I really enjoyed the story, even the stories within the story, the mythology on how "gods" weren't born in America, but traveled over with the people that came here. And how those gods slowly were forgotten and how new gods, created by the age of technological advancement, started taking over. American Gods is deep, heavy, thought provoking. I enjoyed the variety of colorful characters, gods of old (Egyptian, Norse, Biblical, Indian etc.) in disguise as humans and had fun figuring out who they were with the subtle and sometimes not so subtle hints Gaiman dropped along the way. Shadow, the main protagonist, was a very interesting study that I originally thought was kind of dull but ended up becoming a very well rounded character by the end of the novel.
My problem, thus the reason for the 4 star rating, is because, as I stated above, it was a labor of love. There is no doubt that Gaiman is a great storyteller, however, the story got bogged down with tedious details. There were parts I wanted to skip, but then I feared I would miss something big if I did. There were just details within the scenes that could have been cut out. For example, I didn't need to know that someone cooked Shadow bacon and eggs and how it was placed on the plate, and how it was placed on the table and what he poured himself to drink and how he sat down, and how long it took him to eat, etc., etc. Where the hell was his editor?
On the flip side to all the unnecessary details, this will, no doubt, be a great thing for the creators of the television adaptation. They have so many details at their fingertips to work with. I will also say that I look forward to seeing how they bring some scenes to life on screen. My favorite part of the story (slight spoiler) is when Shadow rides on the "World's Largest Carousel" and some of the magical creatures that are on this Carousel come to life. How are they going to show him riding a griffin? Or how will they portray some of the gods in their natural form, such as Ganesha (Hindu god, half elephant, half man) or the Egyptian gods Horus & Anubis? I definitely can't wait to see how they make these things come to life!
American Gods is a unique tale of gods, those that have been forgotten and those who are fighting not to be. If you have a nice chunk of time set aside to get lost in a story, I definitely recommend it. Even better, this may be worth an audiobook listen. Rest those eyes and let someone else take you on the journey.
Neil Gaiman's work has been honoured with many awards internationally, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His books and stories have also been honoured with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards. Full list here.