American Gods (American Gods #1) by Neil Gaiman (2001)
Fiction | Paranormal | (TV-MA)
“Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies… and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.”
(Now a TV series on STARZ)
pooled ink Review:
Ummm…okay. So I didn’t finish this one, in fact I didn’t even make it far enough to feel like I could give a star-rating for what I did read. Honestly at this point in my life I am too busy to waste time reading books I don’t enjoy. And this one clearly wasn’t going to cut it. I thought I’d continue on this theme of paranormal/kinda creepy books for the month of October but…
This book is 736 pages long (at least my copy is) and for me to give you that much of my life you’d better be good.
I admit that I heard about this book due to the promotion of its TV series adaptation. I saw the ads and the trailer and it looked really good. I was excited for it! Unfortunately I don’t have access to STARZ so I’ve never gotten to see it. But maybe that’s okay? At least that’s how I feel after trying to read this book. But then again this could be one of those times where Hollywood gets it right.
In short this book was too slow and too long and simply not worth it.
Ouch. Painful, I know. Sorry?
If this book were shorter I’d probably have tried to push on but I knew I wasn’t going to read all 736 pages so why keep going?
Look, the plot description sounded really intriguing, the TV show trailers looked super cool, and the quote included to preface the story was excellent. I was hooked. At least until I read it.
I actually was getting along with the main character Shadow, and thought his story was one I’d like to hear. I even thought the introduction of Mr. Wednesday was done well in a creepy subtle nudge into the paranormal. Things were starting to get a little strange and none of it was coincidental I was sure.
So yeah, at first I was into this mysterious paranormal vibe. But it took too long, I didn’t care enough, and well yeah I gave up on it. Sure it was interesting in some parts but it was just wacked out weird in others. Like I’m talking weird.
…Well, I guess as this is a DNF I don’t have much to say ha. Look, the author is extremely successful and well known so obviously he can write, but unfortunately this book in particular failed to fully engage me. I still might check out the TV show though…
But hey, if you’ve read this book and you know that you have to get like maybe 100+ pages in for the story to finally grip you then let me know and maybe I’ll give it another go. But as it is, nah.
OH but because I liked that initial quote so much (and it really sets up the premise of this book quite well in case you’re interested in checking it out) I’m going to include it here just for the fun of it:
One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, Greek-Americans the vrykólakas, but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons are not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said “They’re scared to pass the ocean, it’s too far,” pointing out that Christ and the apostles never came to America.
-Richard Dorson, “A Theory for American Folklore,”
American Folklore and the Historian
(University of Chicago Press, 1971)
Purchase here: American Gods
Meet Neil Gaiman!
Neil Gaiman was born in Hampshire, UK, and now lives in the United States near Minneapolis. As a child he discovered his love of books, reading, and stories, devouring the works of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, James Branch Cabell, Edgar Allan Poe, Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Gene Wolfe, and G.K. Chesterton. A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading.
Gaiman began his writing career in England as a journalist. His first book was a Duran Duran biography that took him three months to write, and his second was a biography of Douglas Adams, Don’t Panic: The Official Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion.
Neil Gaiman is credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, as well as an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.
-Neil Gaiman’s Website
5 thoughts on “American Gods”
American Gods took me a while to read, and that’s pretty uncommon. I think it really can be difficult to engage with, but once you do manage to it can become a favorite. Neil Gaiman worked on the television series, and while its similar to the book in some ways, it’s different enough that someone who wasn’t a fan of the book might enjoy it. It’s a little more straight-forward too. If you do get access to STARZ then I totally recommend it!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for the advice! I’m definitely keeping an eye out for the show and maybe if I get a break or a vacation I can take the time to really try and get into the book (:
LikeLiked by 1 person
Sounds like a plan!! 👍🏻😄
American Gods is definitely a bit of a meandering road story, so if the reader is looking to jump right into the action, they’re going to be disappointed. This book seems to be pretty polarizing from the multitude of reviews I have read. That being said, it is one of my favorites, but I can definitely see where you are coming from. Points for at least trying haha!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing! I’ve definitely heard some great praise for this book so maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it at the time 🤔 If my TBR pile doesn’t bury me first maybe I’ll give it another go…
LikeLiked by 1 person