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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

AMERICAN GODS


After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances.

Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break…

Wow! This was so much more than a book, it was an experience.

After reading The Sandman comics earlier this year and loving Neil Gaiman's vision, I also enjoyed his exploration of what happens to forgotten Gods. So, I was very excited to see that he touched on that very topic in this book. It's a fascinating concept that he pulls off very well. I mean, what does happen to Gods and Goddesses in a time when so many have lost faith? How does it affect them in the digital age? Do they fade, do they linger, and what about surviving in another country, away from their origins?

All of that and so much more is explored in this book. It's the journey of one man, trying to return to life after three years in prison. Except, the life he thinks is waiting for him falls apart when he finds out that his wife died in a car accident, as well as his best friend. This leaves Shadow with no home and no job. So when a mysterious and quite annoying Mr. Wednesday hounds him with a job offer, he eventually accepts. And so, Shadow seals his fate.

What follows is a mythic adventure that takes him across America, as Wednesday attempts to encourage other ancient Gods to take part in the coming war. Of course, this is a very simplistic version of the events that unfold as Shadow meets one God after another, and finds himself being the pawn in an ancient game, with results that will pleasantly surprise and satisfy any reader willing to join him.

The cast of characters is colourful, interesting, intriguing, intense and vast. There are too many players in this fantastic story to zero in on just the one, but I particularly found myself drawn to Shadow. And even with her faults, I liked that undead Laura has an important part in everything.

American Gods is a masterpiece of epic proportions that weaves one main story and many smaller ones to become one perfect blend. I loved every twist and turn in this magical road trip, every revelation, and all of the amazing locations. I'm also very glad that I waited to read this version. Even the extras were great!

Neil Gaiman has a wild imagination that he takes to an all-new level in this book. Awesome!

American Gods, September 2009, ISBN 0755322819, Headline Paperback

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