Book Review: American Gods Vol.1

Book Review: American Gods Vol.1

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Vol.1 (2018) is a graphic novel based on the novel by the same name. The story follows Shadow, a recently released ex-convict as he encounters a mysterious stranger who hires him to be his chauffeur. Wednesday, Shadow’s employer, takes him across the country to speak with many people in order to recruit them for a coming war.

Art

The graphic novel used muted colors. I think this made the story the point of the graphic novel. It was as if they didn’t want the illustrations to get in the way of the narrative. At some points, the illustrations seemed awkward. I think it might have something to do with the art style. I’m not a visual artist but if I’m not mistaken, the drawings might have been done in watercolor or type of paint that gave the color almost a translucent effect. It took a bit to get used to it, but the story pulled through.

Build Up

I’m a little conflicted about the story. I didn’t feel like a lot happened in the story. I got the sense that the entire first volume was sort of a build-up to something else. Most of the time Shadow and Wednesday were just kinda driving around and meeting different characters. It seemed like a whole lot of character introductions. There was a lot of info dumps as well. I get the sense that there is some symbolism present in the story, but I felt it didn’t lead anywhere. Maybe I’m not smart enough to connect the concepts to the overall story arc. Or, I’ll just have read the rest of the volumes to get the full scope of the story.

Final thoughts

The story is really good. The illustrations are not detailed and the colors are muted. I think this was done deliberately to let the story shine through, but at times it made it hard to keep on reading. I do appreciate the way they designed the panels and speech bubbles and text. There was a wide variety of panel shapes and I was never confused about the order I should be reading the panels. I recommend this novel to any Neil Gaiman fans, but if you want to read this volume, I recommend getting the first and second volumes so you can read them back to back. 

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