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.
The reading uses a full cast, but the readings are overacted and there are weird pauses between the characters that make the whole thing sound awkward and uncomfortable. I tried several times to listen and get used to it, but it is impossible.
I so wanted to Love this book its Neil Gaiman I really should love it but unfortunately this will not be on my list of favorite Gaiman novels. I liked Anansi Boys much better maybe it is because I liked Fat Charlie so much. Part of me did like Shadow though because; how confusing this must have been for him he is just along for the ride for the majority of this book.
Some major research had to have been done to find out about all the different Gods and of course Neil’s writing is great but I just couldn’t connect with this book it was way too easy to put it down/stop listening. There are parts that were interesting and parts that are cringe worthy.
I did like the second half of this book better than the first, but it still didn’t make me fall in love with it and then the end (prologue) got confusing again. I still love Neil and not liking one book out of so many is in no way going to make me stop reading him or change the fact that he is one of my favorite authors. In fact this makes me want to go back and read Anansi Boys again now that I have a little more background than I had when I read it the first time.
The concept of gods only existing because people believe in them is not new but the way Neil tells a story may be. There is so much going on in this book that it is hard to review or try to explain. There is a lot more sex and swearing in this book than I expected; yes, yes I know the gods are sexual beings but there are some very graphic scenes that I felt were over the top.
As I said earlier it is Neil Gaiman I feel awful giving this the rating I am giving and maybe after I’ve stepped away from it my rating may change or maybe someday I will came back and revisit this and see if my opinion changes.
I listened to the 10th Anniversary Full Cast production of this one I enjoyed all the narrators and thought it was very well done. Narrated by, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Oreskes, Ron McLarty, Sarah Jones and Neil himself and many more they mention at the end but this was all they listed on audible.
I love to read books; and now just recently I've discovered that audio books are very cool!! I'm also an author. You can find the SciFi book "The Curse of Europa" here on Audible or on Amazon.
The previous book I listened to took me about six months to get through as it just didn't beckon me to listen at any chance I could get. I would listen here and there but many times music on the radio won out.
Not with this book!!
Gaiman hooked me right away and I wanted to listen every chance I could get. American Gods was only a tad shorter than my previous book, but I whipped through this one in about 10 days (and I mainly listen in my car and during workouts.) But I did add a few hours here and there with longer lunches or listening while doing dishes, etc.
I'm usually more a SciFi guy vs. Fantasy, but I've likes all of Neil Gaiman's book that I've read so far.
I was expecting a faster pace more light hearted book
I didn't like the heavyness of the story
Voices were good,
the sex godess/whore
going to return.
I like scifi and urban fantasy. I don't like romance novels. If you are the same my reviews should help.
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.
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.
With a full cast it was easy to find the personalities of all the characters and to follow the action.
Whiskey Jack and Horus due to their humor and complete disregard for convention
Sam Blackhawk had a necessary youth but worldliness to her a well nuanced performance
American Gods: Faith is a Con
Neil Gaimon's first novel is a fine work steeped in mythology and twisted history. A circular vision reminiscent of the layered worlds he wrote about in his Sandman Graphic Novels. This novels only draw back is it tries to be something for everyone; a heist story, a buddy road trip, a mystery and an adventure all the while embroiled in obscure mythologies most of us will have to use wikipedia to fully understand. (I suggest you do this as it really illuminates several of the characters.) IF there had been a singular focus I believe the story would have been more compelling. I did laugh that there was a true denouement, an epilogue, a post script and an appendix. It reminded me of the master works of composers such as Beethoven who would write in false cadenzas to their works leading the listener to think the ending was imminent only to have the cadenza end unresolved and flurry into another cadence. American careens to an ending only to find us moving directly into an unexpected and unresolved portion of the narrative and then does it again. A unique structure that is not unwelcome.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
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.