American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Cross posted from my book tumblr, which I’m now going to get rid of since I never use it. Originally published over a year ago.

So I’ve finished my exams! No more papers, readings or studying for me. Which means that I finally have time to read again! A few days ago I finally finished my first (reading for fun) novel of the year. And yes, I realize it’s April. I’ve been working on it, two pages at a time, while eating breakfast, and I finally got to read the last few hundred pages sitting outside in the sun. It was wonderful.

The book I was reading, if the title of this post didn’t make it clear, was American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

I’ve read Neil Gaiman before. I loved Stardust, Smoke & Mirrors, and Coraline. So I was familiar with his style of writing, and I quite love it. However, I’m not sure how I feel about this novel (maybe writing this will help me out?).

I love the concept: When people travelled to America, they brought with them their gods from their own religions and cultures. But as the years went on people stopped worshipping these gods, and instead started worshipping the modern gods of technology, innovations,  and inventions. This left these “foreign” gods to slowly fade, not getting what they need to survive.

This is all I knew when I started the book. As I went on I realized that although the writing was exactly what I expected (and loved. Seriously, Neil Gaiman writes so beautifully. And if you somehow doubt that, read “Dark Sonnet”, a poem which I adore), but I wasn’t in love with the plot. (I did love the ending though, and the ending is one of the best parts of a book.) The way that Neil Gaiman writes lends itself well to visualization and really feeling what is happening. I am not a visual person when I read. I don’t see characters or see the story playing out like a movie in my head- and yet when I read this book I really could. Which was pretty exciting to me.

Actually, now that I’m thinking it over I’m starting to like this book more. I loved the characters, they had real depth to them, which is always lovely. I really understood them, and their motivations, and their thought processes.

Maybe it’s just one of the books which you need to let sink in. Honestly, I would still give it a solid 7-8 out of 10.

I would reread it. Maybe not in tiny chunks like I did the first time (which is what I now blame my initial gut reaction on), but sit down and properly read it in a day or two.

My Recommendation:

I wouldn’t recommend that this be the first of his books that you read. I would start either with a short story anthology (such as Smoke and Mirrors), or something slightly more optimistic (like Stardust). But I would definitely say read this book.

I would also say that it’s not for younger readers. Be like 17 or older if you’re planning to read it. It’s kind of graphic. Although I was listening to Neil Gaiman on The Nerdist, and he rightly pointed out that he puts one very graphic, very visceral scene at the beginning (like first chapter), so that you can decide right off that bat if you’re going to read this book.

Other than that, I hope you read it.
Send me questions, comments, recommendations on how to better format this? (It is, obviously, my first book recommendation, so please give me feedback!)

Hope you’re having a great day and reading some great books!



ps. since publishing this post last April, they’ve announced they’re making this into a tv show – I think a mini-series – which I’m totally excited to watch!
pps. I would also recommend Coraline, which is creepy but great.

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