American Gods

By Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s command of metaphor and visual imagery in this book is absolutely stunning, making it a completely immersive fantasy without the Tolkien-esque bore of description taken too far. The mythical characters, since they are (so far as I can tell) all based in real lore, pose a fun intellectual challenge to the reader: you can read blindly and continuously, or you can read with Wikipedia open next to you, learning about mythology along the way. Either way, the story is engaging, surprising, and a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

My biggest qualm with this book is its sexuality. Throughout the book there are several graphic depictions of sex and genitalia which, for plot and character-building purposes at least, seem completely unnecessary. At times, these descriptions gave the book a cheapened, fan-fiction feel, as if the author was writing great stuff and then, horny, thought “Now they should have sex!” Additionally, the ending felt underdeveloped, unlike the rest of the intricately interlacing plot. Regardless of these features, the book with worth the time.