Shadow is doing three years in prison, and he is passing the days working out and teaching himself coin tricks. He’s nearing the end of his sentence and is counting down the days until he’s reunited with his wife. He wants nothing more than to go home, stay out of trouble and live a quiet life.
Then he gets the news. Shadow’s wife has been killed in an accident, and everything Shadow had been looking forward to has been ripped away from him.
When Shadow is released, he flies home for the funeral. While flying through a violent thunderstorm, Shadow starts talking with the man sitting next to him. He introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday, but something is just a little bit off about him. As the conversation continues, Shadow realizes Mr. Wednesday knows more about him and his life than a stranger sitting next to you on a plane should.
Mr. Wednesday tells Shadow a much bigger storm is coming and asks for his help. With nothing left to go home to, Shadow agrees. From here, Shadow is plunged into an underworld of long-forgotten Gods, mythical creatures and more. As Shadow tries to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys in the impending “storm,” his life and his past are slowly revisited and the truth about Shadow, his wife and the strange world he’s been pulled into are revealed.
Gaiman is well-known for his supernatural novels. With “American Gods” he mixes a mythological complicated tale with a rich emotional story. Though it is strange and complicated and even scary at times, it has another side that is heartbreaking and touches on true human emotions.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this book while I was reading it. I was still conflicted when I turned the last page. Truthfully, I’m still not sure how I feel about it today.
“American Gods” is strange and mysterious and dark. It is full of powerful imagery and a smart storyline. The one thing I did take away from “American Gods” is that Gaiman is an incredible storyteller. The book is woven with mystery, love, horror, mythology, sacrifice, action - the list could go on - and Gaiman manages to pull all of that together into a seamless plot that kept me turning pages and trying to figure it out.
I’m not sure to whom I would recommend this book. To enjoy it, the reader needs to be willing to jump in with an open mind and allow Gaiman to take them on a very unusual, very strange ride. It’s definitely one of the most unique, intelligent books I’ve ever read.
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