Neil Gaiman hitched a ride with me from Flagstaff to Los Angeles. It was a good trip. One I won’t forget. It’ll be forever remembered as the trip that I listened to American Gods (written by Neil Gaiman), on audio CD. To be clear, Neil wasn’t physically with me in the car. His words, however, were, and I really enjoyed the novel. The man reading the book was amazing.
The novel won the World Fantasy Award for best novel a few years ago, and I see why. I finally got the book and I’m glad that I did. The story is awesome and the scope of the novel was extremely impressive. Who knew that the ancient gods could fall so low? I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of the book, but let’s just say that the ancient gods have come to America with their worshippers. Now they exist as shadows of their former selves, barely gods anymore as they are worshipped very little, and seem very, very human. They drink, eat, love, and mostly steal. It was a fascinating book that follows a character named Shadow. Who is he? You’ll find out very slowly as you read the book—or listen to it. The novel is huge, but worth it in the end. It did have a slow pace most of the time, but I found it interesting throughout, even when the plot moved very little. I got a little sick of hearing about what they were eating all the time, but the detail was excellent. Gaiman’s ability to describe a scene is top-notch.
The social commentary in the book was brilliant and it holds up the mirror to America and shows us that worshipping certain technologies, (or personalities), has some serious consequences for all involved.
American Gods is a literary fantasy in my opinion, and I would recommend it to mature readers who want to see what all the fuss is about with Neil Gaiman. I knew he was cool, as I met him once, at World Fantasy in 2002 in Minneapolis. He’s an interesting and very charismatic man, and if you get a chance to hear him on a panel at a convention—don’t miss it.
Author of The Dragon Hunters
Book One of the Iron Dragon Series