Release Date: March 28, 2017
In American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Shadow’s wife, Laura, is his driving motivation to stay on the straight and narrow when the day finally comes that he’s released from jail. When she’s killed in an accident shortly before his release, he’s left rudderless and accepts a job from a mysterious man named Mr. Wendesday. Soon he discovers a world that could not have been imagined of ambitious new gods versus weary ancient gods. As the storm brews, who will survive and who will win the battle of American gods.American Gods by Neil Gaiman works on the premise that European settlers brought their gods with them when they immigrated to the United States. Like Tinker Bell, these gods were powerful because people believed in them but as the immigrants became more immersed in American culture, their belief diminished and so the gods’ power did as well. The new gods were created by obsession and belief in technology, media, fame etc. Shadow soon discovers that his mysterious employer is actually Odin and that he’s traveling the country to try to rally the old gods to fight the emerging crop of deities.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a masterpiece. It’s a book that needs to be devoured in a few sittings because there are so many moving parts. This is not a book that you can put down and come back to a week later. Gaiman’s work is a masterclass in mythology and comparative religion. Readers transcend across a theological spectrum. Whatever anyone has ever believed in, exists and is out there. Ironically, it’s the death of a core character that spurs the old gods into action. I won’t spoil the story by telling you which one, but it is a surprising move and one that pays off in a big way in the movement of the plot line.
As one would expect, the characters are plentiful and not all mentioned are fully fleshed out but those that are, are wonderfully crafted as you would expect world-weary ancient deities and ambitious new gods to be. Anyone that follows Neil Gaiman or has read anything else he’s written will know that he is delightfully strange and that creativity, humor and talent would be described by some as weird but I’d describe it as brilliance. Each moment ties in from when Shadow’s wife dies to Shadow being chased by the Men in Black to the war beginning is written with purpose. Of course, American Gods is technically flawless. If there are any missteps, I failed to notice them.
Gaiman said that he sought advice from Terry Pratchett when writing American Gods and I love the idea of a small community of like-minded authors bouncing ideas off of each other. So often, I see emerging authors view others as the competition but in the same way that there’s something for everyone, there are audiences for multiple authors and joining forces can only make you stronger. The result is, in this fangirl’s opinion, is a book that everyone should read. I’ve yet to view the show currently airing on Amazon. If you have, let me know what you think.
Read an excerpt and buy American Gods by Neil Gaiman on