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 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 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.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
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.
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.
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.
It took me nearly 2 months to make my way through this book and I'm still trying to decide if it was worth the effort. In the Introduction of the book, Gaiman says that he wanted it to be "big and odd and meandering." It certainly is that.
I did find the premise of the book to be original. When people from all over the world came to American from other countries, they brought their gods with them. Now hundreds and even thousands of years later, these gods are in danger of dying out and being replaced by the newer gods of media, technology, and the like. A battle is brewing.
Shadow, recently released from prison, is offered a job by the mysterious Mr Wednesday to be his driver as he amasses the older gods for the coming fight. As Shadow and Wednesday make their way through the mid-American landscape, Gaiman introduces a host of characters and places with only a smattering of plot to tie them all together. Here and there he includes more traditional stories and breaks in every now and then with a Coming to America segment that detail how many of the different gods were brought to this country. I found these the most interesting.
As much as I liked the premise, I kept waiting for something to happen. When the big climax of the book did happen, ironically it seemed anti-climatic. We went through all those pages for this, I thought?
I listened to this book via Audible. It is one of the first books I've listened to that had a full cast recording. I found that really disconcerting at first, not just because it was strange to hear all those different voices, but because the dialogue was so short, the voices seemed contrived. Later though, as I became used to it, I did think the voices helped me keep track of who was whom in the large cast of characters.
Overall, an interesting read/listen, but not my favorite.
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
This was my first Neil Gaiman book I read. I then read many others by him... then the Sand Man series and then everything else. Then I bought American Gods and mailed it home to my parents.
It's been about 5 years since I read it. I downloaded it again, because I had a lot of driving to do. Then I listened to it all night at my hotel. And I finished the book before I drove back home a few days later.
It offers a good view of someone trying to understand America.
I have heard other's complain that Shadow is unsympathetic as a protagonist. I kind of liked how he was so numb to how things in his life just went to crap. I liked how his view of his wife was of still love but rational of their situation.
In books and tv and movies, you go through a lot of death scenes and a high body count. But the death scenes that involved Laura... her dispassion was like a fairytale.
I enjoyed the audiobook version of this story, just as much as reading it.
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.
Like the previous reviewer, I say stick with the George Guidall recording of the original release. Mr. Guidall did such a fabulous, iconic job that even now, years after first listening to American Gods, I still have trouble accepting his narration of any other novel: I just hear Shadow.
But this version of American Gods has bigger problems than just not living up to the original. Mainly, I just don't feel like the actors breathe any life into their roles, so that the transition between speakers is jarring rather than natural. (Caveat: I almost always have this complaint with full cast recordings.) Most of the actors don't have a lot of inflection in their voices. The only exception is Laura, who is described as speaking in a monotone. Laura is brimming with expression! (Go figure, right?) Many of the gods speak in bad and inconsistent accents--while mispronouncing words in "their" native languages.
Here I take issue with the producers, who didn't do enough research to make sure their actors were pronouncing those foreign words correctly. I'm nowhere near fluent in Russian, but I know that it should be "Zorya PoluNOCHnaya" not "Zorya PolunochNAYa." It's DEDushka, not dedUSHka.Every time I hear a mispronounced word, it throws me out of the story.
The story itself is great--I'm a big fan of American Gods, and I was really looking forward to this expanded edition. But after this one listen, I'm going back to the original.
You know, I bet Mr. Guidall mispronounced some of those same Russian words. But I don't remember them.