Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
ashley | Book confession. I wholeheartedly thought I had read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but turns out I’ve been calling Gaiman one of my favourite authors for years never having read one of his more popular books. Since I am one of those people who like to read the book before the movie/tv show, I figured I ought to finally sit down and read this before watching the American Gods show, which I am super pumped for.
Why I prefer reading the book before the show is to avoid having the images of actors in my head as I familiarize myself with the book characters. Sadly, I had already been influenced by promos when I started this and couldn’t help but picture the stars of the Starz show while reading through. Thankfully that did little to impact the actual story.
Gaiman is a vault of mythological knowledge and I love seeing how he continually brings that to life. While this was published before some of his recent mythological pieces, he still manages to keep the similar stories so vastly different. I love how the familiar gods here are masked by other names and their stories aren’t just blatantly laid out for you. Though without much knowledge of these myths, you may not put it together easily, but that’s half the fun. It’s kind of a lesson in among the entertainment.
I was pretty smitten with Shadow, I just felt this sense of comfort any time he was mentioned in the book. He was super easygoing, almost to a fault, and it was easy to piggy back on his experience as he learned and witnessed things at the same time as the reader. He, like the reader, was kept in the dark with a lot of things until absolutely necessary, drawing out this story in many directions I didn’t see coming.
Gaiman’s world building is always brilliant, even when it’s taking place in a modern day world. He enriches the everyday with colourful characters and little quirks that end up making a big impact on the overall feel of the story. This spends a lot of time on the building of the characters and the journey Shadow is taken on before ultimately letting the veil slip.
This book is chalked full of information and people and myths and it’s not always super easy to follow, but the overall gist of it is a fun tromp through mythological lore built upon the characteristics of these mythological gods and I quite enjoyed spending my time in this mythological world. I hope the tv show does it justice.
june 21, 2011
june 21, 2011