American Gods by Neil Gaiman. 628 pages.
Challenges: New Author, A to Z author and Chunkster.
I had heard a lot of good reviews about Neil Gaiman and this book, so I had wanted to read it for a while. My brother originally bought me a copy about eight years ago, but since we moved house, I couldn't for the life of me find it. Luckily my brother had a copy he could lend me. You may not know the name and think you are not familiar with his work, but I would imagine that a lot of you may have seen Stardust which was based on his book.
The book has a very unique and unusual story and from looking at the other books that Neil Gaiman writes, he definitely has his own uniqueness when it comes to developing story lines.
The book is set in present day and starts with the main character Shadow being released from prison early in order to attend his wife's funeral. On his journey home, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday who claims to be a former god and would like to hire Shadow as his assistant. The story then moves on to Mr Wednesday's desperate bid to gain allies with all the old gods to fight against the up and coming new gods who are being worshipped all over the world. The up and coming gods have names like Media, and are the technologies that have taken over the world.
I felt that Neil Gaiman was trying to show the world as it stands today. He is showing that to a growing number of the population, religion is no longer as important to them as it was to their ancestors. A lot of the old gods have been forgotton over time, and people can't even remember why they were worshipped. A great proportion of the population of today spend their days on the internet, watching the television and listening to the radio, which Gaiman is showing as a form of worship, as these technologies are important to our daily lives.
The characters are well written. Shadow comes across as this kindly quiet giant and I could not get the idea of the friendly giant in Green Mile(John Coffey) out of my head. The characters Mr Town, Mr Stone, Mr Wood and Mr World really did remind me of the The Matrix character Agent Smith. I don't know if it was just my overactive imagination that led to me seeing these similarities, or they were actually written to be similar characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was full of twists and turns and unforseen events. I really did think it was well written and would definitely recommend it.
I am beginning to realise that I very rarely read books by men, so this is something I may need to try and rectify this year. Neil Gaiman has written a second book called Anansi Boys which is set in the same territory as American Gods and is based on one of the secondary characters children ,so I will have to try and read this too.
Neil Gaiman has his own website,where he writes a journal most days . The address is as follows. http://www.neilgaiman.com/. If anyone else has any reviews of this book, let me know and I will add a link.
Here are reviews by other people on this book