American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
My tip for anyone wanting to dive into this book is that you have to give this one time. This was my second attempt in reading American Gods, the first being unsuccessful, but I saw the trailers for the new TV show and they looked so cool and I figured that I needed to read this one before the show. You have to stick with this book, the first 100 or so pages move slowly. Characters and relationships need to be established, the mythos of the world needs to be explained. And once it has been, once you're there this truly is a wonderful, wild ride.
Gaiman never disappoints. The man is a genius of world building as well as sentence crafting. Although, this was not my favorite Gaiman novel. I much prefer The Ocean at the End of the Lane or Neverwhere. This book isn't bad, just different from those two. And I do appreciate that Gaiman tries something different every time he puts pen to paper. He doesn't do these long series because he knows they will be a sure thing.
The thing I liked most about American Gods was the mythos, the idea that gods are brought across the ocean with the people who traveled to America and then lose power and eventually waste away from lack of worship. That idea is fascinating. I also really enjoyed the characters of Shadow and Wednesday--what a great pair! They will go down as one of the great literary relationships of all time.
But, and there always has to be a but, the book does move slowly at times. There are vast expanses of pages where not much is happening. It feels like everything is growing to a massive event, the storm is building, and then we have these sections where we leave that anticipation for walking around a quiet town, waiting for Wednesday to call. It became a bit frustrating. The Shadow as Christ figure part got pretty difficult to conceptualize too. Finally, there are so many gods in this book and it really helps if you know a little bit about their background. Who they are. Names are going to be flying by your head and you really should do yourself a favor and look them up while you are reading. It helps with the enjoyment of the book immensely.
Overall, a pretty fun read. And now I am prepared to watch the TV show. Here to hoping it's good.
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