2016 Reading Challenge Book 34 – American Gods

Hi, Hey, Hello!

Yet another book review coming your way today, the end is in sight. I’ve almost reached 40.

The next book lucky enough to be reviewed today is:

2016 Reading Challenge, Book 30, American Gods
2016 Reading Challenge, Book 34, American Gods

Now I have been in possession of this book for a while to be honest, but not of this edition. And when I discovered that this edition was going to exist in the universe come November I decided to wait for it to appear on my doorstep (which it didn’t do, I had to go to the post office to pick it up in the end, but the magically theory still stands). Do not ask me why I made that decision, but I did and as such I waited a really long to read the book that arguably I was most excited to read this year.

And read it I did. In just over a week, which given that it’s over 600 pages and I do most of my reading in half hour bursts twice a day I consider an achievement. But it was just that good. I think at this point, my love for Neil Gaiman is very well known and with every new book of his that I get to discover the love grows deeper. Obviously, this was no exception.

From the opening line I was hooked and drawn into this world that rapidly became so vivid to me that I found myself fascinated by it all and hated having to put it back in my bag (one because it meant that I had to stop reading and two because it’s huge and really fucking heavy). The way that the story was formed and intertwined within it’s own narrative was stunning to move through as a reader and meant that you were never bored because there was always something being revealed and there was always something happening that the reader sort of had to make note of because it would come back around, most likely when you least expect it. It kept things interesting and magical and beautiful and it was just so…


Onto the meaty stuff. The plot is so rich and brilliant and yet also somehow so simple. It’s literally just about the old vs the new, if you want to boil it right down. It’s so simple. And so well done that it becomes so much more than that. The way the characters all interplay with each other and how they come into tension and how it builds and then how all that relates back to Shadow is just a joy to read. I just cannot stress enough how great and incredible the plot to this book it without giving things away and I don’t wanna do that because this book comes with the strongest of recommendations.

But given that I just mentioned the characters, let me move onto them. Shadow is maybe one of my favourite characters. Ever. I don’t what it is about him, but he just sort of sky rocketed up to the top of my list of favourite characters. Obviously everything just sort of came to him and he was the reluctant central point for everything and I guess as he is the reader’s way of getting into most of the novel, the reader learns about most of this magical God-land life the same way that he does, and I love it when a story is told like that, especially when it is as good as this. The continued ambiguity of Mr Wednesday also made him really interesting as a character because there was something about him that you could just never trust. Ever. I’m still not sure I understood all of his intentions and I’ve finished the book and mulled it over for a few weeks now.

Laura was interesting as well, somehow in a book full of Gods, known and otherwise,  her existence was the thing that threw me most and she was the character that in true me fashion I wanted to know more about. How she got the way she was. How she navigated her way around America with Shadow, but not really with him. Just how. How she did anything after the first 25 pages of the book.

My favourite thing about all Neil Gaiman characters is that none of them are ever unintentional, even when they seem like they are. They may appear in passing, which did happen quite early on in this book and I was so confused as to why the whole short chapter was happening, and it may all seem rather pointless but it all makes sense in the end and there is something very satisfying about watching the pieces of a puzzle just all slot together and form the picture it has been building to.

Should I talk about the imagery? Let’s talk about the imagery. The word stunning is being overused by me and yet is somehow not sufficient enough. That is what this is though. Stunning. The imagery and the way the sentences just existed were just that. They elevated every single aspect of this novel. I honestly cannot say enough about the language and the writing style and all the ways in which I love Neil Gaiman.

Just a warning though, it can get quite graphic at times, so if blood and stuff isn’t your thing maybe stay away.

This has been a kind of disjointed, maybe more fangirly than usual, book review but that’s mainly because I am so conscious of not writing anything spoilery because I feel like this book is something that should be experienced with no real idea as to what the hell you’re getting into so that you can just enter this battle along with Shadow.

5/5 stars (obviously)

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

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Sophie, twenty-something, avid reader, writer, really good at watching whole seasons of TV shows in one weekend and using 10 words where 5 will do, overzealous user of the ellipsis and parentheses, starts too many sentences with ‘and’ and ‘so’, living in a continual state of Wanderlust.

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