American Gods

American Gods - Neil Gaiman This is a big book with a lot going on. This book has received many awards ranging in category from horror (The Bram Stoker Award) to Sci-Fi (Nebula) and through to the World Fantasy Awards. That in itself is a fine example of the various genres this book encompasses, so I don’t even know how to begin to summarize it in a few sentences for a review.

It starts off as a simple story of our hero, Shadow, waiting for his release from prison at the end of the week. He is looking forward to seeing his wife and starting his real life again but cannot shake the feeling that there “was a storm coming” and “something bad is going to happen”. Before his day is over both these feelings prove more than prophetic. He is released from prison a few days early because his wife has been killed in a car crash. During his flight home a real storm jostles the plane and his seat partner … we’ll call him Mr. Wednesday … recruits Shadow to be his (for lack of a better word) bodyguard. Mr. Wednesday turns out to be a little more than human and soon Shadow is drawn into a battle between those ancient gods transported to America with their immigrant believers but now mostly forgotten about and the new crop of gods quickly gaining strength through their worshippers (commerce, sex, technology and money).

I enjoyed the premise of the book. I love Mr. Gaiman’s writing. I like the rambling road trip format of the story. Admittedly it was sometimes frustrating to begin to like a location and its populace only to be savagely ripped from there to another location. Definitely makes the reader empathize with Shadow. However, as much as I liked all those things about the book there came a point when all the rambling, which had previously made some sort of sense, totally lost direction for me.

I have to admit that if I had been reading it rather than listening to it on audio I may not have persisted to the last page.