Of gods and machines

I was very lazy in writing my review of American Gods which I read with my reading buddy, but I was inspired when I finished reading The River God.

Let’s start with Gaiman. This was the second time I read this book. The first time I also read it with my buddy, and we wanted to brush up on it before the TV series comes out. I’m not sure it was a good idea. When I first read it I loved it, I gave it 5 stars, but this time around I had to lower it’s rating. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the book, but there are things that mar the whole experience.

There are some characters that aren’t really completed, there are some that are too prominent… But I have had a realization in the time since I’ve finished it – the fact that I forgot MAJOR elements of the book says something about my feelings about those elements!

(spoiler alert)

For instance – I forgot that Shadow is Wednesday’s son; I also forgot that Shadow hung off a tree for days and that Easter saved him; I forgot (the most telling of all) that THERE WAS NO FIGHT IN THE END! I asked myself often during the read, “How could I have forgotten this!?!??!?!” Well, I feel that my subconscious mind decided this was not good enough so it erased it from my memory!

That is the only logical solution (the other is that I am suffering from a serious illness affecting my memory, and that can’t be happening )

But, all in all, this book is still amazing. The descriptions, the conversations, the plot… Everything just serves to make you hungry for more. You read on and read on, and suddenly you’re on page 500 and you don’t even notice it. I love books like that. They swallow you whole and never let you go.

Just to prove this here are some quotes:

“Chicago happened slowly, like a migraine.”

“The moonlight drained colors into ghosts of themselves.”

“In the late afternoon the sun began to lower, gilding the world in elf-light, a thick warm custardy light that made the world feel unearthly and more than real.”

Now onto a lesser god.

Oh
My
God

this is the longest and the least interesting book I’ve read in years, and I like stories about Egypt!

The reason for all of this dislike – the ego-trippin of the main character! and since the book is written from his point of view (1st person narration) you can’t avoid the thought that the author has a very high opinion of himself. The main character is a physician, an artist, an architect, a strategist, an inventor of a more accurate bow, an engineer who sees the wheel for the first time and knows immediately how to improve it, a dramatist…. oooh look at me, I’m all-powerful … OH for f’s sake! Everything that needs resolving he resolves it. It’s not deus ex machina in this novel, it is “ego ex machina“.

I was looking forward to reading this. I thought it would be like those adventure movies about Egypt, full of intrigue and just a little bit removed from reality. This on the other hand is an exercise in reducing one of the most interesting cultures to one character and in the process making it boring and annoying at times.

I am definitely not going to continue reading the series.

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