Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American GodsAmerican Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I hate to write this review. I have avoided it for almost a week. I feel almost guilty because I know how many people really love this novel and I just didn't feel the same. I wanted to love it based on all of the great things I've heard about it. Perhaps that is exactly why I didn't like it? Were my expectations too high? Almost everyone I know and respect as readers loved this book and here I am giving it 2 stars. Yikes.

But, I have to be honest and say that I just didn't get it or like it nearly as much as everyone else. I read those reviews and think to myself 'wait, is that the same book that I read?' I think this book was conceptually amazing - the concept itself is fantastic and has so much potential. However, I just don't think this one did a good job turning that amazing concept into a good novel. It's not a bad novel ... it just isn't a very good one, in my opinion. I had to MAKE myself keep picking it up and reading. I really wanted to quick half way through but I stuck with it, thinking that something would WOW me. But, nothing ever did.

Neil Gaiman is obviously a good writer. He makes good use of mythology which is always fascinating to me. The idea/concept is original and unique. However, I just couldn't get myself to actually CARE about the world he creates with the old gods and the new gods. I kept thinking to myself: eh, who cares? Nothing felt compelling. Nothing felt anything to me but blah. The characters never really captured my attention - they were interesting on the outside but it felt like there was no there there, you know? They were like cardboard figures to me. I never warmed up to ANY of them, even those that I liked. I also didn't love the ending - and the plot seemed to meander all over the place for 3/4 of the book and then ended in a place that seemed silly and contrite to me. I don't know. I just didn't get it. It didn't feel impactful at all. It just all made for a very boring and ehh reading experience for me.

Given how beloved this book is by so many that I respect, I definitely recommend those interested pick it up. I hope you'll enjoy it more than me. I'm going to give him another try ... I have a few of his novels so I am going to give one of them a try and see if perhaps this one was just not a good fit for me. I liked Coraline and The Graveyard Book but didn't love them (solid 3 stars for me). I'm worried that Neil Gaiman and I just may not be a good fit ... but I'm going to give him another try because so many that I respect love his work.

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