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REVIEW: American Gods S01E01 – “The Bone Orchard”

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Shadow Moon (Whittle) in The Bone Orchard

After years spent in development hell, a television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods, has finally premiered on STARZ. American Gods tells the story of the battle between the Old Gods of classic mythology and the New Gods of modern America (Media, Technology, etc) for the ultimate control of America’s faith. In this first episode, The Bone Orchard, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) is released from prison after the death of his wife, Laura (Emily Browning). He meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) and is recruited to be his bodyguard. As Shadow is drawn into this mysterious world, he discovers this may be more than he bargained for. Note: as the episode is already available on the STARZ website, there will be spoilers in this review!  (more…)

REVIEW: American Gods – Shadows #2

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American Gods: Shadows #2 is the latest issue of Dark Horse’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, American Gods. It, essentially, adapts the entire second chapter of the original novel pretty faithfully. In this issue, Shadow and Wednesday continue their conversation at Jack’s Crocodile Bar, Shadow meets the leprechaun Mad Sweeney and has an altercation with him, and Shadow attends his wife’s funeral.

I’ve got sort of mixed feelings about this issue. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s starting to feel like there’s no much actual adaptation going on. It’s pretty much a copy-paste of the original novel with some really beautiful illustrations added in. And that’s not a bad thing, per say. But it doesn’t really feel like we’re getting anything new here.
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REVIEW: "Anansi Boys" by: Neil Gaiman

Okay, so I really liked this book. It’s a massively different beast than American Gods, but at the same time, it very much feels like it’s a part of that universe. Anansi Boys is on a much smaller scale than American Gods was. While American Gods dealt with gods fighting against each other, Anansi Boys is an extremely personal story about the children of a god (Mr. Nancy, Anansi) connecting with each other and coming into their own.

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REVIEW: "Black Dog" by: Neil Gaiman

It’s hard to compare Black Dog with The Monarch of the Glen. They’re such different stories. But I have to say that I think I like Black Dog better. Monarch felt more like an American Gods story, but Black Dog was more engaging.

I loved the kind of ghost story feel it gave me the whole time I read it. Again, there was some nice development with Shadow, but I still wish they’d focus more on the whole son of Odin thing.

But I digress. This short is really good, it’s well paced, builds up tension expertly, and then resolves everything in a satisfying way. I definitely enjoyed it. Here’s hoping for a true American Gods sequel!

(4 out of 5 wands)

REVIEW: "The Monarch of the Glen" by: Neil Gaiman

Some amount of time has passed since the end of American Gods, and Shadow Moon has been traversing around Europe. He ends up in Scotland, hired to be security for a mysterious party held in a mysterious mansion. As always, all is not as it seems.

It’s an interesting little follow-up to American Gods. There’s sort of a throw-away reveal about Shadow in the story. Who he is. I wish that had been elaborated on more. Maybe that’ll be the topic of any eventual full sequel to American Gods.

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REVIEW: American Gods (Author’s Preferred Text) by: Neil Gaiman

As lame as this sounds, there’s simply not enough positive things that can be said about this book. So instead, I’ll give a few warnings. This book is a slow burner. You’ll be nearly a hundred pages in before you really have an inkling as to what the plot is about, and from there, the pacing doesn’t really quicken much. But that’s okay! It’s something that really works in the favor of the book. If you can’t handle open minded discussion of religions and gods, then this book is not for you. However, it masterfully and respectfully hands many mythologies and ties them into a cohesive, satisfying, engaging story that’s well worth the time it will take you to read it.

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REVIEW: American Gods – Shadows #1 (comic)

This first issue of Dark Horse Comics’ adaptation of American Gods covers essentially the entire first chapter of the book without any deviation. Much of the narration from the book is kept in the comic, done as word boxes on panels describing the action. The artwork itself is good. It’s definitely a style you have to get used to, but once you get used to it it’s really quite beautiful.

In terms of writing, it doesn’t seem like P. Craig Russell has done much aside from copy and abridge the original language of the book. Which is fine – it’s often better to not fix something that isn’t broken.

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