‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman is an interesting book. The concept is fascinating – Gods being powered by belief, living among us, and trying to remain alive in a country that no longer believes. The title, however, made me a little hesitant to start reading. But I am glad I did, and I am glad I persevered.
The book is hard to get into, particularly with Shadow’s story, but once you do, it is worth it. By the middle, I was so engrossed with where he was going that I found it very hard to put the book down. His character, personality-wise, is a constant throughout, his passivity to all that is happening to him is subtle, yet comes into play later on – even made a point of by another of the characters. This is a recurring thing throughout the book – things mentioned near the beginning, even in passing, are nearly always come back to and contribute to the story.
The command of all the legends and gods was pretty good, particularly since there were so many of them. This made is exciting to recognise ones that you knew and heard of, and interesting to learn of others. Some of the segments about the gods did seem a little out of place and irrelevant, even if they did give clues as to how the gods were living and surviving in America. I also wish that more had been made of the other gods. Wednesday got a leading role, yet others seemed set up for a big part that did not seem to pull through. And I wish they had.
All in all, I did find it a bit long and unnecessarily crude in places (although it did work in others). The epilogue was good but the final battle kind of fell flat for me. It was set up to be this world-altering event, and yet it had no gravitas, the consequences were not felt and it ended far too easily but somehow managed to alter the beliefs and ways of life in America. I ended it feeling like I had missed something. Despite that, I enjoyed it. I love twists on old legends and the concept had me hooked, as did the fact I wanted to know how it was all resolved.