Neil Gaiman's whimsical plot, rich narrative, and exquisite character development make what would otherwise be a pedestrian tale into a keeper. Gaiman says that readers tend to like the book or hate it, and I can see why. I really disliked the premise and the story to be quite honest, but I really liked Gaiman's writing style.
Philosophically the story is interesting - American culture contains a wonderful, bewildering patois of colliding cultural traditions, and at the same time the leading creator of culture in the world. Gaiman's story elucidates this cultural dialectic through a metaphor of a supernatural struggle between the many old gods brought to America in the consciousness of its immigrants and the new gods who had their beginning here.
I'm not sure I would want to change this story. Gaiman says in his author's foreword that the genre of the story is hard to place, and I agree. I'd say it belongs somewhere between fantasy and horror, neither of which genres are my ordinary cup of tea, but I enjoyed the richness and rhythm of his prose and the development of the characters.
The narrators are cast beautifully - their voice characterizations help to flesh out the already well developed characters.
This book stands on its own - a follow up isn't needed, nor do I think it would be even possible. That said, I could easily envision a podcasted panel discussion of the philosophical and cultural metaphors in American Gods and how they relate to actual cultural dynamics.
This is a good introductory book to Neil Gaiman that contains a Full Cast helping to bring all the characters to life. The book begins with Shadow being released from prison and he soon meets a man named Mr. Wednesday who offers him a job as his bodyguard. Mr. Wednesday is more then he appears as Shadow finds out he is living in a world where all the old gods and even new ones exists. So join Shadow as he rediscovers the world he thought he knew.
American Gods has won many awards including two of the biggest:
Hugo and Nebula
Neil Gaiman has also started writing the sequel to American Gods and it is rumored to focus on the New Gods.
This version was an extreme letdown after having listened to the audiobook narrated by George Guidall numerous times. The reading is rushed and flat. None of the readers actually give any personality to their rolls. The inflection, too, is completely off. I was very excited to hear the alterations from the original but was unable to get past chapter three because of the poor reading. I may buy this as a physical book to find the changes but I will, for sure, go back to listening to the George Guidall version.
I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)
Both versions have their own merits. I enjoyed both greatly.
Pretty much any scene with Odin. he steals the show frequently.
he adds emotional content and helps flesh out characters better than just reading the book.
Yes, but it is too long for that.
This one is a classic and should not be missed.
Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.
It's going to be tough going back to single narrator audiobooks after this one. Bravo to those involved with making this full cast production. Just very well done.
The story for this book was good and engaging. It had an interesting set of characters that were well told and well voiced. The contrast of god-driven mystical events taking place on drab parts of the American landscape was dramatic and even a little unnerving. It gave you this feeling that you might walk into a public restroom in a rest stop to find two guys discussing whether or not to have another biblical flood.
One major detraction the book could have done without is Gaiman's pretext of throwing sunlight onto a piece of the American soul. It strikes me as a bit shallow. It is perhaps a necessary condition that an author of foreign origin would focus on the things that make Americans different. In this case, Gaiman uses midwestern roadside attractions as settings because of the immanent power of those sites. This focus on the sideshows causes him to miss the real attraction I think. I wouldn't try to make a profound statement about the English by making a survey of Morris dances, just as the world's largest ball of twine tells you little about America.
It's too bad that he used those settings as an overlay (and I use "overlay" instead of "backdrop" intentionally) for this story, because it cheapens it a bit. I actually quite admired his treatment of American heroes and legends. The interplay of immigrant and native gods was relevant and insightful.
Fantastic. I generally prefer audiobooks because I can listen while driving, but even though the narration was flawless, this is one book that I might recommend reading traditionally. There were just so many great quotes and one liners, I would have liked to stop a few times and re-read them, to spend more time with the words.
American Gods covered just about all of them, old gods and new, through the story of Shadow. The spoiler free version prevents me from telling you who he is/why he's special. At first, I wasn't in love with it: Shadow gets out of prison, Shadow meets a creepy guy on the plane, Shadow's wife dies and he has nothing left. But when the story finally caught me, it sunk its claws in deep. I couldn't stop listening and loved the twists and characters and ideas. There's a reason Neil Gaiman is a bestseller. Wonderful storytelling.
The story seemed to bounce around too much. No real action takes place and the main character comes across as pretty stupid. I did not care for the ending, which seemed to not really tie things up and left me feeling that the slow burn of this book was not worth it. This book is rated very high and I came into it pretty excited based on some good reviews, so maybe it's just not for me.
Love internet shopping, from audio books to nail polish to silk scarves. Audible & Amazon are my go to places.
Gaiman is one of those authors for who I simply buy the hardbound when it comes out and I read and re-read these over the years. I was thrilled to find this revised production version of it on Audible.com. I may be prejudiced but I found this audio book immaculately performed and amongst the top of the books I've listened to.
I really enjoyed the variety of narrators-with a novel this involved, a multi cast interpretation is the only way to do it justice.Yes, it's long and quite complex, especially if you've not read it previously but it's well worth the time and any effort. If you're a fan of fantasy fiction, American gods should fascinate you.
A caveat: It may take a while to get into..because it is long and as a bit convoluted, you might not be grabbed in the first chapter..Gaiman develops his novels slowly-they creep up on you. I hope readers who are unfamiliar with his work don't give up right away..this book is a synopsis of past gods and goddesses from our ancestors and their plight in the world of technology.
For me, this is a book thats worth reading, and re reading again-I know I'll be listening again in a couple of years.
I've always wanted to read American Gods, but I never got around to it. So, I just figured that I would just listen to the Tenth Anniversary Edition, since it is much longer than the original. Although the story is good and Neil Gaiman is a genus with his commentary, I should had read the original first to know what was added to the new edition. I would had understood the story better and it's characters. When Stephen King first published The Stand in 1978, he needed to edited the book down to fit on one binding. Over a decade later, in 1990, he decided to published the extended version of the same book. From a reader that read both version, I can appreciate both Stands. I want to read the first edition of American Gods to learn what I'm missing.
So unless you know of this book you probably don't know what to expect and somethings might seem strange or weird. Put it down and come back to it later. The epic journey will be worth it.