WOW. “Epic” is an overused word, but this novel is truly epic, both in length and narratively. The story follows Shadow Moon, a man who has spent three years in prison only to be released early due to his wife Laura passing away. While traveling to their home for her funeral, he meets a strange man named Mr. Wednesday, who seems to be following him wherever he goes. After events conspire, he agrees to work for Wednesday, not realizing until it’s too late that he’s enmeshed himself in the middle of a war between the Old Gods (Odin, Easter, Loki) and the New Gods (Media, Technical Boy). Along the way, Shadow discovers who he really is, and has to choose whether to hold on to certain things or sacrifice what he loves for his own good.
American Gods is a hunker of a book, but I was compelled to keep turning the pages. Gaiman beautifully wrote this novel of epic proportions, and I became attached to Shadow. I wanted to see what would happen to him, his dead wife, and the Old Gods he became friends with. I loved learning about Gods (such as Bilquis, the Queen of Sheba who literally eats men with her vagina, and Anansi, a man/spider who is a renowned trickster) I had never really heard of before, and learning more about Easter and Odin.
If I had one issue with this novel, it would be that the final battle kind of just fizzes out. I was expecting a spectacular showdown, and was let down somewhat by the conclusion. Other than that, I loved American Gods. The mythology, the characters, and the themes of faith, religion, and fighting for what one loves resonated with me deeply, and the gorgeous prose kept me flipping the pages.
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