Nikki is a horror novelist. Her choice of career is dictated by an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that forces her to write stories of death and destruction. She can't control it, doesn't understand it, but can use it to make money anywhere in the world. Currently "anywhere" is in Japan, hiding from her mother who sees Nikki's OCD as proof she's mentally unstable. Nikki's fragile peace starts to fall apart when the police arrest her for the murder of an American expatriate. Someone killed him with a blender.
Reality unravels around Nikki. She's attacked by a raccoon in a business suit. After a series of blackouts, she’s permanently accompanied by a boy that no one else can see, a boy who claims to be a god. Is she really being pursued by Japanese myths—or is she simply going insane?
What Nikki does know for sure is that the bodies are piling up, her mother has arrived in Japan to lock her up for the rest of her life, and her novels always end with everyone dead."
I have mixed feeling about Eight Million Gods. I really like Wen Spencer’s writing. and Eight Million Gods is very well written. For me the problem is the setting and how it works into the story.
Worldbuilding: Eight Million Gods is set in Japan where there are many, many shrines and gods. The interaction of the main character with the shrines the gods and all things Japanese is the basis of the story. I am not a fan of manga or anime and a background with those would make this an easier world to drop into. In fact drop into without understanding is how I felt. I just did not have the background for the world and was often left in the dark. At one point I started to make this a DNF but pressed on and did get more caught up in the story. There are many terms used in the story that requires a glossary and there is one on pages 341 – 355. I needed it more than once. Ir is a complex world that has the potential for many, many stories.
Plot: Nikki is the main character and she is what drives the plot. She has powers she does not understand. When she escapes a Mother who wants to keep her locked up and goes to live in Japan strange things start to happen. The entire plot stems from there. Look for a lot of danger, strange characters, many surprises and twists and turns. There is also some romance. This is also a set up for a series so watch for how everything’s leads to future actions.
Tension: There is plenty. The internal tension stems form Nikki’s need to write. The externals from all of the other characters who want a part of Nikki.
Characters: There are a lot and a lot of confusing names. Nikki is very well drawn. She has several friends that play a part. Each is well developed. There is some mystery about some of the characters and the bad guys are just that, bad
Writing: The story is very well written. As I stated earlier my only problem was a lack o backgrounds in Japan , anime and mange. There were some parts that were out of chronological order. That fit the story but could be confusing.
I will continue to read the series but it will not be my favorite of the books written by Wen Spencer.
Baen published Eight Million Gods by Wen Spencer in 2013.