American Gods by Neil Gaiman
After serving a three year prison term, Shadow is eager for the day he will be released. He spends his last days as an inmate eager to get back to his life, his job and most of all, his wife, Laura. However…days before he is set to be released, Shadow is notified that his wife and his best friend are both killed in a car accident. Shadow suddenly finds himself with nothing….no job (his best friend was to be his employer), no future, no plan and no wife.
On the airplane ride home, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday…a strange and mysterious man who seems to know an awful lot about Shadow and his life. Eventually, Shadow accepts a job as Wednesday’s body guard and errand boy and soon discovers just how both strange and dangerous that job will become.
“You work for me. You protect me. You help me. You transport me from place to place. You investigate, from time to time – go places and ask questions for me. You run errands. In an emergency, but only in an emergency, you will hurt people who need to be hurt. In the unlikely event of my death, you will hold my vigil.”
Shadow isn’t quite sure what Wednesday needs him for and what he’s supposed to do, but along the way he finds that things aren’t always what they seem. Dreams, legends, myths and gods are at the brink of a major war and Shadow will soon find out just how much he is involved and how those beings still effect life as we know it.
This book was recommended to me by my friend, Laura, and it took me a little bit to decide to finally pick it up…but I’m glad that I did! This is a very unique and awesome story. First and foremost…Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer. His ability to build a world with his words that make you feel as if you are in the thick of the action, watching everything happen around you is astounding. It’s a strange story that has a lot of smaller sub-stories that do converge in the end…but it can be quite confusing at first. For the first 100 pages or so, I wasn’t sure I was actually comprehending what was supposed to be happening, but I read multiple reviews that suggested to keep with it and so I did.
This is a fantasy novel that focuses around old school myths, legends, beliefs and gods. The pace of the action changes throughout the book and there were a few points where I felt the story took a major slow turn, but then there were points in the book where I didn’t want to put it down. American Gods is a book that I will be very selective about who I recommend it to. I can see where it would definitely not work for some readers. The beauty in this work, for me, centers around Gaiman’s fantastic writing and world building as well as the uniqueness of the storyline & characters. There are times in the book where it seems like nothing is happening and it’s LONG (I still feel like it could have done just as well with about 100 less pages)… so if you shy away from dream-like fantasy stories and you need a definite gripping plot line, this might now work for you. BUT….if you enjoy mythology, fantasy story lines, and beautifully descriptive writing….check this one out!
I’m a new fan of Neil Gaiman after reading American Gods and I will, for sure, be getting other books of his soon!
My Rating: 4/5 Stars