Now a STARZ® Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber.
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.
But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.
"Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose—American Gods uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages."—Washington Post
©2011 Neil Gaiman (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
"This full-cast performance of the tenth anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman's American Gods (think director's cut) is one of the most mesmerizing audio experiences ever.... Ron McLarty plays a randy, crusty old Odin disguised as a white-collar con man to perfection. Daniel Oreskes's Shadow, the hero who doesn't know quite what he is, is masterful. Oliver Wyman, who did Mad Sweeney the Leprechaun, is a genius. Hats in the air for the whole cast, a flawless production, and a tour de force of a tale." (AudioFile)
I feel so alone in my opinion after so many zillion glowing reviews. But this book either left me cold or sometimes irritated me.
The endless fantasy historical mythology told by characters of whom I cared little. The repetitive dream sequences that were just a lot of symbolic images that went nowhere. Characters who talked and talked about other characters who were never in the actual plot. Most of the time I couldn't place where the characters were when they talked with each other. Which was a lot of talk.
I have listened to Neil Caiman's Graveyard in the past and I loved it. This was a big mess of a disappointment.
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.
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.
I was born in Wisconsin and spent every summer there until I was about 16. Many of the roadside attractions were favorite stops on the way up or on the way back home to Kansas. I vividly remember the House on the Rock on one such visit.
Growing up in Kansas the "geographical center" of the USA in Smith County was another familiar day trip.
From Chicago to Mt. Rushmore I have visited most of the places in the book and that made the story more interesting.
The premise of the story is original and compelling, a nice mix of mythology and magic from all around the world. It is the classic American melting pot told from a different point of view.
The production of the story and voice actors are excellent, making for an extremely entertaining listen.
I would highly recommend this audiobook for any listener, except possibly the children under 14..
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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