Published in: 2001
Edition read: E-book
Series: American Gods book 1
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies…and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path.
Damn this book was long. And really detailed. The gods were something else, I consider myself to be a bit knowledgeable about ancient gods and deity’s but I was stumped by a lot of the gods mentioned throughout this book (so apparently, not that knowledgeable at all). The thing was, although this book was long and detailed and somewhat confusing, it was good. The main story of Shadow is entertaining, he has no clue what is going on and is somewhat clueless, but overall he’s a likeable character and as he bumbles through each situation, you are right there bumbling with him and trying to work out what is happening (and I gotta say, it’s a beautiful mess, this story. I didn’t see it coming, the actual ending and what Mr Wednesday was trying to do).
In between the main story are tiny scenes, about various people and their gods, and how these gods came to be in America. Those were my favourite parts, if I have to be honest; the small stories about these people and how they came to America, bringing their beliefs with them.
And of course, there has now been a TV series spawned from this book, and it’s pretty awesome. Anyone who hasn’t read the book is bloody confused by the show (aka my co-workers, who had no clue what was going on) but those of us who read the books first, we know what’s going on and it’s beautiful. The first few episodes are really true to the book (always very important) but then it starts to deviate as we get other stories, mainly about Laura who we don’t get much info on in the book. It goes way off-track at the end of the season (Garden party does not equal the house on the rock with the carousel) but it’s still good. The other thing is that the series is slow- where the first season ends, is about 100 pages into the actual book, so we’ve got another two to three seasons to go (yay!)
American Gods rating: 8/10
Would I re-read it? Yeah, in 10 years time I’d want to re-read it (but not right away, it was such an involved book that I need time to digest it before I had a go at reading it again!)
Who would I recommend it to? For fans of mythology, anyone who has seen the TV show, fans of unique stories with a real underdog main character.