On an unrelated note, I’m now passing my goal of 26 books reviewed this year. Go me 🙂
American Gods has been on my list for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Neil Gaiman knows how to write.
The basic premise isn’t too complicated: Shadow is released from prison just as his wife dies in a cars crash. He meets the mysterious Wednesday who offers him a job. He finds out his best friend Robbie who was giving him a job also died in the car crash. At Laura’s funeral, he finds out that she had been sleeping with Robbie. He takes the job with Wednesday, and things get strange. Shadow meets a lot of Wednesday’s acquaintances as they travel, and Shadow gets the feeling these guys (and a few ladies) are a lot more than just mysterious, strange people. He finds out that Laura in some kind of spirit form can talk to him.
By the end, there is the beginning of a battle between traditional deities from a variety of cultures, like Bast, Anansi, and Loki, and the gods of the modern world, including Media and technology (there’s a specific character I have in mind referred mostly as ‘the fat kid’ but I either missed or couldn’t figure out his exact identity). There’s 2 reveals in the end, only one of which I saw coming, concerning further connections or identities.
This book is typical of Gaiman in that it’s dense but really well-written, there’s a lot of allusions to other literature and cultures, and some things I’m never going to figure out. This is not one of Gaiman’s entertaining works; it’s definitely on the serious, darker side. I have to admit, I liked Anansi Boys better because it had some lighter moments and I could figure out who most everyone was. Even though we get an alternative name associated with Czernobog, I’m still not totally sure who/what he is, and I don’t see the point of Bilquis other than she’s one of the first deity casualties.
This is one of those books that you have to like literature and mythology to understand and to like. I liked it, but there are things I know I missed, and that’s going to bug me a little. I liked trying to figure out who everyone was once the general set up was there (some of the reveals were total ‘I should have seen that coming’ and ‘well-played sir’), but I should have known there would be surprises and things over my head. Again, typical Gaiman.