“Pointed, occasionally comic, often scary, consistently moving and provocative…American Gods is strewn with secrets and magical visions. They cast a spell over anyone who has wondered why the world never seems quite the way one thinks it should be.” ~USA Today
“A fascinating tale…by tuns thoughtful, hilarious, disturbing, uplifting, horrifying, and enjoyable–and sometimes all at once, in a curious sort of way. Those who are familiar with Gaiman’s earlier work will find a satisfying yarn by a familiar master storyteller. Those who are meeting im for the first time may be surprised at just how good he is.” ~St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Gaiman has a deft hand with the mythologies he tinkers with here; even better, he’s a fine, droll storyteller.” ~New York Times Book Review
“Marvelous and indescribable…A story in which the totally unexpected consistently meets the completely inevitable, as Gaiman slithers his snakily poetic way through the labyrinth of the human soul.” ~Diana Gabaldon
I have one problem with most reviews. While they are rarely completely inaccurate, they never really explain the book or why it is good. Critics choose a hodgepodge of adjectives in the hopes of writing something that will seem insightful. While American Gods is all the things said above it is also a lot more. It is both a satyr on the state of America today and an a funny and horrific novel written for the simple delight of the reader. Instead of looking into the “labyrinth of the human soul,” it incites the reader to explore their own beliefs and think about the world around them. Critics tend to think in terms of adjectives instead of the feelings they describe. When I read a book, I don’t try to describe it, I just try to immerse myself in the story and experience what’s happening.
This being said, American Gods is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Shadow’s perspective of the world around him gave me a new look into my own world. I was able to experience feelings and thoughts that I would not normally think to consider. The show of a good book is that the reader can live in the world described without any connection to their own. While I am ADD enough that I did notice my own world, it was not in connection with the world in the book. Gaiman’s America was a completely different place. It’s like living in two completely different worlds simultaneously. You’re aware of both of them but neither has anything to do with the other. I loved rethinking faith based on what I read as if I was considering another’s arguments in a debate. I was able to hate characters as if they were a people living in your world and love others in the same way, creating a connection with the book. That connection is how a book should be critiqued and how a person should determine whether or not they enjoy a book.