I spent almost a month finishing this book. A Neil Gaiman-book. I usually devour Gaiman's books like I'm on fire. But this one - not so much. It's the same trouble I had with Neverwhere: It starts so good, and the writing is so nice, but then... it just drags on. It doesn't feel very tight. Somewhere around the middle I stopped reading for two weeks. Just stopped. Didn't think about it. Had almost forgotten what had happened when I started reading again. That's not a good trait in a book.
The premise is really interesting, a book about old gods and new. I liked trying to figure out which god he was introducing, that was neat. I also like the parts set in the small village, and all the characters introduced there.
But the rest of the novel just seems so... slack. There are several parts I have no idea why was included. Several parts could have been chopped and thinned down severely. The ending was very strange; I thought the book should have ended three times before it actually did ("Okay, this is the ending. Good ending. No? What? ...Ok, now. NO?" etc).
I'm conflicted about whether to give it two or three stars. I desperately want to like it, because some of my favourite books are by Gaiman. He excels at short stories and young adult fiction (Coraline and The Graveyard Book are both very, very good). Novels... not so much. I was actually pleased to be finished with American Gods. Not a good sign.
I want to be able to say I liked it, because Gaiman is a good writer, his language is good, and generally, his characters are very well written. He is brilliant at description. And it started good - but dragged on for too long. It was just... boring.