Book Review: American Gods Vol. 2: My Ainsel

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Vol.2: My Ainsel (2019) is the second part of the war between gods. This section of the story we see Shadow’s employee giving him some alone time while he speaks to several gods. He wishes to organize an army so they can stop the new gods from eliminating them.

Character Motivation

This is the second book in the trilogy and I have to say, I still haven’t figured something out. I don’t understand the main character’s motivation. The story began in the first book with Shadow getting a job from a mysterious stranger. THe pay was good, but there were too many weird events taking place. What I don’t understand is that no matter how weird the situations get, Shadow just keeps on going along. It’s as if he’s numb to everything around him. I understand he’s had a difficult life and he has lost much, but it still doesn’t excuse how he can rationalize the situation Wednesday—his employer—is taking him through. It feels as if the character is not well-developed because the money does not drive him. He’s aimless and at times it’s as if he doesn’t care what happens to him. It’s a strange way to go through life.

More Of The Same

This book fel similar to the first, Shadow is just following Wednesday around. He has really strange experiences and visions with various gods, but it doesn’t lead anywhere. I don’t discover more about Shadow’s origins, which at this point is the only thing that keeps him sane after everything he’s seen and lived through. Maybe I’m not smart enough to understand what is going on, but I don’t think there are enough clues for anyone to follow. There’s also many side stories the reader has to get through. Some of them are cool, they show you how fickle and heartless some of the gods can be. But the vast majority of them don’t drive the story forward. There might be symbolism in these short stories/vignettes but these don’t add to the story.

Final Thoughts

I recommend this book to any Neil Gaiman fans. I do admit this: Gaiman knows how to build a world. The illustrations are not as detailed as I would like them to be, but they never get in the way of the story. I was expecting more of the story, but it’s not bad. I’ll read the third one to see what the war of the gods looks like.

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