I have finally, finally finished this book! This is a weird one because, to be honest, I still don’t know if I enjoyed it. It was a slow mover, it was exhausting but… I didn’t want to put it down. I couldn’t commit to any other book while this one was still part read. It was just there tormenting me constantly. It’s just taken me ages to actually finish the beast because, in sitting down for nearly a day, I only managed 50 to 60 pages – which dragged, and dragged. But then, even after 6 hours of slogging away I wanted to read more – and I didn’t really understand why that was the case.
I’ve loved previous works by Gaiman, which is why I picked this up as I just wanted to read more. Overall, I was really surprised as this book wasn’t much what I was expecting – but then I don’t really know what I was expecting as I went in to this relatively blind.
Initially, I flew through it. It was engaging, interesting and I wanted to know more about Shadow. I wanted to know more about Mr Wednesday. I felt there was so much promise there, the plot was interesting, I wanted to see where this reluctant employment went.
Shadow was an interesting one; I didn’t think he was particularly well developed until the last 200 pages or so. It wasn’t until the plot started unfurling that I realised just how invested I’d become in this character. He was quite endearing as a protagonist and I really grew to like him.
Generally though, I found most of the characters quite emotionally detached. In some books, that works but in this book? I wasn’t so sure. A lot of the characters felt soulless, and I suppose with so many involved in this book, they had to be to avoid another 200 pages!
The plot I could not have predicted at all. The twists and turns were magnificent. I just thought it was settling and BOOM something else, pretty strange, happens. Some of it made little sense to me, I wasn’t particularly keen on the ‘Coming to America’ interludes as a whole (there were a couple that I adored in spite of the fact they don’t really add much to the story for me).
For me, the best part of the book was the last 175-200 pages. It was at that point everything (or nearly everything) before it began to just tie together and make some semblance of sense. That eureka moment made slogging away for 10 days on this book so, utterly and completely worth it! The ending wasn’t a big YOWZA – it was a timid ending, it has to be said, but I felt it was fitting with the tone of the book. In finishing it, I almost feel a little bereft!
While I don’t think I actually enjoyed this book for the most part, I can’t help but say it’s amazing. I’m certainly glad I’ve read it. It’s very different to most books I read, it’s no where near my literary comfort zone and for that – I’m glad. It is, in most ways, a masterpiece. I can see why it’s billed as such. There’s so much depth and intrigue it just… it had me hook, line and sinker.
If the last 200 pages hadn’t have been as good as they had, I don’t know how I would feel about this book. Because up until page 400-and-something I was feeling quite despondent with the book. But the last 200 pages were pretty damn amazing, and for that, and how skillfully woven together it all was, the fact no end was left untied, I give it 4 stars!