This is a review I wanted to write for a long time. Today, I’m going to do it and it’s replacing the quick and dirty review I wrote almost two years a...moreThis is a review I wanted to write for a long time. Today, I’m going to do it and it’s replacing the quick and dirty review I wrote almost two years ago and was by means doing this book justice.
I recently decided to read American Gods again and I figured that it was a good idea to get the 10th Anniversary Edition containing the “Author’s Preferred Text” and this version I am going to refer to.
There are a lot of different stories in American Gods. And with that, I don’t refer to the many interludes and sketches Gaiman includes. American Gods is, at the same time, part collection of myths, road-trip story, crime thriller and it even adds in a little bit of cyberpunk.
Our main protagonist in the vast world of American Gods is Shadow, an ex-convict that has done his time and gets released from prison within the first couple of pages into the book. Two days before his release, his wife Laura dies in car crash. On his way home, Shadow encounters Mr. Wednesday (whose identity becames pretty clear soon) who offers him a job.
To call Shadow a main character seems odd. He is not really developed well and lacks depth. However, he provides us with a POV throughout the book that allows us to take a closer look at the real stars: The gods, the old ones and the new.
I am not going to disclose the gods involved in American Gods. I feel like one of the pleasures of American Gods is to figure out, who you are dealing with right now. The identity of one god in particular, whose appearance and name fade from memory nearly instantly, has not been publicly disclosed by Gaiman up to this day and remains subject to intense debates. Others, such as the aforementioned Wednesday, are fairly easy to identify. Most of them are viable characters, which does not necessarily mean likeable.
What I personally really liked about American Gods is it’s pace. If you are looking for a lot of action or plenty of confrontations, this is probably not the book for you. If you are looking for a plot, that slowly unfolds, American Gods is right down your alley. Some strings disappear at some point in the book, only to re-appear gloriously later on. Other bits of information are just entertaining sidenotes. Also, as in a lot of Gaiman’s books (particularly Anansi Boys), there is an peculiar amount of strange coincidences involving the whereabouts of the characters. While this might put some people off (”What are the odds?!”), this is a book about gods after all. I think I can live with a decreased amount of rational explainability for once.
The secret star of American Gods for me was not a god though. It was the small town of Lakeside, a town that could easily appear in a Stephen King story and has his own vicious mystery to be revealed. Being European and having travelled to places like Lakeside, this is what American legends are made of. Especially the creepy ones.
Did I like American Gods? Yes. To me, it’s an incredible work of literature that I admire for several reasons. The writing is elegant, the plot is complex enough but still intriguing and the characters will stick with you for quite a while, at least they did with me. Following the premise of the book, American Gods may quite well have bought a couple of years of remembrance for some almost-forgotten gods.(less)
While the book demonstrates the basic concept of social engineering quite well, it would never have got so much attention if Mitnick's name wasn't on...moreWhile the book demonstrates the basic concept of social engineering quite well, it would never have got so much attention if Mitnick's name wasn't on the cover. It's okay, but it's not extraordinary.(less)
I knew Wheaton from TNG, but I didn't really notice him until he appeared on two (amazing) episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" as Sheldon Coopers Nemesi...moreI knew Wheaton from TNG, but I didn't really notice him until he appeared on two (amazing) episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" as Sheldon Coopers Nemesis - himself. So after I started to read Wils Twitter Feed and read some of his blog posts, I stumbled upon this book on Amazon.
What really impresses me about Wil is, that he manages to be very open and honest, when it comes to telling stories. It's not one of those "Look at me, I'm a freaking rockstar, bitches!" biographies, but a more personal, "Hey, I'm a regular guy doing interesting stuff" bunch of stories. As a nice bonus, there is some nice Trek trivia to be found for those who are into this.
Just a Geek is a nice read. It gets a bit repetitive in some parts, as Wil happens to struggle with the same problems at different points, but apart from that, it's a nice insight into the life of an interesting guy. A guy, who might be a lot of things, but still remains "just a geek" - in a good way.(less)