Author: Neil Gaiman
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Series: American Gods #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy|Mythology
Length: 722 pages
Published: June 19th 2001
Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them, a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, American Gods takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what – and who – it finds there…
I had a big dilemma after finishing this book, giving it three or four stars on Goodreads, because they don’t have half a star!!
The book gave me a general feeling of a “good” book that I would recommend. I wouldn’t know to say exactly where that sensation came from, it was like the Sims 3 when after your Sim sees a movie they get a little bonus that says “saw a great movie” but you don’t even know what the movie was called. Because of this, what I call the Sims effect, I couldn’t give him four stars, because the flow of the action was slow, I felt that more I waited for something to happen than I assisted to the actual action. However, every move was calculated and connected, and at the right moment, you have a revelation, and it’s amazing how subtle it all comes together.
As slow as the book’s action is, it manages not to be dull and the occasional twists and revelations have made me want to finish the book. And without giving out spoilers, it was worth it. The outcome of the story is one of the most surprising I have encountered lately and has managed to remain a surprise until the very last moment, even for me which I have the bad habit of catching up to what’s coming (not to brag)!
Shadow is originally a flat character, easily manipulated, but it is easy to love. Through his attitude towards everything that happens to him and towards all the gods he meets he is each of us, demonstrating once again that if the supernatural existed people would simply find logical explanations to explain the magic.
The deities are very well contoured and complex. I, a mythology lover, adored the way they are presented, their transmutation into everyday life and the subtle symbolism, I spend half the time reading at the same time Wikipedia in search of the original legends of all the gods I have not yet known.
So after I gave three stars to this book I had remorse and I went back and added another one there because Neil Gaiman is a master and there was a pun, in particular, that got me. I would have liked the action to move faster, but the naturalness with which it is written, the realism so difficult to accomplish in a book about gods living in the 21st century America, and the way they merge into the everyday landscape, make American Gods a book worth reading!