THOR'S WEDDING DAY
by Bruce Coville
Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Mythology provides the basis for numerous works of fantastic fiction. Bruce Coville turns his attention to Norse mythology for the background of Thor's Wedding Day, plundering what he calls the "...only truly funny myth..." for his source materials about Thor's wedding to the giant Thrym.
In this story, Coville explains that Thor's hammer, Mjollner, has been stolen by the giants. The only way to retrieve it is to meet Thrym's demands to marry the beautiful goddess Freya, Thor's next door neighbor. Freya, intelligently, does not wish to be married to a giant, particularly a dim-witted one such as Thrym and the gods of Asgard elect to send Thor, dressed as Freya, along with Loki and Thor's goat boy, the mortal Thialfi, to Jotunheim to pretend to marry Thrym and retrieve the hammer.
There are minor plot difficulties throughout the novel, but Coville's writing glosses over them and just as the reader realizes the problems, Coville explains their solutions, negating any perceived difficulties. Otherwise, the plot is pretty straight forward and flows well after the reader accepts the basic situation.
Thialfi is a likable character who serves Coville well as a point of view character. Unlike his depiction of Thor as a hot- and empty-headed god or Loki as a intelligent god who simply wants to watch trouble, Thialfi is an everyman character whose problems and views are more familiar to readers, particularly the nine year olds to whom the book is targetted.
Most myths are relatively simple and would not fill out a novel. Coville gets around this by looking beyond the standard myth of Thrym and introducing elements from the legend of Mjollner's creation. In addition, Thialfi comes from another myth entirely, although Coville introduces several elements from that myth throughout the course of the novel.
Thor's Wedding Day gets most of its humor from the situation of a the dim-witted Thor dressed in women's clothing, a situation which readers may also allow readers to draw a parallel between Thor and bullies they might know. Otherwise, the novel does not live up to Coville's claim that it is based on "the only truly funny myth [he] know[s]."
Coville's novel serves as a good introduction to mythology and legends, however, making the characters more realistic than the original myths and presenting the story in a manner with which the readers will be able to relate. The story is paced well and Coville despite including pieces from other myths, the novel doesn't feel padded.
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