This tome of a book, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, had sat on my physical tbr for quite a few years. My partner read it a couple years back and really liked it, and some other friends have enjoyed it. Olivia and Hannah read it more recently and despised it. So I thought it was about time I picked it up and determined which side I fell on!
Annoyingly? I ended up being pretty damn neutral about this book. I didn’t hate it. But I also didn’t love it. Yeah I know, frustrating.
I did think that the various gods we met throughout the book were fascinating. I adored learning more about them and seeing how Gaiman interwove traditional worship into the narrative. I also enjoyed a little mystery section we get resolved right at the end of the book (no spoilers of course).
On the negative side of things, however, there was absolutely no character progression. None. Zero. Zilch. Our protagonist goes through some weird fucking shit, and yet he barely changes at all. He doesn’t become a better person, nor worse, not even just different. He’s exactly the same. And there are quite a few points where big reveals are made to him about people/events that he cares about, and he doesn’t seem to react? He seems numb to absolutely everything.
In terms of representation, there was some LGBT+ rep through the book, gods from various different cultures and not just white/western gods, as well as some feminist messages. Conversely, there were also some sexist moments through the book, some of the representations of the gods felt a little too stereotypical, and there is some controversial language use in here (the N word is used, I personally don’t agree with a non-Black author using this, even if it “fits with the character(s)).
Another balancing scale of thoughts. The writing style. It personally didn’t engage me, I think think the writing was particularly good. But. The content was so interesting that I continuously picked up the book to read more than I planned because I wanted to know what happened next.
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 5, Writing: 6, Plot: 6, Intrigue: 6, Logic: 7, and Enjoyment: 6 which gives a score of 6.00 and a 3.5* rating.
Apparently I just wanted to agree with everyone? Both the people who loved it and those who didn’t?! This was just such a weird experience for me, I’ve never been so in the middle ground in this way. Have you read American Gods? What did you think of it? Add to my ever-weirdening thoughts on this tome!
Highlight here for trigger warnings: adultery, death, incarceration, murder, prostitution, racism.