Gaiman skillfully retells and arranges numerous Norse myths here into a cohesive novelistic arc, bringing aspects of the modern novel (character development, worldbuilding, linear plotting, cohesive thematics) to very ancient, very disparate folklore.
Gaiman makes it feel natural, well-integrated, compelling, so much so that it seems an obvious direction after-the-fact, but Gaiman was the one to buckle down and do it, and he does it with the deft touch of an accomplished storyteller.
The episodic structure makes the book very easy and quick to read. It never feels stuffy or overwrought, and Gaiman brings out both humour and majesty where appropriate. Some of the dialogue feels a touch too anachronistically modern, clashing a tad with how well Gaiman preserved other aspects of the ancient myths, but that will come down to one’s personal taste for such dialogue.
It’s a great storyteller bringing out the best of some stories so compelling they’ve withstood centuries. Not all the modern touches work, but the primary one, crafting a linear novel-length arc around disparate mythology, is very successful. I give it four ravens, and a pair of goats.