reduced to memory nor to be left unknown and unrespected in the future. Instead – they found a clever way of ‘keeping his memory alive’ and his essence churning within their world but in a ways which others might be able to readily see nor wish to understand because of the lengths they took to recycle the bits of his life back into an organic landscape which could reuse his body in order to regenerate what the earth itself needed most with those materials.

It gives new meaning to the theory of the phoenix as well – as how to ‘rise out of ash’ and to seek a new life on the opposite end of death. In this case, the rebirth and new life came through a synergy of mixed use resources to extend the recycling process and to give way to a fuller chasm of how life can carry forward post-death and how after death there is still purpose and meaning to be found in how a person can inspire a future to step forward. Yet, Odin was not yet listening to the seer – he had his own perspective on these events, on the living history he already had known as he had played a working role inside it and was not necessarily willing to listen to an alternative view of what unfolded. Except he’s met his match – the seer will not tolerate a fool nor will she allow his impetuous attitude forestall what she chooses to witness to him through her stories.

→ As I read about the Yggdrasil tree within this story, I had just learnt and discussed a bit more about this during #SatBookChat during my 2nd #WyrdAndWonder focused chat when Jennifer Silverwood was the guest author. Further, part of the story featured during my L.P. Owen interview involves the same mythological tree.

As the seer continued her stories, one bit of trivia she mentioned about the berries of the Yggdrasil tree was most interesting to me – the berries aided childbirth. This was interesting because the tree itself could withstand any ill of nature and environ and it made sense that the berries would strengthen the chance of a woman surviving childbirth from complications due to how strong the tree is which yielded the fruit. I find Apothecary most interesting and whenever I see natural medicine being mentioned in the context of a story, I take stock and notice of what is being said as there are a lot of natural ways to heal the body and/or reduce the symptoms of an issue someone is having through natural medicine. I enjoyed this part of the seer’s story even if it was a bit of a throwaway piece of trivia.

I hadn’t realised the great Yggdrasil tree is a symbol of endurance – to endure what arises through life and to find strength out of adverse pain. The tree itself cannot give voice to what it feels and how it shakes off the pain it is given but the ways in which it continues to thrive despite the odds against it and the ways in which the creatures of this world treat it with indifference due to their own needs coming ahead of the tree’s – is a mark of strength which I can see would encourage all who come to find it. The history now known of this tree encourages you to go straight up to the Yggdrasil and simply give it a wicked good hug and let it know how thankful you are for its courage.

I hadn’t heard of the story of how people came to live within the annals of Norse Mythology until I listened to the seer describing how Ask and Embla first were brought to life by Odin and his two brothers – how they wanted to ensure humans had a chance to thrive in this environment and not just exist. They took time to contemplate the attributes which would make the best temperaments and which of those attributes would enable them to not just survive but mature into the inherent gifts these brothers bestowed into their beings. It was an interesting story parlaying a bit into the story of Genesis and the origins of humans through a Christian lens of perspective – as Eden in this instance was described as a hidden and secreted area within Midgard. There are overtures of truth from the original story Christians have been taught whilst there are a few differences as well.

I have learnt one beautiful thing about reading Norse Mythology – Mythology seeks to explain our lives and our universe – how everything is set inside our world and how the organisation of the cosmos is plausible under an ordered structure of how interlocking mechanisms can explain how everything works in harmony to each other. For instance, instead of looking at the sky by daybreak or sunset, to observe where the sun is on the horizon – in Norse Mythology, they carry forward the arrival of the sun and moon through a series of stories about how a Mum and her children occupy the duty of ensuring there is sunlight and moonlight each day as they cycle through their own lives which affect the light as it is seen on the world. This is a beautiful way of seeing the cycles and seasons of life – as there are more than this instance of how Norse Mythology is re-seeing what we understand about life and the philosophical impressions we gather as we live through our lives to where the firmer portrait of what is meant to enlighten us is wrought out through the stories which endeavour to teach us more of what we need to gain to fully be considered enlightened. This is what I believe was the purpose of Odin’s search himself – he wanted to seek a higher level of knowledge over and beyond what was generally respected as being an enlightened person.

I never thought I’d hear of an origin story for the dwarves which involved transfiguration as the Æsir Gods didn’t want their original form to last in this world. They took a rather unwanted bug (let’s say) and transformed it into a living race who loved to create with their hands with an artisanal artistry only they could envision. It was a departure of what I have known about dwarves and what I have learnt this year about them as well. There is a firm sense of recycling what cannot be used and/or what could be better utilised if it were transformed in this world, too. Where raw materials do not last in their original states as they are a constant source of life, energy and vitality.

It was a humbling observation how even the Yggdrasil tree was given a gift of support – by the three maidens who take care to see to the tree’s needs. It was a moment of redemption I felt for the tree – to have three guardians watching over the tree in such an intuitive way as to understand what it needed and how best to aide its aches and the hurts it consistently had to endure. This gave me hope that perhaps despite its adverse life, the Yggdrasil would also understand mercy because this is what the maidens gave it – to alleviate and soothe what life had tried to etch out of it.

