A full cast of voices engages the listener in this funny, suspenseful adventure of the god Thor and his companions. Stable boy Thialfi tells the tale of Thor's desperate attempt to retrieve his stolen hammer and save Asgard, home of the Norse gods, from the giants. The heroes find themselves in many embarrassing and dangerous situations, which are solved by their quick wits and persistence. The multiple narrators delight the listener with their portrayals of gods, goddesses, mortals, and goats, among many other interesting characters. The portrayal of Thialfi, the narrator, contains misplaced emphasis and pauses, but this distraction is overshadowed by the skill and enthusiasm of the other narrators.
We first listened to this story when my son was 6: he's now 8, has listened to it countless times, and still loves it. The cast is wonderful, and the story is very well told. A perfect balance of being true to the myth and adding creative details. We love the characters of the goats, especially. The fact that it is narrated (beautifully!) by a child makes this ancient story accessible and fun.
This story will appeal most to the 6-12 year old range (more the older end of this) My kids loved it, especially the 10yo boy. Even my younger girls thought it interesting enough to repeat often.
Based on the old Norse legend, the story is well written and fascinating. Enough to keep parents listening on a long journey too.
Sadly, this version is let down by some excruciating pronunciation and a harshly accented reader. Still, it rates 4 stars despite this.
Being a lover of Norse myths (and having been a fanatical Bruce Coville follower as a child), I was thrilled to see this book and bought it on the spot. Between the author and source, I knew I was in for a great source. I was not disappointed. Coville obviously knows his legends, and sprinkled through out are references not only to the myth at hand (although that one is hilarious enough), but to other stories. There is a nod to Baldur, references to Heimdal's guardianship of the Rainbow Bridge, the creation of Mjolnir, and Thialfe's unfortunate introduction to his stint as a servent of the gods. The story is well written, the characters played well and written beautifully in character, and the plot is as tight as a drum.
My only qualm in this story was the voiceacting. This may be a personal choice, but all in all, I get distracted heavily when an audiobook contains voice acting done other than by the narrator. Also, the disguised voices seemed to be overdone, almost melodramatic, and while I know it was being played up for laughs, it continued the sense of disconnection. But all in all, I think my money here was well spent. I definitely hope that Coville continues this series; I, for one, would love to read about the further adventures of Thialfe, Goatboy.
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