Friday, 6 April 2018

Review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I was watching a video in YouTube and saw Kanan Gill say he really like American Gods a lot and I really like Kanan Gill a lot. And since then the book was in my TBR shelf on Goodreads. I picked up this book last week finally and I completed the book in exactly a week. The book is definitely unique. I loved the entire concept. Something no one's ever thought before and kudos to Gaiman for that. Anyway, the entire book was a roller coaster ride. One I had mixed feelings about.


The storm was coming….Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose accepts.

But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.

Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.

All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America.
As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.

My Review:

Gods. Some believe in them, some don't. Being a Hindu, I've been taught since childhood that there are around 33 crore Gods. I am a bit skeptical about that, but I do worship and pray to some. There is a concept in our religion. Yagna, a ritual, is considered as a offering to the gods to make us prosperous and in return they become more powerful. Our prayers make them more powerful. But, what if we stop praying to them?

Gaiman takes this question and in answer creates an entire novel. I loved the concept. As a fantasy writer I was in awe. It is perfect mythology story for America, the land of immigrants. So many people from different parts of the world have come to this country and brought their own culture, faith, myth and folklore along with them. Now, when technology rules the world, what happens to these idols that people once reverently believed in?

Shadow stands out in the entire book. He is reliable, relate able and sexy. Ricky Whittle plays Shadow in the TV series and damn, he's hot! He is shown as mysterious and aloof. Although we follow him throughout the book, I could never accurately guess what he was feeling . For example when the jailer told him that Laura had died, he says he nodded which I thought was pretty impersonal but later in the book when he sees himself in that scene, he says he looks like the world betrayed him. Instances like this disconnected me from his narrative and I felt I was being duped.

I like every characterization. Mr Nancy, Wednesday, Mama ji, Ibis, Anubis, etc. It must have taken a lot of effort to build a story like this. I loved the effort that has gone into this book without any buts and ifs.

The story lost me at the end. The way it ended disappointed me and fell flat. It was like a failed chemistry experiment. Instead of explosions at the end, there was just a pop. Wednesday was a surprise. I mean, initially I did doubt him and his intentions. But, later he grew on me, and all for nothing.

The mystery of lakeside town was also really good. As far as side stories go, it was a great one. I never did guess anything. Probably because I was looking elsewhere. Classic diversion technique. I really liked Shadow there. I liked Sam , she was quirky and I hated how nothing happened between Shadow and her. I didn't like Laura at all. I never really understood her motive. Was she protecting shadow all the time, or was she really trying to bring herself back to life?

In the end the book was really good. It was well written, well thought and well executed. But, I felt like there were several loose ends that I'd like to be more clear. But I do strongly suggest all book readers to pick up American Gods. It'll be one hell of a ride.

My Ratings:

I give the book 4 Stars. I gave a star less because I'm still feeling like I'm missing something even after an epilogue and a postscript. I loved the concept though.

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