American Gods - Neil Gaiman

Shadow is about to be released after serving 3 of his 6 year sentence in prison to begin rebuilding his life with his wife Laura. He has a job waiting for him working in a gym and things are looking up. A couple of days before he is due to be released however, he learns that his wife was killed in a car accident and he is released early to go home for the funeral. On the flight he meets enigmatic Wednesday who claims to be a god. He offers Shadow a job working for him doing errands, which he eventually takes after his other options are eliminated. They seal their deal with mead and set off on a journey across America.

Wednesday feels a storm coming that will be a battle between the old gods brought over by settlers to America (Bast, Horus, Ganesh, Anasi, Easter, Thoth, Anubis etc) and the new (railroads, cars, internet, television etc). Shadow seems somehow caught up in the middle of things with the added problem of the dead not staying dead. The novel is filled with myth and magic from the anicent world and how it might interact in a more modern setting.

I loved this novel from the beginning. I have a passion for mythology and my favourite genre is fantasy so it was right up my street. I knew a lot of the gods and was able to recognise Wednesday for his true name which helped a little. I liked that it explored their darker sides and wasn't light and fluffy. It was a little strange reading a book by an english author that was so american even though I knew this was Gaiman's aim. It expanded nicely on the ideas from "Small Gods" by Terry Pratchett so if you liked that you will definitely like this too. Truely unputdownable!


    I just came across Gaiman's personal blog this morning. Thought he was into movies. Didn't know he was an established writer as well.