Saturday, June 07, 2008

31. American Gods

by Neil Gaiman

I'm not much for fantasy, but the premise of this book sounded interesting - the gods of the old countries have been brought over to America years ago, but worship of them has declined, and there is about to be war with the "new" gods of the Internet, television, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately the execution was disappointing.

I thought I knew a lot about mythology - and I do of Greek and Roman. The gods in this book are of all other origins (Norse, African, Egyptian, Hindu, etc.) and they are all in disguise. While I was able to figure out who a few of them were on my own (sometimes due to their aliases), it was frustrating to miss some of the subtleties of the novel due to my lack of knowledge. So, those of you with extensive knowledge or interest in other mythologies may really enjoy this book.

The illustration of a highway at night on the cover is telling, as much of this story takes place on the road (albeit by air at times), criss-crossing America. One fan has mapped it out and it totals nearly 23,000 miles. At times, though, it seemed that travel was the only thing happening in the novel, and I found much of the other action to be confusing.

If I hadn't been reading it for an online book discussion, I doubt I would have finished the book. Indeed, like most genre novels, it hasn't generated much discussion as yet, although the rest of the group is only three-quarters through it, yet a number of participants have given up on the book altogether.

This was my second foray into fantasy for book discussions, and I think it's my last.

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