Bay, Mark T. “American Gods.” Library Journal 126(14) (Sept 1, 2001): 153.
Gaiman, Neil. American Gods. PerfectBound: HarperCollins. 2001. 529p. Adobe. ISBN 0-06-001060-6. Gemstar. ISBN 0-06-001062-2. Microsoft. ISBN 0-06-001061-4. $19.95. www.perfectbound.com
Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader 2.2 Gaiman, the award-winning author of the “Sandman” series of graphic novels, has written an absorbing work that unites traits of fantasy, mythology, and travel writing, along with mystery, horror, philosophy, and black humor. After protagonist Shadow is released from prison early to attend the funeral of his wife, a mysterious stranger offers him a job as bodyguard and assistant. Shadow’s new employer, revealed as Odin from Teutonic mythology, soon draws him into a battle between the old and forgotten gods, brought to America by immigrants, and the new “gods” of technology, media, and information. The novel goes on to examine the roles of ancient beliefs and explain what happens to those who encounter American culture. While this is a great choice for e-book format–especially because the target audience, adults in their twenties and thirties, will be comfortable with the technology-the layout is rather disappointing. Blank pages throughout are distracting, and the font does not translate well to computer monitors. The story simply cries out for hyperlinks to information resources, artwork, and sounds. Still, the entertaining plot compensates. Highly recommended.