The first Neil Gaiman book I read was Neverwhere, and to be honest, it didn't grip me. However, I was convinced to give him another go, and I'm glad I did, because American Gods is a masterpiece.
Neil Gaiman presents a world where Gods are created from the thoughts and worship of their followers. These Gods were bought to America in the minds of immigrants, but as time moves forward, and people lose their cultural connections with their homeland, the power of the old Gods such as Horus & Odin wane, whilst new Gods of Television & Media wax strong.
The lead character, Shadow, is caught up in the coming conflict between old and new, and the plot follows his perspective as he encounters the holy places and beings of America.
The framework of American Gods is the theme of Immigration, and how ideas evolve or are forgotten when transferred across time & distance. Woven into this story is a tale of love, mystery, crime & deception, and it all works together in a way that feels powerfully human.
I listened to this book in it's audio form, and I'd like to make a special mention to the quality of the narration. The bulk of the book is narrated by George Guidall, with several fantastic chapters on immigration being narrated by Neil Gaiman, and all of the characters are given their own voice actors.
This book touched on many themes I love, such as the depth of history, cultural evolution, mythology & folklore, and the whole thing was not only beautifully told, but often deeply profound.