American Gods was not my favorite Neil Gaiman novel and it was far from my favorite audiobook. In my opinion, the story meandered a bit too far and the dialogue grew tiresome. American Gods struggled with identity: was it a murder/mystery, a romance, a redemption story or a con? I don't think the book was particularly good in any one category and it definitely struggled to be all. If you're looking for an introductory Neil Gaiman story, skip this one and try the Graveyard Book.
As much as I like the subjects of Neil Gaiman's books, I can't help but feeling like I'm reading someone else's fan fiction - which I have never found enjoyable, if not slightly awkward. Many concepts felt overly derivative and I wish there were more original content because I know Gaiman must be a very creative person.
I do not claim to be a good judge of voice-acting, but I found it difficult to enjoy this audiobook's cast. While a few actors managed to bring some life to the text, most lacked any enthusiasm or conversely "hammed up" the roles.
I would not describe American Gods as a page-turner. The wayward style of narrative was wearisome to follow and the large cast of characters was difficult to decipher, let alone care about when they encountered trials. For example, in the case of Mad Sweeny, I found myself shouting at the audiobook, "Just say he's a leprechaun already!" Instead the character takes 12 pages to tell us about his buckle shoes, drinking habits and penchant for coins. The whole book is leading to a large battle of the gods, which *SPOILER ALERT* never happens! There is a whole lot of build up without a pay-off. We never get to see god versus god, immortal vs immortal battling to see who will survive! Clearly this book was not for me and I am among the minority, but that's my opinion, so take it for what it is worth.
I guess I liked the premise behind the book but that's where my liking the book ended. This book was a complete schizophrenic wreck. The book is like lots of mini books in one, none are connectable. None seem to have anything to do with anything. It's like the author couldn't make up his mind & ultimately decided to pretend there was some deep mystical meaning behind this madness.
I had to force myself to listen to this book - hoping after all the hype, prologues, epilogues, appendix' & forwards it's be worthy my while. It wasn't. So I will think twice before I attempt to read or listen to another Gaiman book.
The narrators were very good - albeit the women all sounded the same regardless of the woman's age, very annoying.
It inspired me to return this book. I purchased it in June, I just hope it's not too late.
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.
Not a bad book, but not the glorious triumph of writing that other readers hyped it to be (those readers probably enjoy The Catcher in the Rye--my least favorite book ever). I enjoyed American Gods, but not enough to recommend it to anyone other than a serious Neil Gaiman fan (but they probably already have it).
I think I heard Gaiman appropriately use the word "meandering" while describing American Gods. I prefer a bit more structure to a story--not rigid formula, but more than a loosely-bound collection of things that happened. This style perhaps should have stayed in his graphic novels.
[Possible SPOILERS in this paragraph...] The twists were almost all immediately obvious--especially the big one, which was an early story-killer for me. As a result, I rarely got excited about what might happen, or felt consequences would matter. The protagonist's reaction to everything was so naive, I couldn't really see him as a real person.
Then, it got all artsy-fartsy with metaphysical philosophy, symbolism & that other stuff that feels like a cop-out when it's used an as explanation without clear parameters. "It happened, bcuz magic, bro." Yes, the universe exists on a single blade of grass... I get it.
It's an entertaining tale with some interesting characters, but felt like more of a shell than a story. I don't regret getting it, but couldn't urge anyone else to do the same.
A fantastic read that still has me thinking about it months later. You may need a second listen just to make sure you didn't miss anything. A truly great novel
My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.
I really have nothing negative or positive to say about this book. Honestly, it's just not my cup of tea. There's nothing significantly grand with the writing, but it is not terrible either. I guess I just couldn't get into it.
I kept waiting for this book to capture me, but after about 9.5 hours, I just gave up. I read a lot of history, philosophy, science-fiction, and baseball (nothing of these subjects in American Gods) but I just found nothing of interest in this book; others may.
I did enjoy the full cast production, but gave it only four stars since I just finished Ender's Game full-cast production and enjoyed it much more.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
I don’t believe in gods, or life after death, so I found it hard to ‘believe’ this novel. The characters, dialogue and narration are all excellent, and it’s quite a good story too, except that some of it takes place in a nether World where gods do battle and where our (mortal) hero is able to participate despite being dead.
The story begins prosaically enough, with our hero, Shadow, nearing the end of his prison sentence. He is paroled and is met by Wednesday, a grifter (aka the god, Odin) who offers Shadow a job as his henchman. Shadow’s wife, Laura, dies in a car crash, but that doesn’t stop her ghost or corpse or whatever from participating further in the story, as a kind of guardian angel for Shadow.
So Shadow goes on a journey around America and meets lots of other people and gods as we head towards a climactic battle between the ancient and the modern gods in the Pantheon. It’s very much like a Quentin Tarantino film in the way that quirky characters use snappy streetwise dialogue and engage in a lot of violence, but with a few Norse Gods thrown in for good measure.
It seems as if this book was written to answer the difficult question: ‘what happened to all the gods that all the various immigrants believed in when they came to America?’ Well…what really happened was nothing, they never existed and the immigrants, or their descendants, forgot about them. But in this book they exist and have a battle with modern gods, and I don’t really see the point of it all, except that it was an OK listen because of the good characters, situations and interactions.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
I hope I can return this audiobook - I've struggled through almost 4.5 hours of it, hoping that the story would kick in and get my interest - but it's not happening. And, it is a 19 hour book and I have no interest in investing any more time into this.
The main character is so 2-dimensional that it is hard to have any empathy with him. The story is dark and the descriptions of scenery and events and people just need something . . . more . . . to be interesting.
I see that this book got many awards - maybe the good stuff comes further into the story - but no more for me thank-you-very-much. Not every book works for every reader / listener, and in this case, it just didn't work out. Even the much praised multi-cast reading is just okay.
For 4.5 hours of time, not much has happened of any interest in this story, and there's no point in going further.
This is an extraordinary production of an extraordinary book. Listening was an experience I knew would have to end, but I wished it would not. Shadow, Laura, Wednesday, Sam, and Czernobog were especially memorable, but what impressed me most were the minor characters, each pitch-perfect. The weakest link was perhaps the narrator, but he was fine, just not perhaps what might be hoped. Neil Gaiman's own participation on Coming to America segments and supplementary material was especially welcome. Listen, and perhaps, just a bit, believe.
I love any great story, but listen to a lot of scifi, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, and young adult fiction. Listener for 2 decades.
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.