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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

American Gods – Neil GaimanTitle: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: June 19, 2001 by HarperCollins
Source: Gift
Genres: Adult, Mythology
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 23, 2015
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    Days before his release from prison, Shadow's wife, Laura, dies in a mysterious car crash. Numbly, he makes his way back home. On the plane, he encounters the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who claims to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America.
Together they embark on a profoundly strange journey across the heart of the USA, whilst all around them a storm of preternatural and epic proportions threatens to break.
Scary, gripping and deeply unsettling, AMERICAN GODS takes a long, hard look into the soul of America. You'll be surprised by what and who it finds there...

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For February, I read AMERICAN GODS with my lovelies from On the Same Page! Alyssa is a huuuge Neil Gaiman fan and thanks to her suggestions I’ve read a couple of his books and really enjoyed them all so far so I was really anxious to pick up AMERICAN GODS which also incorporated something that I’m extremely interested in — mythology.

The book follows Shadow, a now ex-con with nothing left to lose so he joins the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on a quest to gather up some other, er… mysterious persons (*whispers* gods) for an epic and un-elaborated upon showdown. Right away, the book grabbed me and felt a little dark — a good kind of dark (wait, is there a bad kind?) — and I was sooo interested in what was about to go down! The only problem was… I quickly hit a lull in the action. I knew right away that this was going to be a book I would really have to pay attention to and that’s not a bad thing. It was more that I knew Neil Gaiman’s story telling would be very intricate, along with several subtle clues to pick up along the way (I missed a lot but Alyssa is a mythology pro and she clued me in) so it wasn’t something I could rush through. I tried to take my time but there was a section in the beginning that I was really struggling to get through. Thankfully it passed and I was once again totally hooked!

Mythology is actually kind of hit-or-miss for me as far as adaptations and retellings. I always have high hopes and I guess I never really know what to expect. Usually the more I know about the myths and the gods, the better the adaptation goes for me but I think the great part about AMERICAN GODS was that it wasn’t just a retelling of the story of X god in a modern world. These were the real and true gods, brought over to America by their believers and then abandoned, not sure what to do in this new world with no followers anymore. It felt like a totally original idea and an original story, not just adapting one that has already been told many times before. Instead of knowing what happens and seeing how the tale was interwoven into the plot, I was following a completely new plot and had no idea what would happen next! I was always excited to see what new god or character would pop, how they fit into the plot, and what could possibly happen as a result of their presence there. Not to mention how Shadow might fit into everything and why he was chosen for this mission in the first place (literally one of my first thoughts when I started reading).

Naturally, Neil Gaiman let everything unfold at the perfect time. Everyone slipped perfectly into place, their roles and motives carefully revealed when the time was right. The magic never felt unnatural or hokey and he had me believing that these gods could really be walking among us, the mortals and non-believers of this world none the wiser.

It’s hard to say too much about the book because as I said before, it’s one best explored as you read it, allowing the story to present itself naturally. If you feel a bit of struggle, push past it because this book was definitely worth it! I’m really glad I read with Alyssa and Amy because I might not have read it on my own (one of the things I always enjoy about the books we read for On the Same Page)!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

American Gods GR updates

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Shadow // Character Obsessions: Laura, assisting Wednesday, going with the flow.
Shadow was a really interesting character. I really liked his laid-back demeanor despite his ex-con status. He was really fun to follow around in this book and I love what we get to know of him!

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Kept Me Hooked On: A modern take on mythology. I really loved this modern take on mythology without the book being a retelling. I really got to see the stories and histories in a different way and it also made the gods feel much more real.
Left Me Wanting More: Smoothness. Really, the book was smooth. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing — BUT there was that one lull that really took a big hunk of enjoyable time away from the book for me. I still loved the rest but I wish I hadn’t fallen into the doldrums there!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was SUCH an interesting story! I really enjoyed how creative this book was on so many levels and I just really am finding Neil Gaiman’s writing wholly captivating.

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BOOKS LIKE AMERICAN GODS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE RAVEN BOYS     THE NIGHT CIRCUS

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle Mead

 

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Mystery/Thriller, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 11, 2014
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

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GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is a little bit of everything… Part dystopian/speculative fiction, part paranormal, and part romance. This was the first adult book I’ve read from Richelle Mead so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I really had a lot of fun with the book although it wasn’t entirely what I was picturing. The book takes place in a speculative future world so I was anticipating more dystopian elements, but the paranormal and mythology-based aspects played a much larger part than I originally thought. My overall view felt more like a futuristic mystery with a touch of a DaVinci Code feel!

It actually took me a little while to get into the book because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Instead of diving into a concept head first, I had to feel it out a lot more. Since the only books from Richelle Mead I’m familiar with are the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off Bloodlines, it was a bit of a personal adjustment to fall into a new world with new characters who were totally unrelated. Not that it was a bad thing, but after reading nine books with the same theme and characters, it’s an adjustment nonetheless! Once I finally hit my stride, I was really starting to enjoy everything!

One thing that really appealed to me was the mystery of the book. I’m a mystery girl at heart so it was almost reminiscent of J.D. Robb’s In Death series for me — a futuristic world, a good romance, and a good mystery! I think if I had known the mystery was going to be so prominent, I might have fallen into the book easier but it definitely helped rope me in! It was very well put together too. I felt like I was getting plenty of clues along the way, but not enough that it was giving away the whole ending. Looking back once I finished, it was interesting to see how things had always fit together, even when I hadn’t known they were!

Another thing that really brought the book together for me was the characters. I loved the dynamic between Mae and Justin. I wanted them to get together and at the same time, I loved Mae’s constant refusal of his advances. It was a great back and forth and despite the fact that Justin probably annoyed Mae a lot, they worked together really well. The supporting characters were great as well! Each one had their own unique personality and played important roles to the story. I never felt like anyone was irrelevant and I just got such a realistic feel from each one of them!

The only minor complaint I really had was that I wished the book had started out a little quicker in the beginning. Since I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, I was a little lost in the beginning with who Justin and Mae were supposed to be and what their purpose was. Once I got into the groove of the book, things really started to come together and take off. The ending was great and I really loved how it set everything up for the next book, which I’m excited to get to shortly!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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It took me a while to get into, but I enjoyed the book overall! I think the end really helped wrap everything up and gave me a better overall feeling. 

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Mae // Character Obsessions: The fight, her country, her duty.
Mae was feisty! I really liked her character and I’m also so glad we got to know more about her past and how it really came into play with the overall plot of the book. She was very complex and she didn’t often react based on emotions and yet, they still affected her a lot. It was very interesting!
Justin // Character Obsessions: Intelligence, solving mysteries, citizenship.
I liked Justin a lot! He was always making me laugh and I love when intelligence and humor come together. I think he was my favorite character! He had a lot of heart and somehow a mix of determination and laziness. He was kind of all over the place but in a good way! Definitely a lot of fun, though!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The world. I love a story that has a dystopian US/North America. I wanted to learn all about the new world that Richelle Mead had created and almost wished there was some kind of Wikipedia page! I actually may go look now… I need to learn more about it!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. As a person who goes into books blind, it was a little difficult to figure out what the point of the book was in the very beginning and I felt like it was a little bit slow to start. BUT! Things were set up for book two and I feel like that won’t be an issue in the future!

Addiction Rating
Try it

This book may not be for everyone, but I ended up really enjoying it! It was a nice mix of genres and if you like mysteries, this is a good one to jump into! So happy to see that element there!

book_recommendations1

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Conspiracy In Death       First Grave on the Right