Morning folks. It has been a long weekend, but I felt it was the right time for another book review!
No matter how exciting you find the Waterstones or Barnes & Nobles of this world, you should always hunt for great deals on books. Especially if you are like me, who due to the ever increasing amount of literary material feels too time pressured to go back and reread. This book I managed to find for a bargain in my local The Works, and having read Gaiman’s Good Omens collaboration with Terry Pratchett a few years ago (one of my all-time faves) I kind of knew this would be a cracker. Plus I had heard good things about the Amazon Prime series based on the book and thought I should check it out.
American Gods follows the bizarre life of ‘Shadow’, a man whose real name is considered irrelevant from the entire story. Shadow is a recently released one-time criminal, still dealing with the death of his beloved wife. Gripping stuff thus far. Somehow, on his journey back home Shadow encounters ‘Wednesday’, a grizzled old guy who convinces him to work as a driver and bodyguard. By using a bar fight with a leprechaun. Confused yet? Basically this book takes the concept of gods as something that comes into being through belief and applies this to the Untied States, a godless place by all accounts.
I really loved this book. It has everything I need – dry wit, a voyage into the fantasy genre and an ability to use past learned knowledge (stuff I learnt about the ‘Voodoo Queen’ Marie Laveau in New Orleans). Admittedly it did take me a little while to get through this book, but on my defence it is 600 pages long. Which was actually the perfect amount. I was not a fan of the short story, ‘Monarch of the Glen’, that was included though – that felt a little rushed. It had good potential, I could see how it could be expanded upon in the TV series, but it was missing something. I thoroughly enjoyed the sort of “origins” bits in the story itself – providing context for different gods and their situations in America.
I have already recommended this book to several people so I am ahead on that point. But, I feel I need to add a little encouragement. I know a lot of people who just do not get the whole fantasy genre. They can make the leap for Harry Potter, but other than that their interests are limited. I propose that this book makes a great starter book for newbies to the sci-fi/fantasy novel. Through its setting in the present day (well, late nineties) it adds a certain realism to the story. Plus the mix of gods from all over the world and different time periods make excellent reading. Enjoy!
As you may have seen before on the old blog, I am a big fan of Terry