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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

One question that has always intrigued me is what happens to demonic beings when immigrants move from their homelands. Irish-Americans remember the fairies, Norwegian-Americans the nisser, [...] but only in relation to events remembered in the Old Country. When I once asked why such demons are not seen in America, my informants giggled confusedly and said, 'They're scared to pass the ocen, it's too far.'

- Richard Dorson

There is no better way to start a review on American Gods than state the quote written at the start of Neil Gaiman's bestselling novel.

Synopsis: Shadow dreamed of nothing but leaving prison and starting a new life. But the day before his release, his wife and best friend are killed in an accident. On the plane home to the funeral, he meets Mr. Wednesday — a beguiling stranger who seems to know everything about him. A trickster and rogue, Mr. Wednesday offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard. With nowhere left to go, Shadow accepts, and soon learns that his role in Mr. Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous and dark than he could have ever imagined. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought — and the prize is the very soul of America.[Source: Powell's books online ]

The novel starts in such a low tone that I had to drag myself to read the first few chapters, but it's just right that it sets the mood for what the main character is experiencing. Though when Shadow starts to accompany Wednesday, everything turns interesting and very intriguing. As every charpter of the first part passes through, you get to see yourself getting more and more immersed in a world where the impossible becomes possible while, at the same time, the boundless is bound by the limits of the modern world.

The second part of the book, we get a taste of how our world would work like, reminding us that despite all of the possibilities, we still live in the same world that we had been before. Also, this is my favorite part of all the four parts since it helps us understand more about Shadow, what kind of person he really is and not a shallow person as presented on the first part.

The third and the last parts will be just a breeze, since one cannot stop reading or even put the book down. Revelations come after another until the ultimate sacrifice and secret is revealed.

If you are to think of the concept of the book, one thinks its impossible to be written, much less for it to be believable. But Gaiman is just amazing. He has made a feat that no modern writer would be able to do (yes, I dare say that, Stephen King). He makes this world of the gods very real, that one may even consider that it exist in our world. As I've said before, he uses magic to create a place where the impossible becomes very possible yet is still bound by the rules of the modern world.

American Gods is a must read, whether you're a Neil Gaiman fan or not. Five stars out of five!

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