Odd's father is dead, his mother remarried to a boorish man and his leg crippled by a falling tree. Life in his viking village seems grim until he wanders into the woods and meets some talking animals who turn out to be Norse gods in disguise.
This cute little book was produced for world book day and joins the ranks of similar chapbooks by famous authors written specially for the event. World Book Day seems to be aimed primarily at children, to encourage them to read, and hence the books are very cheaply priced with coupons distributed at schools that can be redeemed against the cost of the book.
I am a fan of Neil Gaiman's writing (it still galls me that I missed his book signing in Dundalk) and enjoyed his last adult book, Anansai Boys, very much. Because this is aimed towards children, Odd and the Frost Gaints lacks the darker more sexual elements of Gaiman's work, but it still retains many of his trade mark features such as deceptively simple writing, gods and magical worlds colliding with the ordinary.
I liked this book very much. The mention of the Asgard made me think of Stargate, but that was not Neil's fault. Last year I purchased Garth Nix's edition for World Book Day, The Creature in the Case, a worthy addition to his world of the Abhorsen. Other famous authors, including Ireland's own Eoin Colfer, have contributed works to this worthy cause. I like the idea so much of these short stories in book form that I want to write my own version for World Book Day - well, my alternative version of it. World Book Day for the non famous (yet) struggling writers. I plan to launch it on 27th July 2008 and get as many writers involved as possible. So, if you are a struggling writer and you would like to publish a chapbook to encourage reading, drop me a line.