Giants of the Frost

In Book Reviews on October 23, 2013 at 6:00 am
Giants of the Frost

Gollancz 2005

Memories streamed through him: blood and fire and the helpless shrieks of mortal suffering. “There is no love, Vidar,” his father had said. “There is only fate.” Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful book! So far, I’ve only read two books that are based on or have Norse mythology incorporated into them and I’ve adored them both. The thing that has always intrigued me about any type of mythology is that not everyone gets a happy ending. I’d like to take a moment to say that I’m not against happy endings because, let’s face it, sometimes we need them. Sometimes I like reading stories where everyone lives happily ever after except for the villain who has gotten his comeuppance in a very satisfying way. But most of the time I’m a sucker for a tragic character. And boy, there are some tragic characters in this book. Nutshell blurb: Vidar, the son of Odin, has been waiting a thousand years for the soul of his beloved to be reincarnated. Unfortunately, he has some daddy issues. Odin was the one who murdered her and would do so again if he found out that she had been reborn and that Vidar was anywhere near her. This is a love story or perhaps a story about how powerful love is. ‘Wait, Buffy,’ you might be saying. ‘I thought you didn’t like romantic stories.’ In which case I would have to clarify my definitions of love vs romance stories. In my mind (and it could be different for you) a romance story focuses on the two star-crossed characters. There’s a lot of will they, won’t they even though you totally know that they will. There’s also a lot of sexy-time and something like 50 different words for a man’s winkle. For me, a love story is part of a larger story and doesn’t hinge on whether the two people get together. There might be some out and out sexy-time or it might be implied but it’s part of a larger story. Perhaps that’s a bit simplistic, but that’s how it works in my brain. So, let’s start with Vidar. Could you imagine a man patient enough to wait 1000 years for you to be reincarnated? He’s angry and disillusioned by his family, particularly his father and just wants to spend a lifetime with the love of his life, which isn’t really a long time considering that he’s from Asgard and she’s a mortal from Midgard. So, what’s the problem, Odin? The problem is that his entire family think that he’s weak because he was an exceptional warrior who fell in love and decided not to kill people any more. They’re the worst type of meddling family members. Vidar decides to go off into the forest and live in a cabin away from all of them just to get some peace and quiet from them. The thing that’s so tragic about him is that he knows deep in his heart that even though she’s been reincarnated they can never be together yet they both try to escape their fate. Fan-girl interlude: I’d like to take this moment to say that if you love the Chris Hemsworth version of Thor from the movies (as I do because he’s super dreamy) you’ll have to try to not imagine him as the Thor in this book. Because this Thor is kind of a douchebag. And by ‘kind of’ I mean ‘seriously, really and a lot of’. Now, please keep in mind that I haven’t actually read any Norse mythology as of yet so I don’t know what Thor is actually meant to be like, so don’t you go ruining it for me. I try not to fan-girl too much so indulge me, k? Thanks.

Sweet god of thunder… You’ll always be the real Thor to me.

*Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh* Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, tragic characters. Next up we’ve got Victoria the reincarnated lover. She’s a meteorologist doing research on Othinsey aka Odin’s Island. She’s got a lot of first world problems. She views her mom as a bit of an nutcase who consults psychics and she frequently becomes frustrated with her because Victoria’s a scientist who doesn’t believe in superstition and other such things. She can’t hold down a decent relationship and has gone to this Norwegian island in an effort to avoid relationships, yet she finds that she’s the object of attraction/affection to a couple of people on the island. She just wants to be left alone. Then she meets Vidar and had to rethink everything that she believed. I think that my favourite tragic character is Aud. She’s a princess who is a bondmaid to the Aesir because she made a deal with the Norns who weave the fates of everyone. She must serve the Aesir for 1000 years. During her servitude, she falls in love with Vidar who obviously can’t love her because he’s in love with Victoria. I liked her the most because she wasn’t bitchy or spiteful about her situation even though she couldn’t have her way. She struggled through the entire book and it just seemed like she couldn’t catch a break. I really felt for her and felt like I could relate to her. She wasn’t perfect and she made some bad decisions but she accepted that she had to serve her 1000 years and just got on with it. My one criticism of this story is that I felt that the ending was rushed. Or maybe I was rushed when I read it. You see, I usually leave books at home when I have 100 pages or less to read because the last 100 pages or so is when it all hits the fan and I don’t want to be interrupted by things like getting off of trains and having to start work. I was so close to the end and I thought that I could finish it on the train. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much sleep the night before and I kept dozing off during my commute. I got off of the train with something like 15 pages left to read. I should have sat down on a bench at the station and finished it, but I didn’t. (Don’t worry, it wouldn’t have made me late for work. I got there pretty early.) I ended up finishing it during my lunch hour which meant that I picked it up in the middle of an action scene. First world problems, my friends. Anyway, this is a book I’ll reread one day and then I’ll get a better sense of whether or not the ending was rushed or if it was just me. I think that this book would have made me cry if I hadn’t been interrupted. It certainly took my breath away.

