American Gods

Title: American Gods Author: Neil Gaiman
Pages: 635 Genre: Fantasy
Recommended: I don’t know that I would recommend this book. I suppose if you like Neil Gaiman, then read this book.
Song: Storm’s Comin’” Myketti Williamson. A storm is coming…and the Gods didn’t make it.

It’s hard to rate this book and even harder to review it succinctly. Sticking with the nearly 20 hour narration was almost painful. Then I compiled my notes and they just kept going and going. Yeah, it was boring and pointless as hell, but there is something about “American Gods” that will stick with me.

Alka-Seltzer Plot

To date, every Gaiman book I’ve read has behaved a lot like akbegun with a bang and fizzled out. It’s like alka-seltzer: it may hit your bloodstream faster, but it’s very anti-climactic. After about 30% the plot felt like bad-pizza-and-Nyquil dreams.

As Loki says, “The outcome of the battle is not important. What matters in chaos.”

What is American?

Gaiman addresses this question in the afterward. The author himself is British, but is married to an American and has lived in the U.S. long enough to partially lose his accent. He clarifies that his is less a depiction of America, and more of his own American fantasy.

Yet he hits on some very American traits. The conglomeration of Gods is exactly what America prides itself on being: a melting pot. In “American Gods” we meet Gods of the Norse, Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Native American varieties. We even get a genie and Elvis. Gaiman wrote one part with Jesus Christ, but it never made it to the final text.

Another American element is the story of the journey. Taking a road trip is one of the most American things you can do. Main character Shadow spends a lot of time on the road or in rural Wisconsin. For a book titled about Gods, it’s about the main character’s journey through their world.

Just Go With It

Every Gaian book I’ve read has a main character with a non-magical background. Every single one of them is exposed to the extra-ordinary, and never questions it. Shadow is no exception. He gets out of prison and is immediately ushered into this supernatural world. He just goes with it. His lack of surprise is only outdone by his lack of personality. As his deceased wife says, “You’re not dead, but you’re not really alive either”.

Audiobook

I listened to the full-cast recording, which was amazing. You really can’t go wrong with these! This one is well-produced and casted.

Over-Sexed

Gaiman’s sex scenes have a fever dram quality to them. In fact, it was just one of those scenes that terrified me enough that I put it down for about 10 years.

“American Gods” is a winner in the original idea department, but it just couldn’t keep my attention. I’m interested to see what Starz does with the TV show.

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