American Gods is a new American classic, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Neil Gaiman fangirl. Actually, I don’t like everything Gaiman does and I can easily be very critical of his work (i.e. I did not like Stardust—it’s one of those rare instances where I actually find the movie better.). But American Gods is one of my favorites, even more so after I’ve read it a second time.
Shadow is a convict serving out the last few weeks of his sentence. On the day before his release, he gets called to the Warden’s office where he’s told that he is going to be released a day early, but not due to good behavior. Shadow’s wife and his best friend Robbie (who was also going to be Shadow’s employer) were killed in an auto accident. Everything in Shadow’s life after he hears this news becomes odd and absurd, but he takes everything he sees in stride.
Shadow is hired by Wednesday, a mysterious and powerful stranger who travels the country in search of magical beings and old-world gods. He is gathering an army to fight against the new “gods” of America. The story is a rollercoaster, full of twists and turns, and ups and downs. Shadow really grows as a character and is even taught how to really live through death. It’s a book of mysticism, wonder, and roadside attractions.
As I mentioned earlier, this was my second read through of this book. Since my initial journey through its pages, I’ve learned more about some of the mythos behind many of the characters, including some of those who are only mentioned in passing. Every mention and nod to those myths and legends make this book that much more endearing.