Today's book review is American Gods by Neil Gaiman.
I allowed myself to be scared away from this book when it first came out by a negative recommendation (birder2 hated it), but I've since decided that so many people like this book and Gaiman in general so much that I need to form my own opinion.
This book has very interesting ideas about the nature of gods and the power of belief; in the broadest sense they aren't new ideas, but Gaiman has a unique (at least in my experience) take on them. I find it hard to say more without spoiling the experience of figuring out what's going on with the gods, which is the core of the story. It's a well written story, with major plot elements that I did not see coming, but that clearly fit when they arrive. There is background Americana that makes me actually want to visit The House On the Rock in Wisconsin and Rock City at Chattanooga just to see if they're really the way they're described in the book. The characters are interesting, but for me I think the characters were the weakest point of the book; they did not live for me quite as fully as they should have, although I can't really put my finger on why. I did not find major flaws in this novel, and I think I can see why so many people think it's great, but I'm afraid I can't call it great myself.
A good, solid book, worth reading, worth talking about, but not worth a fireworks show. 8 out of 10.