This was also my first introduction to [the concept of] Valhalla – although I know what this references, it was interesting to become introduced to how it is exists in this world. Especially considering how in this instance it is submerged in water and I hadn’t seen it referenced in this way previously. This is a place where the dead are enslaved to serve the person who found them in this watery grave – which also is a different perspective of what I had been told of Valhalla as well.

The “Judgement at the Thing of Urd” we find ourselves with a new interpretation of the concepts of Heaven and Hell; again, there are similarities here again from the Christian perspective of Heaven and Hell, but overall this is a wholly new interpretation of it. For starters, how one crosses into the next life is a different concept altogether – though what remains is the judgement of a life lived and the repercussions of those choices which affect their afterlife. It is here where the visualisations present a very clear and concise exit for those who have lived a life of darkness as they are doomed to have those deeds repeat through memories they cannot escape whilst their tongues cannot speak and only silence can engulf their thoughts. On the opposite end, those who lived amongst the light find themselves in a lush filled garden where only kindness can continue to touch them. I felt this was a stirring metaphor about life and how the choices we make whilst alive can have longer lasting impressions in the end.

I also found the final descriptions of Hell (as perceived in Norse Mythology) to be as horrific as you can imagine but also graphically disturbing. These depictions of course befit what is being described and of course, the persons who are affected by these illustrated visuals relate back to the consequences of how life can be lived – however, it could be hard to digest if you are not expecting it to be this visually described. I was able to get through it only because I knew of the topic at hand would be a difficult one to wade through as this is talking about what happens at the end of people’s lives and the differences between being sent to Heaven or Hell (as I know of them).

By the time I reached into the conclusion of passage in this Cycle [“Prophecy’s End”], I was grateful to have a respite from the text to contemplate what I had read and how it was told. I had to smirk as I read this passage because from the moment Odin first endeavoured to take this journey of his – this Quest which fuells his actions now, I had a feeling part of his Quest might turn into a fool’s errand and the seer herself all but hinted towards this herself! Of all the memories she bestowed to him, her final parting words are what struck me the most as being the most insightful. And, that of course is a lesson on life itself – how the harder you search for the answers your seeking it is the response you’re not expecting to hear which bears more weight than you first imagined it could.

Content Notes:

You do feel a bit bogged down by the ancestral lineage being described by the seer – however, Searfoss has included a map of identity for you in the Glossary at the end of the book. Whilst you’re moving through the text itself, you have to remember you’re not going to remember everyone’s name, purpose in this world and whom their related too. It is above and beyond complete recollection because of how many are being revealled to have lived on this world. I appreciated the fullness of the Histories but it was also a bit like learning about the descendants of Abraham in Sunday School as a child? At some point – those names, the lineage and the connections therein started to blur and all you remember is you sang a song about Abraham. In many respects, the seer’s discourse on ancestral lineage in Norse Mythology starts to have a familiar cadence for me. The only difference – betwixt the recitations you get these wondrous stories threaded against the names!

In regards to visuals of horror – there are some passages which I felt brokered into a bit of gore and horror. The horror because of how precisely visual Searfoss made his narrative to tackle the weight of the legacy of the Æsir Gods themselves but also of the firmer edge of the Histories within this world. There are moments where it is quite hard to read and some passages although truthful in what they are describing can be a bit on my upper edge of tolerance for visuals in a story. The gory bits are limited (blessedly) and thankfully were not lingered upon too long. It was an extension of seeing part of the Histories – of what affected the people of the story directly or what was a cause of an action therein.

I knew going into reading this treaty about Norse Mythology, I might find some instances which would push me a bit as a reader outside my zones of comfort but what kept me rooted in the story itself is how Searfoss approached telling it. That makes all the difference because if a writer can give you a story which can be slightly uncomfortable in places to read but overall has an incredibly layered story to digest – it gives the reader something to chew on long after the story has been read.

On the layered and descriptive narrative styling of Glenn Searfoss:

Without having any conception of how to enter into a reading of Norse Mythology, I still attest the serendipitous moment in which this book crossed my path in late August 2019. Having said that – what I loved most about how Searfoss approached writing this [storied] novel in six different acts of insight into the back-histories of the Norse legacies interwoven through this concentration of Classical Mythology is how he aided your journey with keen insight into how to write a descriptive arc of story whilst grounding it with a catalyst attached to his lead character (Odin) who is not necessarily the kind of bloke you want to feel attached but of whom is an unreliable narrator of a story because he is more antagonist than he is a leading gent or hero.

He has a beautiful descriptive narrative styling within the pacing and context of how he wanted to tell this story. He illuminates the sequences of Odin’s journey with visuals which not only allow you to tuck closer to his characters but to see the world itself – to draw closer to how this world is allowing you to find it and the characteristics of how it reacts to those who dare enter its boundaries. For instance, there is a moment where he is describing how the cold desolate weather has wrecked havoc on trees and how the trees themselves seemed to have found a way to be a supportive network of strength for each other. He visually gives you a firm grounding about the world and about his characters in ways which is a delight of joy to a reader who loves illustrative descriptions whilst their engaged in a fantastical journey.

