Mythic Seas of Adventure Northern Voyages
Rick Riordan's series about Percy Jackson & the Olympians is an exciting mix of fantasy fiction and classical mythology. If you enjoy books like these, here’s a few more that you might like. Unlike the many stories that the Greeks and the Romans told about their gods and the creation of the world, there are only two sources for our knowledge about the mythology of the Norse, also known as the Northmen or Vikings. In the middle ages scholars from Denmark discovered two collections of myths in Iceland. One, called the elder or poetic Edda contained poems about the Norse gods, the creation of the world, and its destruction along with the death of the gods in a final battle called Rangnarok, and the new world that came afterwards. The younger or prose Edda is a retelling of the stories in prose by Snorri Sturluson in the early 13th century.
Here are the first books in a series of fantasy adventures with roots deep in these myths:
The Sea of Trolls / by Nancy Farmer
Jack thought life was looking up, he’d been apprenticed to a bard, and taken away from the tedium of rounding up sheep, but then their Saxon village is raided by the Viking berserkers of Olaf One-Brow and he and his little sister are taken as slaves. But a seemingly hopeless plight turns into a grand quest deep into the territory of trolls.
The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again / by J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a well-to-do and very comfortable hobbit who loves peace, quiet, and good things to eat. So he’s most upset when the wizard Gandalf shows up at his door looking for someone to share in an adventure that he’s arranging. “Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you,” is Bilbo’s reply. But wizards are not put off that easily, and the next day Bilbo finds thirteen dwarves unexpectedly arriving for tea. And after tea they settle down to plan how to steal back a hoard of treasure from a dragon, or, more precisely, how Bilbo will burgle it for them.
And here’s a tidbit of information to impress your friends and relations: the name Gandalf, and all the names of the thirteen dwarfs in the book were all taken by Professor Tolkien directly from the first poem in the Poetic Edda.
And you might also like to try some modern versions of the original myths:
Favorite Norse Myths / retold by Mary Pope Osborne ; illustrated by Troy Howell
This is a beautifully illustrated retelling of tales from the medieval Icelandic sources of Norse mythology. Osborne has chosen lively stories of the gods, giants, and monsters, to tell the mythic history of the nine worlds of myth from creation to Rangnarok, their destruction during the final battle between the Viking gods and their enemies. Likewise, Howell has taken inspiration from images carved by the marauding Norsemen, and transformed them into full and double page color paintings.
Odin's Family: Myths of the Vikings / retold by Neil Philip; illustrated by Maryclare Foa
Five of the days of the week in English are named after Norse gods. Philip turns their stories, derived from the medieval Icelandic Eddas, into a seamless narrative from creation of the world to the death of the gods and the end of their world. These bold tales are appropriately accompanied by bold and bright paintings by Inuit illustrator, Foa.