Thursday Review: American Gods

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The Blurb:

Days before his release from prison, Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.

Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You’ll be surprised by what and who it finds there…

This is the author’s preferred text, never before published in the UK, and is about 12,000 words longer than the previous UK edition.

The review:

When I brought draft one, chapter one of Persephone to my very first meeting with the Athens Area Writer’s group, I was asked by six different people “Have you read American Gods?”

No, I hadn’t, but because they were asking because it was a similar premise (gods existing in modern day, yet dying for want of worship) I held off until Persephone was published, just to avoid any accidental borrowing.

Then I held off because life got crazy and grad school got crazier.

Then I forgot all about American Gods until a friend picked it for book club, and WOW do I regret waiting. First of all, deeply flattered anyone saw ANY similarities between my little YA novel and ANYTHING Gaimen penned, much less this novel. Seriously, flattered. Other than the premise stated above, I don’t see much resemblance, but if I close my eyes and wish really hard, maybe one day I’ll write something to his caliber.

In this novel, the gods of old are giving a final dying gasp as they try to compete with the worship the new gods, media, technology, ect, get from, well, us. But they aren’t going down without a fight. Cue an awesome road trip with the best written, deeply flawed, least sympathetic characters ever. There are no “good” guys in this book, no team to root for, but no bad guys either. Everyone firmly wallows in the land of grey, including our protagonist Shadow, and my absolute favorite character, Laura.

American Gods reminds me a lot of a Christopher Moore novel. It has the same irreverent humor as Lamb, and the same sad ending you can see from miles away that can still surprise you, be heartbreaking, and funny at the same time. Books like this also have the strange ability to make me feel smarter than I actually am, and inspire REALLY deep conversations at book club. Read it, you’ll enjoy it 🙂

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