I only became aware of Neil Gaiman about a year ago because a fellow graduate assistant used an excerpt from one of his books on a handout she gave out to her students. The excerpt was wonderful, but I didn’t think too much about it.
Until my friend started talking about “American Gods.” She talked about how wonderful it was and mentioned that she was starting the show on STARZ. If you’ve read my book reviews at all before, you know how I am about reading something before watching it, so I picked up the book.
And—spoiler alert—I really enjoyed it.
The protagonist in “American Gods” is named Shadow; at least, that’s what we know him by. Shadow is about to get out of jail, and he is extremely excited to see his wife. Then he’s released a few days early because his wife is killed in a car accident.
With no idea about what to do or really where to go, Shadow boards a flight home. And runs into a man who calls himself Wednesday. Wednesday offers him a job as a bodyguard. At first, Shadow refuses and gets off the plane at the next stop and heads to a bar.
Shadow gets a little freaked out when he heads to the bathroom and Wednesday is using the urinal next to him. Through a twisted chain of events, Shadow ends up taking Wednesday offers, and then the fun begins.
Wednesday is gathering the old gods, like Kali and Bast, to help him fight the new gods, like Media and Technology. With people forgetting about the old gods, they are on the verge of extinction. “American Gods” follows Wednesday and Shadow as they recruit the old gods and the war begins.
I was a little disappointed in myself for not figuring out the twist and who some of the characters were, but I guess that makes the book more interesting. I was just way too wrapped up in the story to focus on trying to figure out any twists.
Gaiman’s writing puts me in the mind of Stephen King or Richard Kadrey (who if you haven’t checked out, you totally should). He’s crass and a little vulgar at times, but he has an ability to set a scene so that his readers really feel like they’re there.
Overall, if you’re into fantasy or Stephen King, you would really enjoy “American Gods,” and don’t try to figure out the twist—it makes it better.