American Gods by Neil Gaiman

(No Series)

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same…

“Every hour wounds. The last one kills.”

This is one of the books I put off reviewing, there's a difficulty in wrapping up my enjoyment in mere words and not come across as sounding too flat. It's hard to cover a book effectively that dares to be so creative in its scope, because I know I won't cover everything. Hell, I know I didn't even get everything. It probably reveals more of itself with each reread.

Essentially a play on people's beliefs and how the strength in that can shape people, cultures and eventually societies. People sometimes let go of old gods and beliefs, either by not believing anymore and paying little attention, or else forgetting them completely. The other half just adopts new ones and recycles them out quickly and irreverently as new technologies merge. American Gods shows those that originally existed, to become strengthened by the people who worship them, and the new ones who were completely birthed because people wanted/needed them at the time. The book is that but oh-so-much more too.

See, already I'm rambling in this review...

It follows Shadow as a main character, a man freshly out of prison and a new widow. He runs into another man who clearly holds supernatural prowess but much mystery - should Shadow trust and follow Mr Wednesday so freely? As a man with little to lose and very little to gain, Shadow falls into a seemingly benign job that comes to have world-wide potential. Shadow makes a worthy main character to follow - he thinks for himself but he follows a little blindly, realizing that he doesn't have to get everything before he commits to each. Wednesday is epic and holds surprises, a favorite of mine. There are plenty of characters - supernaturally touched or not - and all are them are well created and useful in the story. Laura surprised me by being one of the best side characters.

Gaiman's writing style is smooth going and an easy addiction. His words flow into each well and he dishes out dialogue that's easy to hang on to. To say he's creative with his story structure and surprises is a little bit of an understatement. I had pre-guessed some of the revelations, but never all of them.

I get the bulk of the story, but there are small tendrils that confuse me. Such as this (only read if you've read the book) 


The book gets brownie points for this alone -
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

Overall it's an epic novel that should be experienced. I'm ignorant on mythology so some of this was over my head, but it was still creatively constructed, beautifully written, and rewarded my interest with fascinating twists.

This my second book of Gaimans. I really need to check out his Sandman series next.

   Book Quotes:

"I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

   Cover Gallery:


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