I had high expectations but ultimately I didn't like this novel as much as I liked Ananzi Boys and the Ocean at the End of the lane. Story wasn't as interesting and I wasn't really sympathizing with any of the characters. Pace was a bit slow.
I return to this one every few years and just marvel at Neil Gaiman'd pure artistry in story structure and plot mechanics. There's precision craft at work here as the intricacy of so many moving parts turn like finely tuned gears powering a magical machine. The characters are as real as the real-life American towns, joints, and roadside attractions that Gaiman has populated this magnificent tableau with. American Gods is as fresh and inventive and relevant as the day it was published. #neilgaiman #americangods
Brittany (The Book Addict's Guide)
For February, I read AMERICAN GODS with my lovelies from On the Same Page! Alyssa is a huuuge Neil Gaiman fan and thanks to her suggestions I've read a couple of his books and really enjoyed them all so far so I was really anxious to pick up AMERICAN GODS which also incorporated something that I'm extremely interested in -- mythology.
The book follows Shadow, a now ex-con with nothing left to lose so he joins the mysterious Mr. Wednesday on a quest to gather up some other, er... mysterious persons (*whispers* gods) for an epic and un-elaborated upon showdown. Right away, the book grabbed me and felt a little dark -- a good kind of dark (wait, is there a bad kind?) -- and I was sooo interested in what was about to go down! The only problem was... I quickly hit a lull in the action. I knew right away that this was going to be a book I would really have to pay attention to and that's not a bad thing. It was more that I knew Neil Gaiman's story telling would be very intricate, along with several subtle clues to pick up along the way (I missed a lot but Alyssa is a mythology pro and she clued me in) so it wasn't something I could rush through. I tried to take my time but there was a section in the beginning that I was really struggling to get through. Thankfully it passed and I was once again totally hooked!
Mythology is actually kind of hit-or-miss for me as far as adaptations and retellings. I always have high hopes and I guess I never really know what to expect. Usually the more I know about the myths and the gods, the better the adaptation goes for me but I think the great part about AMERICAN GODS was that it wasn't just a retelling of the story of X god in a modern world. These were the real and true gods, brought over to America by their believers and then abandoned, not sure what to do in this new world with no followers anymore. It felt like a totally original idea and an original story, not just adapting one that has already been told many times before. Instead of knowing what happens and seeing how the tale was interwoven into the plot, I was following a completely new plot and had no idea what would happen next! I was always excited to see what new god or character would pop, how they fit into the plot, and what could possibly happen as a result of their presence there. Not to mention how Shadow might fit into everything and why he was chosen for this mission in the first place (literally one of my first thoughts when I started reading).
Naturally, Neil Gaiman let everything unfold at the perfect time. Everyone slipped perfectly into place, their roles and motives carefully revealed when the time was right. The magic never felt unnatural or hokey and he had me believing that these gods could really be walking among us, the mortals and non-believers of this world none the wiser.
It's hard to say too much about the book because as I said before, it's one best explored as you read it, allowing the story to present itself naturally. If you feel a bit of struggle, push past it because this book was definitely worth it! I'm really glad I read with Alyssa and Amy because I might not have read it on my own (one of the things I always enjoy about the books we read for On the Same Page)!
No, would not read another book by this author. The writing style is quite monotonous - arbitrary scenes are explained in painful detail that carries on and on - luckily Audible has a 30 second forward button that you have to hit multiple times to get back to the story. Big punchlines are glossed over, bit of an anticlimax - maybe it's the British sense of understatement. Also, there are references to a multitude of gods, but none of them explained with any meaningful detail, except perhaps two right at the very end. On the positive side, the narrators were very good and I would listen to them anytime again.
Entertaining, engaging, authentic
Absolutely not, that's 19 hours I'll never get back
This is a stellar audio book. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. Highly recommend this version of American Gods. The full cast production really added to the flavor and depth of the story.
I listened to this book because of friends and the great reviews. I found it out to be far too symbolic and not really all that well put together. Lots of short stories that mean nothing to the main plot. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone if I'm being honest