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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Review by Caleyna

The World
A contemporary fantasy, American Gods is set in the US during present times. There are many references to things that happened recently, so it really has a "current" feel to it. Of course, there is more to a Gaiman created world than meets the eye. There's "backstage", a place where the gods play, along with strange dream places and power vortexes (or it is vortexi?)

The Characters
Most of the action follows Shadow, an ex-con with some serious troubles. Shadow's wife, Laura also plays an important role. Of course, the name of the book implies that there are gods, and the reader is not disappointed. There are new gods, old gods, and just plain weird gods. The main gods are Odin, Mr. Nancy, Ibus, and Jaquel.

The Plot
A war is brewing, and Shadow has somehow found himself in the middle of it. The war: Old gods vs. new. Odin vs. techno boy. Easter vs. Media. You get the idea. The book is much more than a simple war though. It is a journey of self-discovery for Shadow, a man who is not really living. My favorite parts of the plot have nothing to do with the war, and everything to do with his time spent among normal human beings (mostly) in Wisconsin.

Comments
It is really hard for me to comment on this book simply b/c it is not really my type of book. I was looking forward to a great Gaiman read, after loving Neverwhere and Stardust, but this is just not a book I can love. It is too gross. There are lots of mentions of ways the gods used to receive sacrifices, and many just grossed me out. Plus there are some pretty weird sex scenes, and a profuse use of the F word. I can totally see why it is needed--it helps show what kind of world the characters are living in--but I just get turned off by that sort of thing. Even though I didn't particularly like the book or its message, I couldn't put the book down. Odd how that works. I just had to *know* what happened. So did I like the book or not? Yes, I guess I did, but I was just hoping for something else. I want another book like Stardust.

The Grade
I have no clue what type of a grade to give this book. It just is not a book I should be grading. I know that there are people who totally adore it and think it is brilliant, ect, but I don't see that. I do think it is a clever idea, and the big "revelation" at the end was inspired--I certainly never saw it coming--but a grade? I just don't know. I think I will go with a 4 out of 5 amulets.

Caleyna


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