American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I remembered raving and raving about this book back in the day, reading it long before I read his Sandman and going... wow. :) And very wow.
Up to that point, we hadn't had much of the god-punk genre. I like to believe that Gaiman was the one that really popularized the whole notion and ever since, we've had wonderful, wonderful examples filling the market. Usually UF, quite a bit of other fantasy as well, and above all, our imaginations.
We love gods. We love stories of gods. We especially love it when we bring them right to our doorstep and give them humanity and then change us into something timeless and full of wonder and even a really huge dose of skepticism.
My second read of this book falls into that second category.
I've been all over the fantasy field searching for the same feeling I got from American Gods and I've found many great examples. Some, not as wild or deeply read, some deeply read but more humorous, others verging off into the straight creative realm that only shadows the gods we know from our own mythologies.
In the end, though, none quite have the rambling feel of discovery upon discovery, the search for self and identity, as this one.
The whole con-artist angle is was still as great as I remember, of course, and what a mind-job that was, but even after the main action was ended, Shadow still went on, tying up loose ends and going the route of discovery through the other main mystery.
What is it to be a god? It's more and much, much less than being a mortal. That's what I mean by skepticism. No matter how much power you think you have, it's nothing before a good con man. Or the idea of peace. There are always two sides to a coin. Isn't that cool?
Reflections and reflections and reflections. Of course, this novel is full of great characters and story, even better reveals and discoveries, but to me, the best part of this latest read has got to be its universality. :)
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