I went into this book with sky high expectations and I liked it, but wish my expectations had been toned down before I gave it a go. I’ve never read any Neil Gaiman before, but knew of his work and his status as a cult author. I was recommended American Gods by a friend, and know a few people who ‘completely love it’. Still, it’s been sat waiting for me to start it, on my kindle, for more than a few years. I finally got around to it because I keep seeing trailers to the new TV series popping up on Facebook and twitter, and I needed to read it before this spoilered the book too much. Looks great btw… will definitely be watching 🙂
We meet Shadow as a convict waiting to be released after a three year prison sentence. He’s kept his head down in prison and just can’t wait to go back to his life with his adored wife, Laura. He is let out unexpectedly early (during his final week). Unfortunately this is because Laura has died in a car accident. On his way home he is badgered and persuaded into taking a job with a strange, tricksy man who turns out the be the American embodiment of the Norse god Odin, called Wednesday in our story. Shadow is pulled into this world where gods exist amongst people and their health depends on how much the people in that country worship them. Times aren’t great for the old gods, but new gods, those of fast food and television, are strong. Wednesday is trying to rally the old gods to fight a war against the new ones.
What follows is a glimpse into the lives of many of these gods; a road trip around the fantastic road side attractions of middle america; a visit to some small towns; mysteries that must be solved; deals and cons and magic coin tricks; visits to other worlds; oh, and his dead wife lending a helping hand every now and then. I’ve not even started to scratch the surface here with the plot. It’s expansive. But then there are over 600 pages in which the story is told.
I did really enjoy this book and I would recommend squeezing it in before the TV series starts. It has a great mix of many levels of story. There’s enough to keep you interested over the 600+ pages. There’s so much that when some threads are tied up at the end, I’d forgotten they were a thread that needed tidying up. I was glad to be given that jolt of ‘oh yes! That happened, didn’t it!’. There’s a satisfying end point, and yet you feel like the whole story might not quite be done with.
I lived in Chicago for several, wonderful years in my early to mid 20s. I took many road trips to different places. Saw so many places that reminded me of the locations in American Gods. In honour of America and it’s gods that are worshipped, here is me at Graceland (12 years ago. eek!) 🙂
Thank you very much.