Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

12:56 PM

American Gods by Neil Gaiman | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

“People believe, thought Shadow. It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.” 

I have a confession to make. My name is Jessica and I could never dislike a book if it's written by Neil Gaiman. From Coraline to The Ocean at the End of the Lane all the way to American Gods Gaiman has always known how to tug at me and keep me in place to devour stories. He is, perhaps, one of the greatest authors of our time and will surely (hopefully) go down as a classic amongst generations to come. American Gods proves this once again--and has, thankfully, aged really well since its original release.

What I loved most about American Gods is its dreary tone that never shakes free. One of Neil Gaiman's signature traits is his deliciously dark and bold prose; something that is featured heavily in all of his works to date. I find it dreamy. Weird. Fun. Dark. A little dangerous and creepy. I'm never quite sure how to explain his way with words to newcomers but I can easily tell you it is something that you'll want to get lost in. When I picked up American Gods I devoured it within a few days.

One of those days, I even lost track of the time and place. You see, it's terribly easy to become invested in characters lives. Something about American Gods was like being embraced in this world that you forget where fiction ends and reality begins. You grow to love Shadow and suspect these little edges in the plotlines are going to lead to something bigger--when it does, you're both surprised and not. If you're not sympathetic towards him, we must be reading something entirely different.

When we first meet him, his backstory is pretty murky. We know he has been locked away. We know there is something about him. We know, too, that his wife has died and her affairs--ahem--become a central plot point. Especially after, you know, she haunts him. Literally. Oh, I know I shouldn't love these scenes but I do. I feel for Shadow so much--his wives betrayal and death, the fact that even in the afterlife she is there. I feel so much for Laura, too. I did wish that their backstory had been explored just a bit more before the stories conclusion, but it is what it is.

As for the Gods? I'm still catching my breath and swooning. I loved the mythology of the story. How it all tied into itself and played on. Researching the Gods and what Gods they are based upon was a real treat. I've always been fascinated by the idea of Gods and what their roles are and thought that the way they are adapted for a more modern setting in Shadow's world was genuinely good.

Another thing I loved about this book was the vivid settings and the mystery and intrigue that came in it. Gaiman has a way of pointing to signs that light up and gives his readers hints sprinkled through each chapter, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a few dozen tricks up his sleeves. I was genuinely surprised by many moments towards the end. This just proves that he is one of the best writers of his time.

Overall, if you're looking for something dark and thrilling with a comedic edge and a kickass setting with mythology all its own; American Gods is for you. P.S., I am the raven that says 'f*ck you' to Shadow at one point. 

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