Sunday, November 18, 2012

American Gods by Neil Gaiman





Genre: Fantasy
Year Published: 2001
Number of Pages: 465 pages
Date Read: 11/18/2012
Publisher:  Headline Review


 “There are many Gods in America.  It is just that many people either do not believe in them or see them anymore.  Are they real or not? Only you could decide on that.”


I have been a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s works for many years and some of my favorite works done by Neil Gaiman included “Coraline” and the “Sandman” series.  So, when I heard that Neil Gaiman was writing some books for older teens and adults, I just had to check them out and that is where I found “American Gods!”  “American Gods” has won many awards including the Bram Stoker Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and is a World Fantasy award nominee and it definitely deserved all of those awards! “American Gods” is definitely one of the most intense and creative stories I have ever read from the master of storytelling!

The book starts off with a mild mannered man named Shadow, who spent three years in prison for beating up some people.  One day however, when Shadow mysteriously gets an early release from prison, he decided to go home to his wife Laura.  But, when Shadow discovered that Laura was killed in a car accident, his life turned upside down and he did not know what to do with his life without Laura.  It was not until afterwards that Shadow meets a mysterious old man named Wednesday, who wanted Shadow to work for him and Shadow agreed to work for him.  However, as soon as Shadow starts working for Wednesday, he will soon discover that there are many dark secrets abound, which includes not only the people’s faith in Gods, but the fact that there is an upcoming war between the old Gods and the new Gods!

OH…MY…GODS!

There was just so much about this novel that made this a truly electrifying and awesome experience for me!  Neil Gaiman has definitely created a brilliant story that not only revolves around the mysteries of mythical beings, but also plays on the theme about how people’s beliefs in these Gods affected the Gods themselves.  I really enjoyed the characters in this story, especially Shadow as he is shown to be an extremely mild mannered man who does not seem to know what he has gotten himself into.  Shadow may seem a bit awkward at the beginning since he does not seem fazed by the surreal activities that happen around him, but once you get deep into the book; his character arc becomes full of surprises that really shocked me!  I also loved the way that Neil Gaiman wrapped the mythology about Gods into a more modern day setting that begs the question about whether or not people in current times still believe in the old Gods, which helped gave this book a more creative flair.  I really enjoyed how Neil Gaiman was able to make the famous gods like Odin, Czernobog, Anansi and Easter seem like ordinary people as it made guessing which characters are which Gods the more interesting!  I also loved the theme that this book sort of poses for readers as the war in this book is supposed to be between the old Gods (Odin, Czernobog and Anansi) and the new Gods as the old Gods were afraid of being forgotten once the New Gods, who are more up to date with the modern society, become more believable to the people.  To me, it seems like the book was trying to point out about what happens when a society encounters new things that are interesting, like iPads or cell phones, and whether or not, they would forget the old things that they enjoyed in the past like board games and I wonder if the book was stating that you can have both the old and the new things in life as society changes over the years since they are both important your lifestyles (the old things in society helping people remember where they came from and the new things in society letting people see how society has changed over the years).  Now, since I had already read Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, I am already accustomed to his dark storytelling for adults, so the fact that this was my first adult book by Neil Gaiman, I was not really shocked by the dark content presented in this book and it made me really enjoy the book even further!

For anyone who does not like strong language in a novel, this novel definitely has some strong language such as dropping the “f” bomb several times and using the “s” word several times.  Also, this novel has so much disturbing content which includes dead bodies being revived and characters being murdered in a brutal way.  While I did find most of the dialogue to be interesting and amusing, I cannot help but feel that some of the dialogue in this book is a bit too lengthy and they take up so much space in the book that it feels like the book could have been shorter if the dialogue did not go on forever.

Overall, “American Gods” was dark, disturbing and amazing at the same time!  It may have taken me a long time to read through this book (this book has nearly five hundred pages), but it was definitely worth the experience in reading this unique little masterpiece and I would highly recommend this book to any fan of Neil Gaiman’s works!

* 2001 International Horror Guild Award Nominee for Best Novel
* 2001 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel
* 2002 Hugo Award for Best Novel
* 2002 Nebula Award for Best Novel
* 2002 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
* 2002 World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel
* 2002 SFX Award for Best Novel 
* 2002 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Nominee for Adult Literature
* 2003 Geffen Award
* 2003 Prix Bob Morane for roman traduit




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