Title: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Translator: Jackson Crawford
Date Started: May 8, 2017
Date Finished: July 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 75 days
Genre: Mythology, Poetry, Classic
Publication Date: March 5, 2015
Original Publication Date: Circa 1200
Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company
Compiled by an unknown author in Iceland around 1270, and based on sources dating back centuries earlier, the single main manuscript of The Elder Edda is one of the literary wonders of the medieval world and the greatest source of knowledge of Viking lore in existence. These mythological and heroic poems tell of gods and mortals from an ancient era: the giant-slaying Thor, the doomed Volsung family, the hell-ride of Brynhild and the cruelty of Alti the Hun. Eclectic, incomplete and fragmented, these verses nevertheless retain their stark beauty and their power to enthrall, opening a window on to the thoughts, beliefs and hopes of the Vikings and their world. Andy Orchard’s new translation faithfully conveys the spare, unadorned style of the original metre and language. The glossed text us accompanied by four additional poems, a chronology, further reading, an index of names, a note on pronunciation, and an introduction discussing the poems in detail, the history of The Elder Edda and its influence on writers from Tennyson to Tolkien.”
The Poetic Edda, compiled histories, stories, and legends of Scandinavia, is not what I would call a complete or even cohesive compendium, but rather cobbled together vignettes of the Vikings and north men from cold and brutal lands. Its influence is undeniable across eons and media: Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which in turn inspire J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and more modernly George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Square Enix’s famous franchise, most emphatically Final Fantasy VII, BioWare’s Dragon Age, and obviously Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, though all of these titles merely scratch the surface of how deep its inspiration goes.
<–The State of the Reader: 5/10/17 The State of the Reader: 5/24/17–>
A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list. Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy. I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case. If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me! I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.
Samples Read This Week
- Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner: Kept (RWTR) – This is a story in the tradition of Redwall, and initially wasn’t sure if I should think of the rats as anthropomorphic or as more like the rabbits of Watership Down, able to speak in their own language, but still quintessentially rabbits. Since this book opened with a chase, I couldn’t decide whether to imagine them running as rats do or running as humans do. I think they might have been running as rats, but they wear clothes and have a hidden city beneath Topside (the world of humanity). The story seems fascinating. A fascist dictator has taken over their city, terrorizing frightened citizens, but two brothers Vincent and Victor escaped forced impression in the Kill Army, and they eventually team up with another rebel to take back their city.
- The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.: Passed – I was quite excited for this, but the main character comes off as a chauvinistic ass in rooster form, and the writing isn’t my style.
- Talon by Julie Kagawa: Kept/Purchased (RWTR) – Dragons that can take human form, trying to keep out of the sight of St. George with rogue dragons in the world for unknown purpose. The story drops you right into the lives of twins (which are rare among dragon kind) as they try to adapt to live among humans.
- The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway: Kept (RWTR) – Another book that starts out perfectly. Sam has been dead for four days, but her boyfriend Ethan has figured out a way to call her back from the grave. The story opens with her clawing her way out of the dirt, but how Ethan did it is still unknown (though he does admit he had help), and Sam is more than just a revived human…she’s not a zombie, not a vampire, but some kind of weird halfway in between that has to feed of of humans to survive. I’m dying to know where this will take us 😉
- Robbed of Sleep by Mercedes Yardley: Passed – I don’t seem to have an affinity for short stories (unless they’re written by GRRM). There was a brief one page story that was okay, but the second longer one just didn’t do much for me even though I know it could’ve been interesting. Ah well.
- Radiance by Grace Draven: Kept/Purchase (RWTR) – HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. Omg, where do I even begin. Well, I knew I was going to purchase it not even a chapter in. So Ildiko is betrothed to marry Brishen, a Kai prince, a humanoid, but not human people. What the book did was brilliant. It not only showed the bride’s disgust, fear, and horror at marrying what she considers a monster, but it showed his point of view as well. To the Kai, humans are just as horrifying, and the way Brishen describes our eyes was just perfect. The Kai have no iris or pupil, just a blazing yellowy-white orb that’s light sensitive since they’re people of the night. To them our irises and pupils that contract with the light must be hella creepy, and it really made me think though I’ve obviously thought about eerie eyes before. Anyway, they wind up meeting by chance just before the wedding, though neither knows whom the other is, and it’s both hilarious and perfect. They both still find each other odd, but realize their personalities click, though it’s not until the end Brishen finds out her name. I bought this book immediately, and I can’t wait to read it. I may have to shuffle some of the order around.
- Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick: Kept – The premise of a world trapped in twilight is interesting. It reminds me of (the obvious) Twilight Princess and the Dark City, Treno in Final Fantasy IX. The main character has a fresh, crisp voice with obvious English inflection, and I’m curious about her strange malady.
- After the Woods by Kim Savage: Kept (RWTR) – What drew me to this was the insta-action it starts with, and the fact that the catalyst for the story occurs without it being said. Neither we nor the main character really know what happened, because she’s repressed the memory. I like that she uses snarky deflection (yes…I can like snarkiness, but it has to be for a purpose and not just for the sake of being snarky), because that’s something I can relate to (I am the deflection queen!).
- Ruined by Amy Tintera: Kept (RWTR) – If you’re looking for a book about hatred and vengeance for a worthy reason, look no further than Ruined. I love the double entendre involved in that titled, because the main character’s lost kingdom is literally called Ruina, and its people are called Ruined. I want to know why the two allied nations hate them so much, though I think it’s a simple reason of hating/fearing their power.
- The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: Kept – Recommended by my studious friend at The Ink Garden, the language in it reminds of the books I loved growing up. The beginning is a bit winding to the point, but I didn’t mind at all.
- The Guardian by Elizabetta Holcomb: Passed – I was teetering on a fine edge with this one. It didn’t really grab me, but it had really good reviews that praised the characters and the writing. I didn’t find the latter that compelling; there was a lot of telling instead of showing. It was only $0.99 on Kindle, which isn’t a lot to spend, but I just couldn’t see myself staying interested in it, so I ultimately decided to pass.
- Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams: Passed – It almost feels like blasphemy to pass on this, since it’s by the author of the illustrious and irreverent Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I think I may just not be in the mood for this kind of parody right now.
Books Purchased This Week: 6
Series Title: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Date Added: May 24, 2016
Date Purchased: May 12, 2017