Archive | May 2017

“American Gods” Book Review


Author: Neil Gaiman

Publisher: William Morrow

Type: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Mythology

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Synopsis:

Not wanting to give anything away about the story, all I will say, is that American Gods is the story of a war that’s brewing on Earth, in America no less, between the gods of old and the new gods of technology. Amid this growing battle, is Shadow, a recently released convict who finds himself encountering a strange man who goes by the name of Mr. Wednesday. What ensues is a strange and mind bending journey through the United States and all the ethnic groups and their belief systems which have created the country.

Thoughts:

American Gods is one of those books that I bought after my best friend told me that I had to read it since I love all things to do with mythology of any kind. After being told this, it still took me about a year or so before I finally purchased copy, selecting the 10th Anniversary Edition with the Author’s preferred text. It should also be noted this was the first book of Neil Gaiman’s I ever purchased for myself, all the other books I owned by him up to this point, my best friend (the one and the same) had bought for me as birthday and Christmas gifts. Yet, even after buying the book, it still sat on my bookshelf for another year. I finally picked up American Gods last month as I wanted to start reading it before the premiere of the television adaptation that Starz was heading up.

Having finished the book, managing to stay ahead of the show in my reading, my initial thought upon completion was “why did it take me so long to read this?” My best friend was right, I did love this book and it was right up my alley with my love of mythology and religion and how people’s belief systems not only affect them but society around them. For as Sam says to Shadow:

“I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.”

This book posed the question of “what would happen if all the gods of old were brought to the new world and found themselves being forgotten as humans began to worship technology?” and it summarily answered that question.

I loved this story and all the detail that Neil Gaiman put into writing it. The small vignettes which were inserted at varying points throughout provided wonderful guideposts to help explain how all these vastly different gods found themselves in the United States as well as an idea of how the different cultures worshiped their deities to remember their heritage and what they had been taught as children. Reading this made me want to read more mythology, especially lesser known myths and gods that aren’t commonly taught, such as those from Africa that are not part of the Egyptian pantheon. Neil Gaiman has helped to remind me that not only is important to know the history of a people and where we came from, but part of that is also knowing their cultural and religious beliefs for all of those help to form not only a society, but we as individuals.

In the end, I’m glad that I finally read American Gods, I think it may be my new favorite book by Neil Gaiman. I’m also pleased that I started and finished it before the completion of the show on Starz, although now I must wait patiently for some of my favorite scenes to unfold on the show. If you are a Gaiman fan and haven’t read this book, read it already! If you’re a Gaiman novice but love mythology, pick this book up. Keep in mind this is not the easiest book to get through, but persevere and push through and let me know what you think.

 

“Lake Town” Book Review

Author: Jane Redd

Publisher: Mirror Press

Type: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

Rating: 🌸🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

Synopsis:

Having had her secret discovered by the Legislature, Jezebel “Jez” James finds herself on the run and being placed in the care and protection of members of the Lake Town. Being forced to leave behind both her home as well as her friend and love interest, Sol, Jez travels to the Lake Town with Reuben and other insurgent members. The story proceeds to flip between Jez’s experiences in the Lake Town where she meets Sol’s brothers and works with the members of the town to come up with a plan to infiltrate the Legislature; and Sol, who staying behind, has been captured and forced to work against the Legislature by joining the Faction.

As the time nears for the members of the Lake Town to infiltrate and destroy the city system, Jez is faced with the realization that although what they are about to do will save the lives of thousands, it may very well destroy the Sol, the man she loves and cannot live without.

Thoughts:

As with the first book, Solstice, I really enjoyed Lake Town. I was very pleased with the fact that it picked up exactly where the first book left off versus days or even weeks after the ending of the first book. With the book starting off this way, I was able to jump right back into things without feeling as though I needed too much of a refresher course. I appreciated the alternating chapters and viewpoints between Sol and Jez. I found that the author’s decision to write the book in this way better provided a more rounded picture of what was happening in both societies and how the endless rain had truly affected the human race and planet.

I really enjoyed getting to see the infrastructure and governing system of the Lake Town and how the endless rains had affected their population. Jez’s introduction to Sol’s brother, Jude, was interesting and I found myself not trusting him for reasons that I didn’t completely understand at first. As I continued to read of the Lake Town’s decision to use Jez and the fact that she’s a carrier to re-enter the city and activate the generators, which may or may not kill Jez, I found myself thinking of the old adage, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Not wanting to give anything away, I will say this, I fell even more in love with these characters and cannot wait to see how the actions they have taken will affect them in the next book. I am interested to see if my suspicions about certain characters will proved true, or if the author will continue to surprise me. I must also say that if you haven’t read the first book, Solstice, make sure to read that one before diving into this. Unlike some series where you can come in on the middle and be okay, this is not one of them.