I finished American Gods about a week ago. I definitely wasn’t incited to write a review. I decided to give it some time to see if thoughts would collect. Unfortunately, even despite a bit of effort, not much coalesced.
It was fine to read, like, in the moment. I wasn’t bored or annoyed or anything like that. It was entertaining. That’s pretty much the highest praise I can give it, though. When I try and think of a review, I find, I can’t really figure out what the book was about. And even while I was reading it I always felt that way. I kept looking for clues to the rules of the world, which there never really are, or clues to the giant metaphor of the whole novel, which if there is one, I didn’t catch it.
In the end I think it kinda falls into the category of soft sci-fi/fantasy. I call it soft because the fantasy elements are not clearly defined or fleshed out. Limitations on the fantasy are not set or explored, because that’s not really the point of the book. I think the point of the book is just to be an entertaining walk through the American Midwest and a brief tour of world religion from the rather creative position of gods being real. My problem is that the idea of gods being real, especially including “modern gods” like technology and media, is so interesting that I just wanted him to explore that more. Way more than he did, so I can’t help but be somewhat disappointed by the whole thing.
Still, he doesn’t avoid the subject, obviously. I get some exploration, and then some other stuff, which isn’t awful. And I don’t really know how you really test the limits of the “gods are real” idea without it being pretty generic or pretty stupid. Nevertheless, American Gods just seems like and okay book to me, nothing really great.