Reviews By Sarah Roach
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I had put off reading this book for a long time. I had seen snippets of the series on Starz and they appeared to be comic-book-like. If there’s anything a classicist hates, it’s anything that turns ancient history or mythology into a watered-down, canned version of the original. However, upon finally reading the book, I was very pleasantly surprised. Gaiman creates a modern-day story that explores the meeting of ancient mythologies, such as Norse (especially Norse), Anglo-Saxon, Native American, and Slavic, in the contemporary American landscape. We meet Shadow Moon, recently released from prison, finding himself caught in a conflict between the old gods of mythology and the new gods of technology and media. As he travels through the United States with “Wednesday” (If you know Norse mythology, you will know that we get our week day Wednesday from Woden.), who has hired him to travel with him as he meets with the old gods to plan a war against the new gods for control of American culture. In the end we discover the special relationship between these two and why Wednesday has chosen him as his travel partner. The reader will recognize many US landmarks and find himself researching the different gods. I especially enjoyed how cleverly Gaiman adapted the old gods into modern America, in addition to creating modern gods. If you do read this book, pay attention to names and notice how Gaiman has made the attributes of these deities fit their personalities. I found this to be a very enjoyable book and for once, I learned something from a novel.