American Gods - Neil Gaiman

American Gods is one of those books that is on everyone's TBR list. It is a must read for all book lovers. Since I was able to pick up a copy quite cheap from Book Depository, I decided to read it.
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year: 2001
Rating: 2/5

Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident. 

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible. 

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same...

This novel follows Shadow as he becomes aware that gods and mythical creatures exist only because people believe in them. Once people stop believing in a certain god.. once time forgets they ever existed, then they no longer do. 

The gods of old are unhappy that they were taken to America by immigrants. A country which now worships technology and pop culture. People no longer believe in the ancient ones and they are slowly being forgotten. Mr. Wednesday has decided that they must fight for their survival and enlists Shadow to help. This results in a long journey for Shadow. A journey which is both of the physical kind and of self-discovery.

Honestly, I don't think I am equipped to review this book properly. I did not enjoy it. I have been unwell lately and it seemed that every time I picked up this book I was suffering headaches and extreme fatigue. I couldn't concentrate which made for a difficult read. I found myself re-reading the same paragraphs over and over again, not taking anything in. I missed a lot. In hindsight, I wish I put the book down during the first few chapters when I was struggling and came back to it later.

I really should have liked this book. It has all the elements of my kind of fantasy story. It had action (much of it), mystery, it relied on mythology and the stories of ancient gods. I like stuff like that. I have studied the ancient pagan religions of Greece and Rome through my masters degree. I love comparative religion both modern and ancient. It interests me. Just not in this book.

One thing that got to me about this book was the use of dreams. Sure, dreams can be a great literary technique to help the protagonist become aware of something and to push forward the story, but it felt like every second chapter in this book had Shadow dreaming. It was to the point where every time I spotted italics in the text I would groan. Not another dream!

To be fair, there were parts of this story I quite liked, some chapters had me turning the pages to see what happened. Overall I didn't enjoy it. 

If you like fantasy and stories that involve a variety of different mythological creatures then, in theory, you will like this book. Don't take my review to heart, read it for yourself. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?
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