I’m trying to catch up with reviewing all of the books that I’ve read over the last couple of months, hence why I’ve been condensing them some what, as well as reviewing more than one book at a time. All three books that I review here are worthy of 5 stars.
First up is American Gods by Neil Gaiman, an epic, sprawling book. Where to begin? The first settlers in what was to become America brought their own Gods with them, but gradually people stopped believing in them, or started to believe in new Gods. The God of TV for example. There is a war coming between the old Gods and the new Gods. The main character, Shadow, recently released from prison, is offered a job by a man called Wednesday, who could be a God, most likely Thor.
The version that I read was the author’s preferred text, with an additional 10,000 words, and a short story, The Monarch of the Glen, tacked on at the end. I first came across the idea about Gods becoming normal people because no one worships them anymore in a Terry Pratchett book Small Gods. Neil and Terry were very good friends and collaborated on the equally brilliant Good Omens, so while they might have shared an idea, they took that idea in completely different directions. I noticed that American Gods has been made into a TV series. If it is half as good as Good Omens then I will definitely watch it. I suppose it all depends on whether Neil was involved in the script. A long read, but worth it.
Next up is Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I remember reading books by James Herbert and being told that I was too young, and then many years later being told I was too old to be reading Harry Potter. Don’t listen to other people; read what you want to read. I say this because some of the best books that I’ve read in the last few years have been classed as ‘young adult’. I loved the Mortal Engines trilogy, as well as The Hunger Games. Scythe is also a ‘young adult’ book. Set far into the future where death has been cured and people in theory would live forever. To stop over population, there are a group of people known as Scythes, who, for want of a better word, cull people, and when someone is killed by a Scythe they are not revived. The book follows an elderly Scythe who takes on two young apprentices, with only one of them able to graduate to a full Scythe. The book follows their story, how they interact with their families and we also meet a group of Scythes who specialise in large scale killings, becoming famous, almost rock stars.
This is the first book in a trilogy, but I have read mixed reviews about the other two books, with people saying that they go off in a different direction. I’ve not bought them yet, but this first book was too good not to give the other two a try.
Last but not least we have Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. Dark, very dark. I like a good dark horror novel or thriller, but this was a couple of shades darker than a black hole. In short, mass suicides. A large group of strangers meet up at Tower Bridge in London and hang themselves. Why? There appears to be nothing linking any of the group. More suicides occur. A policeman not involved in the case becomes involved. I’m finding it difficult to write a review without giving too much away, although not everything is neatly tied up by the end of the book.
Definitely not a book for everyone, and even though the material is very grim I found myself riveted. Definitely another 5-star book. I will look out for more gems from Mr Carver in the future.