“So, none of this is happening. Such things could not occur in this day and age. Never a word of it is literally true, although it all happened, and the next thing that happened, happened like this…”
I had picked up this book ages ago and put it down shortly after finishing the first chapter. I wasn’t in the right mindset and I, surprisingly, hadn’t met anyone who had read it. Fast forward to about a month ago and everyone I talk to has read it and loved it! So, after finishing Into the Wild I went in the completely opposite direction and picked up the epic fantasy that is American Gods.
Let me start out by saying, I liked it. I really did. Do I think the middle lagged a little bit? Yes. All in all though it was a great story and the characters in it were endearing; well, most of them anyway. I felt like Gaiman had too many stories in his head and tried to make them all fit together, come hell or high water (no pun intended).
The story focuses on Shadow Moon a man who is imprisoned for robbing a bank. He’s quiet. He does his time and he is about to be released in to the loving arms of his wife. When the warden calls him in to his office he knows it’s bad news, maybe they’ve decided to keep him in longer and parole was just a huge joke. He’s wrong. The warden informs him that he will be getting out early because his wife was killed in a car accident the night before. So starts the journey. On his way to her funeral Shadow meets a man named Mr. Wednesday who promptly asks Shadow to be his right hand man. After some mead and a bout with a leprechaun Shadow agrees.
After this Shadow meets all kinds of gods, demi-gods, spooks, and haunts. None of which seems to phase him in the slightest. Not even when one of them bets him his life at a game of checkers. Nope. All of this seems perfectly normal to good ol’ Shadow. The only “normal” part of the book, and Shadow’s life it seems, is when his hiding out in a town called Lakeside in Wisconsin. He lives in a decent apartment, meets his neighbors, befriends the old guy whom everyone knows, and even gets in good with the local police. That’s when he hears about the child disappearances. Not so normal now.
It’s hard to describe what happens next. A lot happens. No, I mean a lot happens and doesn’t happen. When I finally made it to the end, which I loved (no spoilers here), I thought he could’ve achieved the same effect in a short story or a couple of short stories. Enter Fragile Things. It’s a short story collection by Neil Gaiman and there are a few in there about Mr. Wednesday and the whole AG crew. Maybe I will get more answers in there.
All in all I did enjoy it. A little long and a little sweeping in my opinion but I did enjoy being with Mr. Wednesday and his band of gods. I’m interested to see how they’ll pull this off as a mini-series next year. I still refuse to watch The Magician’s.