Monday, 27 August 2018

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Shadow is serving out the last days of his prison sentence when he learns that his wife, Laura, has died in a car accident. Upon his journey home he encounters the mysterious Mr Wednesday who offers him a job as a bodyguard.

"There's never been a true war that wasn't fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous."

Okay, so American Gods and I got off to a rough start. I enjoyed the first 50 pages or so, I was intrigued, excited to see what was coming next... and then for some reason, the following 150 pages started to bore me slightly and I felt a lot of confusion as to what the actual point of the story was. BUT THEN, BUT THEN!! It really picked up and I was sucked into this world that Gaiman had created. This is why I don't DNF books - I easily could have tossed this book to the side and missed out on an incredible book.

It's quite funny how my opinions changed throughout reading this one. Initially I wasn't a fan of the random interludes with stories about how the old gods came to America, mythology is not one of my favourite things to read about. However, by the half way mark these parts became a highlight for me and I found them fascinating. The concept of a war between the old gods and the new gods (like television, internet, technology) was a really unique one and once the ball really got rolling I was fully invested in the outcome. The old gods are under threat from the new, people don't believe in them anymore, they don't make sacrifices to them, so the old gods are fading away. They need to step up to the new gods before they become completely obsolete.

One of the disappointing parts for me was the main protagonist, Shadow - I liked him, but at the same time he was just a bit...bland. It felt like he was simply there to serve the purpose of the story and he was surrounded by many characters that were a lot more interesting and charismatic than he was - but perhaps that is point?

Some of the storylines felt a bit random and disjointed throughout the course of the novel, but as they met their climax towards the end, my mind was exploding all over the place! I fucking LOVED the last 100 pages or so. I was shook on more than one occasion. I'm actually really glad that my edition had an extra American Gods-related novella called The Monarch of the Glen, because I just wasn't ready to leave this semi-fantastical world that Gaiman has created.

I ended up loving this book but had to deduct a star for the rocky start!! 4 stars.


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