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American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)

Series: American Gods, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (50,110 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nightveil
  • Santa Rosa, CA, United States
  • 07-22-11

10 Years and Still a Fantastic Read

I read American Gods when it first came out and was amazed by what Neil Gaiman had done. I've been a Gaiman fan since his work on Sandman and understood that the core of his stories is almost always myth and storytelling. American Gods has these in spades.

This new recording, featuring a full cast, is actually very good. Some say that there is no life in the characters, but there is. It's set against the bleak backdrop of a war between gods old and new. It's set against the seeming non-involvement of the main character, Shaodow, who often seems to be along for the ride but ultimately acts as the one character the listener can relate to in a world filled with fantastical creatures called gods.

The first several times the cast interacts with the narrator can be jarring, but once the listener is used to the voices and the rhythm that builds over the first chapter or so, it becomes natural and the listener can get in to the story proper.

American Gods is dense. This edition has some 12,000 more words than previous editions. It is not a book to be taken lightly. It requires thought and it requires patience. Those willing to give it those things will find a solid, entertaining and thought provoking listen.

158 of 164 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Omaha, NE, United States
  • 07-27-11

New to Neil

I am new to Neil Gaiman's work. I once tried to read a Sandman comic and felt utterly lost, so I gave up trying. His recent work on Doctor Who and my membership on Audible led me to pick this audio book. I'm not a big fan of full cast productions either. I like the idea of a single person reading the book... but after reading the criticism and researching the different versions of the book for myself, I decided to give this one a try.

It was fantastic.

The voice of Shadow is perfect... as is that of Mr. Wednesday. It really helps the book come alive. If I had read it or listened to a single person voicing it, I may have gotten sick of the tangents that Gaiman follows, but since I had the numerous voices as sign posts on the journey, it really did help. They do a great job of setting the tone.

This book is like a dream you don't want to wake up from. It makes so much sense, yet if you were to try to explain it to someone, it wouldn't. If you expect something from it, you may be disappointed, but if you just let it take you on a journey and let your mind wander with it, you will enjoy every minute of it. Neil Gaiman knows how to get you to feel for his characters by making them a part of the familiar. This really is something I could see myself dreaming.

I hope HBO does make it into a TV show, as is the buzz.

402 of 432 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Timothy
  • Central Square, NY 13036
  • 03-02-12

Stellar Full Cast Production

This isn't a review about the story American Gods; others will do that. What I felt important to review here was the superb production presented by this very talented group of narrators. The characterization- depth, realism and building of, and ability to relate to -in American Gods is very well done, but the performance of the narrators brings them further, adding an even more complex and integrated layer of emotion and connection.

The main narrator is easy to listen to and warm to the tale- I felt the narrator was telling me a story of his experience rather than a recitation of another's work.

And of Neil Gaiman's own short passages, sprinkled thru-ought: an excellent lift from the main story, giving each break an ethereal yet distinctive separation from the main story.

120 of 139 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Will certainly be a classic

I really loved this story. My kids have been telling me for years to read it, and I finally got this edition to listen to. I can't imagine any part of it I'd hope to miss, and am not sure what the parts were in this edition that weren't in the previously released version, but again, I can't imagine I'd want anything left out.

I'm usually not a fan of "cast" performances on audiobooks. I like a single storyteller. However, this was really an outstanding performance - they did a truly great job.

88 of 103 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Plodding and Frayed Story

I did not like the story, and I disliked nearly every character. That is not to say this is a terrible book. It is full of obscure places and bits of anthropological American history which are fascinating, revealing how little I know of my own country. The prose is beautiful at times, direct, and not distracting.

The plot seemed more like a mechanism for the author’s rambling exploration of the myriad histories that have fallen together to create the scrapbook heap of America’s past. The result was not characterization of likable people but of characters who can pull us through the author’s expansive understanding of America. We, therefore, never truly feel attached to the outcome of anything or anyone (save for the few unexplored supporting characters), and even the anticlimactic outcome of the book only serves to underscore the unimportance of the plot.

Hence, the unexpected revelations that could be shocking are met with, “Meh.” I felt more interested in the non-central-plot immigrant characters whose stories skirted the edges of the story just as they skirted the edges of American society. The vignettes depicting them were far more poignant, more telling, and ultimately more revelatory of America than the rest of the meandering storyline.

