Lavish use of black and silver ink, plus Riddell’s larger-than-life figures, adds swash aplenty to this new edition of Gaiman’s 2009 spin on a Norse myth, originally illustrated by Brett Helquist.
The whimsical story remains as it was: a crushed leg banishes half-Scottish Odd from his Viking village but proves no handicap to freeing Asgard from an aggrieved Frost Giant’s siege and enchantments. Posed at start and finish in a flowing cape with a thin braid hanging stylishly past one ear, the white lad cuts an intrepid figure in the pictures amid sundry gods transformed into animals, lissome maidens and goddesses, huge and hairy giants with truly heroic schnozzes, and magnificent Nordic battlements. These are all rendered in pen and ink with microscopic precision and are generally placed within broad, shiny, decorated borders. As far as the text is concerned, there is nothing to choose between this and the earlier edition. Still, Riddell fans, Gaiman completists, and general readers fond of the similarly formatted The Sleeper and the Spindle (2015) will pick it up.
A rare tale that values brains over brawn—light, bright, and handsomely tricked out. (Fantasy. 8 & up)