What We’re Reading – American Gods

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I’d been really hype, I’d managed to grab tickets to a literary event in Atlanta and was determined to seem farther along in my business than I was at current. I was going to read up on black authors and authors in my genre, I was going to devour novels like a starving man stranded in the desert. I had been pouring over lists and catalogues for days compiling my shining achievement a Must Read list of 50 books specifically from the Urban Fantasy genre.

This is my swimming pool. I’m a fairy following, vampire documenting witch, with an affinity for the elements and an unnatural affinity for speaking to the GODS. I create them, and their worlds manifest themselves in my memory. I’ve traveled through earth, around it and above, my realm has spanned the cosmos and interrupted normal time patterns.

Yet, after spending half a salary on new books to begin my new expedition into a world of Gods and monsters I found myself staring at the same 3 pages for at least a month. I couldn’t get into the story, the character of Shadow didn’t really grab me. The mystery of American Gods was eluding me.

It opened simple enough , plopping us at the end of a prison sentence; we meet Shadow a young man who’s looking forward to a life of vanilla normalcy once he finishes his time for armed robbery. His wife Laura will be waiting as will his old job. He even picked up a new hobby, he’s recently become infatuated with coin tricks.

A few anecdotes aside, the first chapter or so of American Gods wasn’t enough to pull me in. The book sat closed bookmarked by a transpass for another month or so. Mid July I did manage to make it to chapter 3. The most profound moment at that point; had been reading and then visualizing a woman, who had literally consumed a guy with her womanly virtues. It was this moment that hooked me, i’d been dying to learn more about this Goddess, to discern why she posed as a prostitute and to discover who she’d really been.

Much like  during my time with the Nicholas Flamel series, I found myself researching the Gods origins. As mythic fiction is more my passion, seeing how others write it intrigued me. I’m still reserving all my opinions until I get to the end ofo the book, but the slow set up would definitely be something I’d change in my novels.

Gradually I began to see a true backstory, the world outside the world of Shadow the grieving convict. The world as it was for Wednesday his mysterious new employer. It’s obvious that Wednesday is one of the afformentioned Gods on the cover. He reserved in providing information but happily drags Shadow along to meet a hosts of characters. There is a significance in the coins that I feel speaks to Shadows true nature, but even now I’m not sure what or who he is really supposed to be.

Shadow wins a coin from a self – proclaimed leprachaun after a bar fight and he gives that coin to Laura at her funeral.  I am familiar with the tradition of leaving coins over the eyes of the dead to pay their passage into the underworld. However, I am unsure how I feel about gifting a magicalk coin to you alduturous dead ex-wife.

It seems to bring her back to life somehow, as Laura acts as a sort of ghostly guradian angel, literally murdering to keep Shadow safe.

I stopped last night two pages into chapter 7. The book has over 600 pages and I’m on 157. Originally I thoguht i’d be done the book by August and as of august 16, i’m about 25% through. Here are my take aways at this point.

There is an underlying war that may or may not be happening between the Gods of Myth and the new gods of what i believe to be “Technology” and “Money” or something along those lines. CIA style drones Wood and Stone beat poor Shadow silly during interrogation which ends with one’s death at the hands of Laura. It is definitely becoming interesting but it does drag a bit. I’ll continue to crawl through the chapters. I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

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