This is an excellent book. Long (almost 600 pages) – but excellent. Rather than stumble through a plot summary that would be way too convoluted and not nearly helpful enough, I’ll just give you the blurb from Amazon.com:

“Released from prison, Shadow finds his world turned upside down. His wife has been killed; a mysterious stranger offers him a job. But Mr. Wednesday, who knows more about Shadow than is possible, warns that a storm is coming — a battle for the very soul of America . . . and they are in its direct path.” 

What makes this book exceedingly good is its pacing. The first 200 pages or so are hazy and somewhat difficult to follow. Most of the time, this would annoy me no end, but it works really well here. We, as readers, are just as confused as our main character. He shuffles along after his odd new boss, meeting universally surreal people who give him increasingly cryptic warnings.

At this point, the story takes its time, setting things up for later without really explaining why. Like Shadow, we must simply accept it and keep reading – and Gaiman is a talented enough writer that readers remain curious enough to want to keep reading.

The next 200 pages speed up quite a bit. Little things here and there are clarified, pieces fall into place, and the action starts building up momentum. There are still plenty of questions, but as Shadow finds his footing in this weird world he’s stumbled into, we as readers do too.

The last 200 pages are riveting; they go by in a flash as the whole plot just opens up (think Giant Rock Rolling Downhill). Every loose end comes together, our questions are answered, and there’s a plot twist that will blow your socks off.

Just a quick warning: as the main characters of the book are dilapidated Old World gods and an ex-con, the language can get a little rough. It makes sense in context, but it still jarred me a little bit.

So, anyways – very good book. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes mythology in general and who’s a fan of the eerie and surreal. Readers will need to be patient though – as I said, American Gods takes its own sweet time in telling its tale.

Advertisements