Neil Gaiman is a fine storyteller. I'm just starting to think his repertoire of stories is very small.
To be clear, I liked Anansi Boys
(hence the 4-star rating). It's entertaining all the way through. It's clever, it's funny, it draws on a lot of tales mythology buffs will geek out over, and for anyone who liked American Gods
, it's basically more of the same.
Which is kind of the problem: it's just more of the same.
There are a lot of ways Fat Charlie is like Shadow, the protagonist of American Gods
, from the slightly daffy girlfriend who turns out to not really be into him to being a passive putz until he learns to tap into his inner divinity. Likewise, the gods are pretty much the same, just a different pantheon.
Fat Charlie somehow had no idea that his father was Anansi until things start to go south for him after his father dies. (Never mind the question of how a god can die.) His life as a boring London wage-slave with a beautiful fiance goes to crap when his long-lost brother Spider shows up. Spider is everything Charlie is not: smooth, debonair, irresponsible, amazingly lucky, and, oh yeah, a god.
When Charlie tries to get rid of Spider, who is ruining his life, he goes looking up his father's old associates, and that's when things really start getting crazy.Anansi Boys
, like I said, is a fun story, a fine work of modern fantasy. I just get a feeling of same-old, same-old with every new Neil Gaiman book I read. He's got a storyteller's talent but his muse seems to be phoning it in. 4 stars for pure entertainment value, but the levels of epic and wonderful were just lacking.