by Neil Gaiman
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
432 pages; ISBN: 0380973650
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Shadow went to prison for beating up two men, but receives parole after three years of doing time. Because he is big and radiates a "don't mess" attitude, Shadow had no problems there. Two days before he is to be freed, the warden informs Shadow that his wife died and he can leave to make proper funeral arrangements. Shadow loved his wife and is rocked by the news.
When Mr. Wednesday arrives on the scene just before the funeral of Shadow's wife, the grieving ex-con welcomes the craziness that ensues. Mr. Wednesday is actually Odin and with the other ancient gods and mythical creatures walks the earth though no one believes in them anymore. Mr. Wednesday and cohorts are growing weaker and he wants to make one last confrontation for the hearts of Americans.
Neil Gaiman uses flashbacks to show how leprechauns, Odin, pixies other creatures of myth and legend other came to the New World. They traveled here in the hearts and souls of the immigrants. This pure epic urban fantasy demonstrates why Mr. Gaiman remains the grandmaster of the sub-genre. The Old Ones need people to believe in them again, but doubt they can achieve their noble objective. The climax is incredibly original so that no one will guess what will happen. AMERICAN GODS might prove to be the fantasy tale of 2001 as it is already that of the midpoint.
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