My first impression of this book was "I thought it would be thicker".My final impression is "I wish it was thicker".I know it is impossible; author chose to focus on Ragnarok, not Norse or Germanic mythology in general. The long introduction of dramatis personae is merely so we would feel more connected to the characters that participate in the end of the world. But it's been a while since I've seen Norse mythology presented in a work of fiction without being bleached for kids, Christianised or otherwise shifted into black&white or black&grey spectrum. (I'm looking at you, Neil Gaiman.) So I wish the author tackled more myths, not just Ragnarok and parts relevant to prepare for it.The narrative might not be everyone's cup of tea. Byatt is no Tolkien and trying to affect the poetic style does not always work out well. I actually liked the view from the perspective of the child in wartime. Parallels weren't too much "in-your-face". And living through a war does shift one's perspective. My father swears a lot of books he read before it held a new meaning when re-read after it.I disliked the final part, "Thoughts on Myths". It reminded me why I like skipping or skimming through introduction, afterword and other discussions of authorial intent. It started out well enough, mentioning some references I intend to look into, but then it shifted into preaching. Was it really necessary? The only purpose I see for it is upping the very low word count.Still, even with flaws, the main part is good enough for me to love this book to the point it gets five stars. I can't guarantee it will be that enjoyable for everyone else.