This was an interesting read to be sure. At times I really enjoyed it, at others not so much and the funny thing is that in both cases I don't know if I could really say why. The characters were dynamic and interesting. The story for the most part held my interest although at times I felt like there was a certain absence of an overall larger narrative connection. And while some people would likely argue that books don't always have all the answers we may want as readers, I think that the book could still feel more cohesive. I suspect that this book got away from Neil Gaiman a little as the scope of the story got larger and larger. In an interview, he noted that the book was released a year late and I can't help but wonder if things would feel more tightly woven together if more had been left on the cutting room floor. The interludes in the book, while interesting, don't feel particularly relevant to the rest of the story.
I would be lying if I said I completely understood everything. Without spoiling anything, I had particular trouble with the tree scene, having to double back on the audiobook several times before I finally just resigned myself to getting through it, even if it went over my head a little. Sometimes I do suspect that writers fall for the trap of throwing completely random and meaningless imagery into the mix whenever they write scenes involving a character having a "vision" because naturally everything has to be abstract and bizarre.
I was compelled by the notion of the gods of old waging war against the new gods of technology although I felt like it was a little strange that the more contemporary religions seemed absent. I don't know if this was some commentary Gaiman was trying to make about American theological beliefs but it would have been nice if this had been made clearer in the narrative.
The story seems to be taking place on two levels, on one we have a fairly straight forward travelogue/adventure story. The second more metaphorical level is a little harder to fully digest and I suspect that multiple readings are likely required to fully take in all aspects of the book. I do appreciate the authenticity he brought to the mid-western back drop of the story as the roads that Shadow traveled felt like roads I had been on many times.
In all, I enjoyed the book. I thought he did a clever job incorporating so many different gods from varying mythologies - I think that the main thing preventing me from that fifth star was just that the story felt disconnected from itself at times and ultimately, I think that either it needed to be a lot longer or a lot shorter.