When I read that Tom Hanks optioned the rights to Gaiman's third novel for an HBO mini-series, I was intrigued.
For the past 10 years, like a basket of unimportant dirty laundry, my copy of American Gods has been resting comfortably in a box of 'to-read' books in my basement. However, thanks to this little nugget of information, I thought now would be the ideal to dust if off, free it from its cardboard confines and finally, delve into this behemoth of book.
Well, now that I'm finished, I have mixed feelings. Although I tip my hat to Gaiman for taking on such an interesting, grandiose idea, I thought this novel was a bit long, a bit winded and a bit (dare I say) bland.
Don't get wrong. The plot is very intriguing: the old forgotten gods of yore band together to battle the new gods of technology, television and internet in a no-holds barred final war. And you can feel Gaiman's excitement as the English-born author travels vicariously across the United States through the main character Shadow and his mysterious partner Wednesday in search of unknown, once-great gods to wage his war.
The writing is, as expected from Gaiman, excellent. But, I found the main character of Shadow a bit boring. I found the Gods not that exciting, much like the creatures from Jim Henson's The Mystics from The Dark Crystal who slowly ponder across the land. I found the entire book to be just 'okay'. Although important to the overall story, the dream sequences were a bit too much in my opinion. Maybe it's just me, but I'm just not a big fan of reading about character's dreams in print form.
I will, however, give a nod to the Gaiman's murder/mystery story within a story set in the small town of Lakeside. A very intriguing idea that could have been a separate book in itself.
Am I glad that I read it? You bet. But in a perfect world, this novel would have been about 300 pages shorter for my tastes.
Check 'er out...sadly, with reservations.