American Gods: 2013 Book #1

1 out of 5 stars

Until I’d read this book, Gaiman fell into the same category as Dr. Who – something I’d never experienced, but was well beloved by many, many, MANY people. I won’t say I went in with high expectations – I went in with no expectations, I find that’s the best way to go about trying something unfamiliar.

With American Gods, I couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably be crucified for saying this, but the whole thing read like something that might come out of an undergrad college writing class. Where the author has always entertained dreams of writing something, you know, something really, really good – but ultimately never has that work peer reviewed or looked at by an editor. The characters of an ex-con, grifter, mystic women, villains who ALL are evil because they don’t care (and they do what they want) – it’s all so…stock.

I could not get into Shadow as a main character. It’s not until the very, very end of the book where he takes an active role in anything. For the bulk of the book, he’s along for the ride. And I guess I should care for him, he’s certainly been down on his luck. But I just don’t. He’s given up on life and merely blows wherever Wednesday tells him to, and I didn’t find that interesting in the slightest.

The concept of new vs. old gods was slightly intriguing, which is why I landed on this book in Gaiman’s catalog, but after experiencing it, he didn’t do it justice. The mythology of the old gods and articulation of the new gods is scattershot, which seems like was his intent, but it prevented me from getting into the conflict.

One book does not an author make, and I’ll likely give him another shot. For someone trying Gaiman on for size, I wouldn’t recommend this particular book.

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