American Gods has been reviewed literally countless times in both Cannonball Reads (literally countless because there is zero chance of me going back and counting every time someone reviewed it, not because the number is so large as to be literally uncountable), so instead of a real review rehashing the plot (Old and new gods hang out in the New World, cheating, stealing, fucking, drinking, and living off of whatever belief they can scrounge up until the war between the Old World gods and the New World gods begins.), I'm going to focus on a couple of things that stuck in my craw. Everything's a major spoiler, so don't read any of this post if you are thinking of reading the book some day.
What I don't understand is how Loki got to be head of the New Gods. The whole thing is based around the new gods coming to prominence and vanquishing the old ones, so while it makes sense that Wednesday would lead the old-timers, I am baffled by how an old god could get all the new gods to follow him. Unless none of the new gods actually knew who they were following? If Loki only worked through middlemen who were government guys, not gods, and he kept his identity secret to everyone aside from Mr. Town?
I realize that that is exactly what he did, which raises another question: how the hell did he get himself into that position of power in the first place? And why would the new gods listen to some government/private corporation middleman? I've never understood the whole "evil shadowy mastermind" process. That's something I think I'd be even more interested in reading than American Gods. I want to see how Loki made it happen. How he was able to get all of these upstart gods to follow some dude they'd never seen. How he and Odin worked together and against each other for decades. How and when they decided to put their con into motion.
Also, for such brilliant shadowy masterminds, they certainly did not spend enough time watching Austin Powers movies, because they fell victim to the oldest mistake in the shadowy evil mastermind book: revealing your plan to the one guy who can stop it, or at least letting the guy know that there is still something to stop. What if Loki hadn't told Shadow that he had managed to throw the spear and dedicate the fight to Odin? What if he said after Laura killed them both with the stick-spear of death, she snapped it in half and threw it over the edge? Or simply said nothing at all? Amateurs.
And Hinzelmann! Yeah, it was a good twist, as all of the twists in the story were, but are you telling me Gaiman couldn't have come up with any other way for him to meet his downfall besides reciting his entire history and reasons for the child sacrifices, and then WHOOPS it turns out the police officer was listening to the whole thing! What perfect timing that guy has.
Don't get me wrong, I really like the book. I was impressed with how every small detail tied together. I thought the mini love story between Town and Laura was brilliant. I love how I wasn't able to accurately predict anything. The ending was just a little too coinky-dink for me.
By the way, none of the tags for this post is a joke.