I, admit, when we were in the throes of how the body of Ymir was the foundational layer of this world was birthed and built – there were moments where I nearly lost traction with the context of the storyline involving Odin. Not because it wasn’t fascinating but because of how complicated this world is constructed. I find most of origins of Mythology to be heady reads and Searfoss doesn’t disappoint on that angle of it – as Norse Mythology origins are just as complicated as the Greek! What he does make entertaining to read his depictions of this world is how viscerally layered he’s endeavoured to create this world visually. He doesn’t just want to recreate and recant the events – he wants you to see, feel and live within this world as if you were Odin on this journey yourself. This makes it more interpersonal and in a way, a more gratifying read.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#EnterTheFantastic: Seeking out the fantastical elements –

→ Giants and other beings gifted with talents which we’d consider parapsychological in nature

→ A world which is in harmony with its natural acquiescence to magic

→ Symbolic metaphors and an honouring of legacy through visual memory as told through living histories of the past once known by someone now dead.

→ Reincarnated and/or resurrected spirits who have a short-term presence for a specific task

→ Familiars – in the form of birds

→ Light and Dark Elves

→ Dwarves who live where others couldn’t thrive as much as they do

You don’t have to look too hard to find where Searfoss has etched out a fantastical presence in the background of his story. You’re immediately greeted by it as soon as you start reading – layered into the different chapters of each Cycle are descriptive sequences wherein as you draw closer in your walk with Odin, the more fantastical this world becomes. Again, I didn’t read this as a novel of Horror but rather a novel of befitting the category of Introspective Speculative Fiction. Odin is a man who is self-determined to accomplish what he sets his mind round to doing. He doesn’t like being taught lessons nor of finding he is shortchanging his own knowledge; that is a key thorn in his side. He wants to devour all knowledge and gain footing ahead of his own peers if it means he can understand what they do not. He has a huge ego but more to the point, he’s quite arrogant. He chooses to believe he and he alone can ascertain this kind of knowledge and put it to proper use.

This is observed through his personal actions and the ways he seems indifferent listening to the stories of the seer. He doesn’t necessarily want to amend his ways but to find credence of justice in having someone confirm his power and reach.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This book review is courtesy of

the author Glenn Searfoss.

& part of my readings discovered during:

#Mythothon Year 2 banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Read how the #Mythothon2 journey began in September, 2019.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Sadly, due to health reasons I was never able to finish my readings of this book nor was I able to share my reviews I had slated to run during #Mythothon. I’ve included my readings of this story into my TBR for #WyrdAndWonder Year 3 instead. As this fits perfectly within the sub-interests I have in both Fantasy & Mythological Fiction.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This book review is part of my showcases during #WyrdAndWonder: Year 3:

#WyrdAndWonder 2020 event banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This is part of my showcases for a Fantasy event I am co-hosting during our 3rd Year of #WyrdAndWonder – follow us socially via @WyrdAndWonder – stalk our tag (across social media) and/or join us in a month long celebration of how the fantastical realms of Fantasy give you wicked JOY.

Ideas of how you can participate – an initial welcome post by my co-host Imyril as well as the first Quest Log (map into the book blogosphere for #WyrdAndWonder) and the first Roll Call Log by my co-host Lisa!

Read our Creative Roulette #WyrdAndWonder Interview!

Read through all my reviews & posts showcased during #WyrdAndWonder!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

{SOURCES: Book cover of “Cycles of Norse Mythology”, synopsis, author photograph of Glenn Searfoss and author biography were all provided by the author Glenn Searfoss and are used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #Mythothon Year 2 banner, #WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge, #WyrdAndWonder Year 3 banner; 7th Annual Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards badge (using Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo) and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

Divider

Posted Thursday, 28 May, 2020 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Review (non-blog tour), Content Note, Familiars, Fantasy Fiction, Folklore, Folklore and Mythology, Heroic Fantasy, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Norse Mythology, Supernatural Creatures & Beings, Supernatural Fiction




All posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary!
I try to visit your blog in return as I believe in ‘Bloggers Commenting Back
(which originated as a community via Readers Wonderland).


Comments are moderated. Once your comment is approved for the first time, your comments thereafter will be recognised and automatically approved. All comments are reviewed and continue to be moderated after automated approval. By using the comment form you are consenting with the storage and handling of your personal data by this website.

Once you use the comment form, if your comment receives a reply (this only applies to those who leave comments by email), there is a courtesy notification set to send you a reply ticket. It is at your discretion if you want to return to re-respond and/or to continue the conversation established. This is a courtesy for commenters to know when their comments have been replied by either the blog's owner or a visitor to the blog who wanted to add to the conversation. Your email address is hidden and never shared. Read my Privacy Policy.

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)