I had held out hope that Shadow, our central hero, once awakened by the revelation of what it meant to be alive would actually come alive as a character. But he remained robotic. He developed somewhat by becoming more proactive and less reactive, but the proactive actions he took were not those of a living person. They were those of a character in a book who needed to wrap up the plot so that the story could end.

I like the writing, and I will come back to Gaiman, but this piece left me wanting so much more from him, his story, and the characters.

As for the narration of the audiobook, I liked every voice except for the narrator’s. He was cloyingly redundant in his intonation patterns to the point that it distracted me from the material he was narrating. He had a habit of raising his pitch at the start of a sentence and then quickly falling toward an aloof sarcastic tone at the close of the sentence. I found him off-putting. The other voices in the Full Cast version of the narration excellently portrayed the characters’ physical and emotional traits. I was especially fond of Hinzelmann, despite his dark secret because of just how effectively he was voiced; he also turned out to be one of the most complex and complete characters in the story despite his minor role in the overall plot.

67 of 80 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Eugenia
  • Chatsworth, CA, US
  • 10-22-16

Not For Me

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.

120 of 144 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Complicated-enjoyable, a champion audio book

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.

36 of 44 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carol
  • Massachusetts
  • 06-28-11

A Different Opinion

I haven't finished listening to this yet but wanted to weigh in about the narration. If you are one of George Guidall's many fans, by all means get his production. But when I first searched this book on Audible and found only Guidall's version, I chose not to get it because have never cared for his voice or performances. That is not meant as a criticism of this much-honored narrator, it is strictly personal taste and preference.

I like the use of different readers and in general think all four of these do a good job. This is an *extremely* dense and confusing book, and hearing different voices, at least for me, creates welcome breaks.

Whether this production will wind up being worth the heavy going is still up for debate with me. Gaiman's Preface to this anniversary edition characterizes it as "big, odd, and meandering." It's certainly all of those. He also acknowledges that some of his fans "really hate it." But there is a lot of interesting stuff in the book, especially for people who enjoy the off-center, the surreal--and the ineffable.




104 of 129 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I wanted to love it but didn't

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.

3 Stars

103 of 134 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Unbiased, Unpopular Opinions

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.

44 of 57 people found this review helpful

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  • Katarina Jonssson
  • 08-17-18

Lots, and lots, and lots of gods...

It's wonderfully performed and a really creative story but to be honest at some point along the way the various gods that flitted past for a scene or two started to blend into one another. The wonderful performance made listening enjoyable but the complexity of the story might have lent itself better to reading a physical book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Marta T.
  • 08-28-19

Great listen, story didn't quite connect.

The performances in this audio book are absolutely extraordinary. Unfortunately the story itself didn't do much for me, maybe I should have read it when I was younger, a teenager perhaps? No quite sure why, but it simply didn't connect as deeply as I was expecting it to. I do recognize that it is a good work of fiction and understand why it might have such a cult-like following, but it isn't for everyone. I did gretaly enjoy other books of his like Neverwhere so I had decent expectations. Can't say I was disappointed exactly, but there was just something I can't quite put my finger one.

I do recommend this particular version though, for the sheer genious that is the narration!

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  • Kayleigh NicGearailt
  • 07-23-19

Brilliant

Favourite book of all time and it's my first time reading it on audio. This is perfect. Full cast is definitely best.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Damien Callan
  • 12-02-18

Overrated

The cast's performances were remarkably good. Some of the mini stories within the book are beautifully written. Overall the main story is disappointing. With such high ratings, I was expecting so much more. :(

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cliona W
  • 10-27-18

I adored this!

I've always been eager to read more of Gaiman's work since "Stardust", and got this as a whim. I loved every minute of it. Shadow is an unusual but likeable main character. The entire novel from start to finish was an absolute delight and I'm just disappointed there wasn't more of it. Fantastically delivered, the cast's voice acting suited the tone of the book well and was downright phenomenal.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • ash
  • 09-28-18

Beautiful, great story, great listen, beautifully

Beautiful, great story, great listen, beautifully written, must listen. Six words remaining blah blah blah

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kurt
  • 09-17-18

Great book read by great cast.

Loved it. Got thoroughly absorbed. Listen every moment I could. The book and the cast were great.