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Anansi Boys (book)

Anansi Boys is a 2005 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It is a sequel of sorts to American Gods, but it’s more of a connection than a continuation. American Gods has a character named Mr. Nancy and Anansi Boys is about Mr. Nancy’s two sons. The main character is Charles Nancy, who given the terrible nickname of Fat Charlie by his father. Fat Charlie grew up resenting his father and has willingly lost contact with him. One day he finds out that his father is dead and that Fat Charlie has a brother. Fat Charlie is shocked to learn that his father was actually a god named Anansi, a spider-like trickster and a storyteller. Fat Charlie also finds out that his long lost brother is also a god named Spider. Fat Charlie and Spider have a mini family reunion, but Spider quickly disrupts Fat Charlie’s life and nothing will ever be the same again.

Fat Charlie makes a shady pact with another god in order to get Spider out of his life once and for all. But that deal backfires and sets the plot in motion. Fat Charlie learns about gods and the family business and the power of stories. I don’t even want to go into any more details than that because this novel takes you places that you didn’t think you were going to. All I can say is that Neil Gaiman has a way of making the fantastic seem completely plausible and that Anansi Boys will blow your mind.

It’s not as good as American Gods. But if you liked American Gods, you’ll still enjoy Anansi Boys. If you’ve never read either, start with Anansi Boys because it will whet your appetite. Every character, every paragraph, every line has a meaning and a purpose. You can’t read a Neil Gaiman book once. You might appreciate it after one reading, but you won’t understand it until you reread it.  You should probably read it at least three times to pick up all the nuances and subtle uses of foreshadowing. This is a great book and another triumph from Neil Gaiman.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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American Gods

            Don’t tell Harry Potter this, but American Gods is my favorite book. This is the book that I suggest when people ask me what book they should read. Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes about America better than anyone else. In American Gods he takes you all over America and captures the magic and mysticism of the US. It’s almost impossible to describe what the story is about without telling you the whole damn story. Imagine a road trip/mystery novel involving fighting gods and a quiet protagonist with a thing for coin tricks and that’s American Gods. It’s quite an experience.

            There’s this big guy named Shadow who gets out of prison and his life is in shambles. He has no job, his wife is dead, and he has nowhere to go. A mysterious stranger (it’s always a mysterious stranger) offers Shadow a job. And Shadow accepts and finds himself in the middle of a war between gods. There are old gods from Norse and Egyptian and Christian beliefs and there are new gods, gods of TV, technology, and drugs. Gods exist because people believe in them, they get their power from sacrifices made in their honor, whether you sacrifice your time, money, perform a ritual, whatever. Shadow and his boss go all around the US, from small towns to big cities and all the sacred places in between. He even has sex with a cat lady at one point, if you like that kind of thing.

            If that sounds interesting at all then should definitely read this book. And if you want to read it, then you might as well go ahead and buy it because you’re going to reread it. This is a really good book and you deserve good things in your life.

            Critically Rated at 17/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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