After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, then the minutes, then the seconds until his release tick away, he can feel a storm building. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in apparently adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr. Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But they are being pursued by someone with whom Shadow must make his peace... Disturbing, gripping and profoundly strange, Neil Gaiman's epic new novel sees him on the road to finding the soul of America.
This was my first taste of Neil Gaiman's writing. I bought it about 6 years ago, read it, loved it and lent it to a friend, who just recently gave it back to me. I wanted to reread it. I remember loving it and recommending it to people but I could only really remember one scene of it. So, I wanted to see if I still loved it and remind myself what it was that I loved so much.
I have written a review on another of Gaiman's books Neverwhere and gushed about his writing. I stick with that sentiment. He knows how to draw you in and never let you go. His descriptions are fascinating and, at times, beautiful. I can't get enough of it.
On to the story itself. It is a mesmerizing story of gods, old and new, and a man named Shadow, who is a bit lost in life, down on his luck and gets sucked into this world where he fits in more than he could ever have imagined.
I think it is a good thing I gave this book another read through. There is so much going on in the plot that I don't think I could have possibly taken in all of it. There are so many different gods to keep up with, symbolism to absorb and, once again I will say, the wonderful writing (I'm done now, I promise). I loved the mythology. I have always been interested in it. The way Gaiman presents it, though, is so intriguing, introducing you to all these gods in flashback and showing the different cultures they come from. Shadow is so likable, too. he gets frustrating at times but he is just a big lug you can't help but love.
The story gets dark and creepy at times and there are quite a few NC17 scenes (maybe even R) but that just adds to allure of the book. It gives you so much to think about, too. Society and it's values are put into question. Have we really stopped believing in gods of our ancestors and started worshiping, instead, modern technology and science? That may be an easy question to answer now, but read the book and learn more. It is truly thought provoking.
The only reason I didn't give this a full 5 stars is because it gets a bit long winded in parts. Really, though, this is a great read.
4.5 out of 5 stars
GET IT HERE:American Gods: A Novel