  1. With your love of Hemsworth!Thor, you definitely should read some of the Norse myths. Like the one where Thor and Loki dress up as a bride and bridesmaid to go ‘marry’ a frost giant to get Mjolnir back…

  2. Why is it that every time I read one of your posts, I stop after the nutshell blurb? 😉 I so want to read this book and don’t want to spoil it by reading the remainder of your review. I have become strangely fascinated with the mystical qualities of the Norse life. On my list of books to read in the near future! Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

    • I try not to do spoilers though. I made sure that any plot points I mentioned are on the back of the book. I really hate spoilers so I try not to do them. But if it makes you more comfortable, Come back once you’ve read the book. I’d love to know what your thoughts are about it. 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of Norse mythology before and your review of this book certainly got me intrigued! A quick check at Wiki only fuels the curiosity; I’m reminded of Greek mythology with their many interesting deities and heroes. Thanks for yet another fascinating book review.

    Also, I’ve yet to see Thor or any Chris Hemsworth movie. He’s very handsome indeed and I’ve heard his nicely deep voice. But I’ve seen photos of him shirtless and he’s one of those ‘hairless wonders’. I prefer ‘my men’ with hairy torsos, with certain exceptions like Vin Diesel for example. But I should reserve judgement until I finally see him in a movie; I’d probably just drool and quickly add him to that list of ‘exceptions’ haha!

    • You must watch Thor immediately! I’m usually more attracted to men who are dark-haired and slender (like my husband) so Chris is on my exception list. He’s delicious. Go watch it and let me know what you think.

      I definitely want to read up on Norse mythology because it seems as fascinating as Greek or Roman. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. Sold! I was wary because… why was Victoria the reincarnation? It struck me as weird… but you make it sound much more enticing. 🙂

    • I don’t think we ever find out why it’s her specifically. It would have been even more interesting if she had been reincarnated as someone he didn’t find attractive. Lucky for him that he liked what he saw. 🙂

      • And suddenly this horror-fantasy is a comedy. O lord. It might be cheesy though: ‘despite her exterior, she was my love, and i loved her’ or some such. HAHAHAHA. I want to read this version of the book – more’s the pity.

        I think I owe you an email.

      • Actually, ‘Tis I who owes you an email. I keep track of these things even though I’m rubbish at replying in a timely manner. I shall reply forthwith.

        Also, I would love to read a story like that! Might make for a great writing exercise. 😀

      • Yes, I think you do, now. 😉 I’ll keep the writing exercise in my mind.

  5. I’m always a fan of a good cover and I think that cover’s great. I don’t know how much I want to read a love story, but with some Norse mythology tied in maybe I could make an exception haha.

    • You should give it a try and see what you think. It’s not a sappy love story. (Because I don’t really like sentimentality. Or sappiness.) It’s very heavy on the mythology which is what appealed to me. But the core idea is that two people are in love and they want to be together, so that’s why I called it a love story. There is a lot of other interesting stuff that happens. If you do decide to read it, please let me know what you think.

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