I agree! I loved Neverwhere and his kids books are awesome (what kid hasn't been terrified by Coraline?!) but I just felt so meh about American Gods. I loved the concept and all of the world building but it almost felt like there were TOO many gods in the story - I got a tease of so many interesting concepts but nothing could really be fully fleshed out.
>All I came across in the 70% of the novel’s span was just Shadow and Wednesday driving from one place to another, meeting very random characters, the so called old gods, and asking them to join their side on the impending war with the new gods.
This seems to bother a lot of people but it's also exactly why I love the book. The writing absolutely creates a perfect moodiness that is easy to get sucked into much like how Shadow gets sucked into the world (and war) of the old Gods.
>The characters.. there weren’t any real cherishable characters either. I mean, ok, I liked that Shadow was a nice guy and Mr. Wednesday was obviously the big dude of the whole thing, but no other character made me care even the least bit about them.
Not Anansi? Or Mr. Ibis? Or Laura? Or Czernobog?
I'm currently listening to it on the drive to work. Using an entire cast of voice actors makes it a lot more interesting. Not sure I could have stuck with it if I was reading the book though.
You're not the only one. The book lost me when instead of focusing on the gods the book is named after, it decided Shadow should spend half of the book in the middle of nowhere with a plot that has literally nothing to do with the main plot of warring gods. And then when it gets back to the warring gods plot nothing happens except "a mental shift in the world." Wow. Amazing. Real edge-of-your-seat climax stuff there.
On top of that, the book was never really all that interesting before the useless road trip. Shadow is the worst protagonist I have ever seen. His wife comes back and his only response is "Okay." Gods are revealed as real to him and his only response is "Okay." Anything happens at all and his only response is "Okay." Jesus christ.
And how about those short stories between chapters that served no purpose in the story except to make you wish you were following more interesting gods instead of the most boring protagonist ever?
I hated Ocean at the End of the line. Found American Gods okayish. And am a guy who likes Gaiman.
As someone who's not a big Gaiman fan at all, I totally disagree.
American Gods and Sandman are the only books he's written that have really resonated with me.
American Gods I fell into and enjoyed every minute of.
There's so much depth and complexity to the novel, and the character interactions are a joy. I found myself getting disappointed whenever the story moved from Wednesday and Shadow's road-trip to a more structured narrative. I also adored Shadow's stay in that little winter town.
I'm kind of amazed that you couldn't find any characters to latch onto, too—i thought Jacquel, Ibis, Sam Black Crow, Wednesday, Chad the cop, and Czernobog were all super memorable, well-drawn major characters.
And Sandman is legitimately a masterpiece.
There's so much going on; it's Gaiman using all of his understanding of myths, archetypes, and fantasy literature to craft his own grand cohesive mythology. It's amazing.
I feel like a lot of Gaiman's other work, though, even when aimed at adults, reads like YA fic.
Sandman and American Gods are the only books of his I've read that feel like they were written specifically for adults.
His short stories really tend to show the very worst of this YA vibe.
Honestly, and this is coming from a big Gaiman fan, I enjoyed the tv show more than I did the book.
I like the Gaiman's writing style, and really enjoyed Neverwhere, but yeah, American Gods I would say is a 'good' book rather than a great one.
Don't regret reading it one bit, but it's not something I would rush to recommend to friends. In contrast to most people, I actually enjoyed the Lakeside parts.
This is one of the most popular opinions shared here often, especially since the show came out.
Aren't there two versions of it? I have a vague memory of there being a super long one, and a slightly shorter one, and that the editing of the slightly shorter one made all the difference?
Actually you're in the majority here! I think a lot of people on posts I've seen on here thought the same thing. I especially did! I agree with you on everything the part about the origin of the Gods in the States was the best. I was super psyched because the concept sounded epic and then I read it in two days and I'm like "dude come on"I think this book had all the potential to be so much better than it was.
Yah the book was pretty meh for me to. I just didn't like Shadow, he doesn't react to anything in a satisfying way. The show does a much better job of this than the book. Yes it's realistic for someone to spend an extended period of time freaking out that they made it snow. That's a normal response. Book Shadow just floats through everything without a care.