Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow 2001
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Fantasy Project; NPR Scifi/Fan; Ebook; 52 Books -- W20; Lucky No. 14 -- Favorite Author
The storm was coming….Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.
On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose accepts.
But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.
Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.
All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America.
So it turns out that I read one of Gaiman's books out of order. Anansi Boys is a follow-up to American Gods. I ended up knowing a bit more about Anansi than this book reveals. It didn't ruin this book for me, so I guess it was okay.
This novel was out book club selection for May. I was really excited to introduce my book club ladies to Gaiman as I love his work so much. And this book did not disappoint. I love how all of Gaiman's works (okay most of them) start in the real world with a seemingly normal person. But then something happens that's not quite right and we're thrown into a hidden world of some kind. In this case, we get to meet gods. Half the fun of the novel is trying to figure which gods Shadow meets in his travels. I got most of them; guess I know my various mythologies. I loved following Shadow as we learn more and more of what really is going on. The big twists threw me, but I loved them. Overall, this is a very strong novel from Gaiman. It has his usual style of characters and writing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.