Shadow was in prison for three years and could not wait to get home to his wife Laura, in Eagle Point, Indiana. He loved her very dearly and was looking forward to spending his first night with her. He had a very vivid dream a few nights before he was released and then he got the news that his best friend and his wife Laura met in a car accident and died tragically. Shadow's whole world crumbled has he realized that there was nothing to go home to. Without Laura, his life would be empty and sad.
He meets a stranger after release from prison, on his way home for Laura’s funeral and to tie up loose ends. Mr. Wednesday was a very charming man with one glass eye and an Armani suit. He offered Shadow a job as his bodyguard, driver and errand boy. Shadow very reluctantly accepted the job as Mr. Wednesday very cunningly convinced him why this would be great for him. Shadow soon learns that Mr. Wednesday is a sly old fox, very sneaky, a cheat and a Trickster.
What he thought would have been a simple job working for Mr. Wednesday, Shadow very quickly learned that there is nothing simple with that man at all. If anything, the adventure itself was completely out of the ordinary as they both embark on a journey to tally up and army the old Gods for a war against the new.
Gods, Goddesses, the very act of mythology is thoroughly interwoven in every aspect of the book. Shadow gets to meet these magical beings together with the readers whilst Gaiman transports the reader to the lives of the non-worshipped ones roaming the streets finding other creative ways to survive as they have been forgotten and thus been left for dead when the new Gods have taken precedence in people’s lives. The old Gods/Goddesses basic survival depended on their worshippers. Who are the new Gods and how have they taken over? Would their confidence in their overrule last? Would the old Gods come forth and take their rightful place in this realm?
This is one of the few books I have read, where I watched the TV show first before reading the book. I did find the TV interesting but dragged along a bit much to my dislike. I do suggest reading the book as there are many details especially about the Gods/Goddesses left out in the TV show, but to be fair, I think there is a Season 2 in the pipeline for the TV show and perhaps they would add more details. The TV show did deviate quite a bit from the book though.
The book started off with a great momentum and I loved the resourceful imagery that was displayed throughout the book. It was an intensely descriptive book rendering itself to much detail to which I found myself dozing off at times. By after halfway through the book I was ready to throw in the towel because I found myself being bothered, by then, by how many times Gaiman mentioned the looks and physique of his character Shadow by almost every other character that Shadow encountered in the story. It became long, boring and dragging. However, the story did manage to get creative again, repent and revive itself to a slightly quicker pace of enjoyment.
I initially thought it could have been that it was an Epic Saga so I probably felt it was a long book to read and then found myself thinking about other Sagas that I have read like Game of Thrones. Though Game of Throne was long and found it tedious at times, I remember still wanting to turn the pages as something vibrantly interesting was happening on every second page turn. With American Gods, it was a different kind of tediously long. Not to mention that Shadows character was not all that exciting and things became too mundane for a Saga of this expected Calibre. The promise of the anticipated Epic Saga was a tad disappointing.
The question is did I enjoy the book? Yes, I did enjoy it for the most parts of it and I did get engrossed with most of the details but the draggy bits did drag on too much. It was a beautifully well-written, semantically illustrated story which was very intriguing, and darkly interesting with many unexpected twists and turns.
A book like this is best read by an individual to have their own opinions formulated and gathered about it, so I suggest do not go on my hunch on the book. I have not read any of other Gaiman’s novels so I cannot compare it with them, but if I look at the movie Stardust characterized on Gaiman's novel Stardust, I did thoroughly enjoy the movie. Based on that I am assuming that Gaiman may have messed up a little in this book or his idea of presenting a book like this was to keep it relaxed and intense, giving the audience an illusion of weariness.