Title: American Gods: The 10th Anniversary Edition
Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5
Shadow has just been released from prison and is ready to go home and see his wife when he is informed that she has been killed in a car accident. He meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday and decides to work for him. What Shadow doesn’t realize is that Wednesday has thrust him in the middle of a war between the old European Gods and the new gods of technology and credit cards.
American Gods is a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time, so when I received a review copy of the tenth anniversary edition of the book, I figured it was the perfect time to read it. After all, if I was going to embark on the epic journey of this novel, I’d rather read the author’s preferred text than the original release.
I’m not sure what I was expecting with American Gods, but I can’t say it lived up to what I hoped it would be. I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but this book didn’t work quite as well for me. I absolutely loved the premise - a war between the old gods and new, and Shadow being caught in the middle. I loved the potential for mythology and the social commentary contained within the novel. Gaiman isn’t afraid to comment on society’s quest for money. He also highlights the dynamics of small town life in America, and in my opinion, that is the part of the novel that worked best.
However, the story meandered way too much for my taste. There didn’t really seem to be any rhyme or reason to what Shadow was doing or where he was going, and I found myself struggling to understand what was going on more than once. Every time Shadow would be ripped away from the smaller, quieter parts of life to participate in the novel’s mythology, I was disappointed because it was the mundane that was accomplished so well in this novel. I just couldn’t get into the plot, and as a result, I had trouble immersing myself in the story of American Gods.
Despite my disappointment with American Gods, I’ll still be reading more of Neil Gaiman’s works. This book didn’t work for me as well as I’d hoped, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. From what I’ve heard, you either like it or you don’t; that means that, if you’re still intrigued by the novel, you should definitely give it a chance. Perhaps it might work better for you than it did for me.