Thursday, November 8, 2012

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman, published 2001, 632 pg.
Rating: 5/5 Stars

I'm not going to beat around the bush. I love Neil Gaiman. He creates fantasies that are completely bizarre and engaging. The scenarios in his books are so well constructed that you can only marvel at his creative ability. American Gods is certainly no exception.

It's been there years since Shadow was thrown in jail when he find out he's getting released early after his wife was killed in a car crash.

On his way home for her funeral, he meets a man named Wednesday. Wednesday seems to know an awful lot about him and asks for Shadow's services as a man-of-all-work. When Shadow reluctantly agrees, he is quickly drawn into a world where the gods of mythology are very much alive.

A war is brewing between the old gods, who were brought to America by those who settled the land, and the new gods of technology. Shadow must decide which side he's on and if it's a war that is really worth fighting.

I have never read anything that I could confidently compare to Gaiman's work. He writes such a singular type of fantasy that I'm convinced it would be impossible for someone else to replicate. His novels are equal part fantasy and humor with some occasional horror and a hefty dash of action.

American Gods has all of these qualities, along with an extremely interesting commentary on American culture. We are a country that worships screens -- computer screens, television screens, the screens of our phones. We rely on technology to get through daily life, and this book raises interesting questions about where we place our values.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, mythology, or American culture. It has an incredible mixture of all three.

Have you read American Gods? What did you think of it? Or are you a fan of fantasy with a suggestion for what I should review next? Let me know in the comments!

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