American Gods–A shadow of a story …..
To those who have already read Sandman by Neil Gaiman and are accustomed to his writing style, American gods won't be much of a disappointment. It is standard Gaiman: good plot, good writing, a mostly poor execution with a deus-ex-machina ending.
American gods is guilty of the same format. The idea of a war between old gods vs the gods of technology is admittedly intriguing and cool. If executed precisely, it could have been a thought provoking exercise on society's reverence & mad zeal for both and the profound implications it has on society as a whole and on individual people. But what we actually have is a shadow of a story(pun intended) which could have been great if it could have been treated much more seriously. Even the deus-ex-machina ending, which could have been made interesting with proper execution, feels like a dud and can be seen coming from a mile away. Provided, Gaiman has always been accused of using deus-ex-machina in a lot of his stories, most notably in Sandman and being accustomed to his style of build-ups followed by a deus-ex-machina ending, I didn't have to face the (understandably) huge disappointments as experienced by other people who read Gaiman for the first time.
American gods serves as an eccentric road-map for a "could-have-been-great-city". Gaiman also writes a few interludes with short story stuff on a few of the less notable former gods. Intriguing as it is, the fact that this does not add to the story in anyway hinders the already trudging pace of the story. My choice of reading the Author's preferred edition with its additional 12,000 words did not help the slow story in anyway either. As Gaiman himself admits, I'm not so sure of what has really been added to the story due to all this new material. Probably nothing.
At his best, Gaiman can write really interesting and magical stories like he did for Stardust(although it is only so in its illustrated version). But, as interesting a read this was, this is definitely not his best.