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Thursday, July 10, 2008

American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Read for the Mythopeoic Awards and TBR 2008 Reading Challenges.

Having recently read Anansi Boys, and having been forewarned that while the two books are set in the same world (and at least one overlapping character), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with American Gods. I did know that Gaiman’s never done me wrong before, and he’s maintained that record.

I liked this book. It’s as dark and epic as Anansi Boys is fun and family focused (that doesn’t exactly capture what I’m trying to say, but it’s close). The story centers around a man named Shadow, who’s just about to get out of jail when the story begins. He’s seemingly randomly hired by a man named Mr. Wednesday when he gets out of jail, but it turns out that pretty much nothing that ever happens to Shadow is random.

I really liked the portrayal of the various gods in the story. It actually made a lot of sense that the old gods are slowly dying away as their worshippers dwindle, and are forced to schlep through life more or less like the rest of us. Most of the time.

I definitely had some ideas about Shadow’s fate as the story went along, I can say that I was partially right, but I was actually fairly surprised by a couple aspects of the end of the story, and I love when I can be surprised like that.

I now need to dig out our copy of Fragile Things and read through the story in that book set in this universe. Thoroughly enjoyable book, and I’d definitely read more if Gaiman decided to cover the lives of any of the other gods.

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