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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

American Gods

American Gods - Neil Gaiman I am not so familiar with the urban fantasy sub genre, I read a few Sookie Stackhouse books and one Dresden Files book, they are readable but they did not hook me into following their series. Neil Gaiman is a very different kind of fantasy author, there is a peculiarly whimsical tone to his narrative which I find very pleasant. American Gods is his best known novel, though his best known work may be the Sandman graphic novels (which I have not read). Deliberately meandering (the author says so in the Forward) the book is nevertheless immensely readable thanks to the author's literary yet whimsical (that word again) prose style, even the slow moving passages where nothing much seem to be happening are a breeze to read.

The story is essentially about gods in America, taken at face value it is an entertaining road trip through a fantastical world where gods are created by faith rather than the other way around. The narrative is mostly from the point of view of the protagonist Shadow who seems to go through life with excessive equanimity. None of the supernatural goings-on seem to surprise him throughout the book in spite of the increasing outlandishness of events. Some people I have talked to find him too bland or too much of a blank slate, I personally find him quite likable, especially with his fondness for coin tricks. Better still, the cast of characters are generally a weird and wonderful bunch, like you would find in a Dickens novel but weirder. Special mention must go to the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday and the even more enigmatic supervillain Mr. World. Less weird (but still weird) is Laura, Shadow's zombie wife who is not interested in devouring flesh or brains, only the welfare of her husband and going back to being a real girl again. She is the book's most sympathetic character, and also quietly, discreetly and politely badass when she needs to take action.

The aforementioned (too frequently mentioned) whimsical prose style makes reading the book a little like dreaming sometime, I was happy to drift along with it in no great hurry (took me almost two weeks to finish it due to lack of time). The book that follows this one [b:Anansi Boys|2744|Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2)|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327870211s/2744.jpg|1007964] is tighter, faster paced and funnier. Still, this one is well worth a read.