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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.

©2015 FreemantleMedia North America. All rights reserved. Artwork © Starz Entertainment, L.L.C. Starz and related services marks are the property of Starz Entertainment, L.L.C. (P)2001 HarperCollinsPublishers Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 2002
  • Nebula Award Winner, Best Novel, 2002

"Brilliant dialogue and profound insights into American consciousness show Gaiman to be a visionary and a master wordsmith." (AudioFile)
"Neil Gaiman enters Stephen King territory...with American Gods." (New York Post)
"A crackerjack suspense yarn...juicily original...Wagnerian noir." (Salon.com)
"By turns thoughtful, hilarious, disturbing, uplifting, horrifying and enjoyable, and sometimes all at once." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    4,312
  • 4 Stars
    2,155
  • 3 Stars
    1,046
  • 2 Stars
    432
  • 1 Stars
    342

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    3,250
  • 4 Stars
    1,153
  • 3 Stars
    397
  • 2 Stars
    100
  • 1 Stars
    79

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,920
  • 4 Stars
    1,151
  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    216
  • 1 Stars
    162
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  • Performance
  • Story

Charming mystery, romance and epic

I very much enjoyed the book; it captured me in the first few minutes, and I was sorry to finish it. Some books transport you; this is one of them; it takes you to a place that might be here and now; one hopes that it is. There is romance, mystery, and murder; the whodunit is quite good, and there are many twists and turns; a great book for a road trip.

43 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 04-16-11

Read other Neil Gaiman first

Reviewers have recommend that newcomers to Neil Gaiman not read American Gods first. I would agree. Not that this book might might be his best but it is definitely way out there truly defying classification or genre. The book is sacrilegious as all get out and that is fine with me but it has something to offend everyone somewhere in the book… and that's still fine with me. Just don't be turned off to the author with this as your first read of one of his books. The storytelling is just superb and again wonderfully executed by George Guidall.

I got turned off to the Wheel of Time series after about the fifth installment finding each volume pretty much followed the same formula and there was very little fresh. This is never the case with Neil Gaiman. Every book is a new surprise and it is hard to believe almost any of them are from the same author. One common denominator for sure, they are all excellent.

51 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I bailed after Part 1

I love Neil Gaiman, I really do, but I could not keep reading this. This is his "revised" version, which adds something like 20,000 more words to the narrative. Really. Too much. George Guidall is a good narrator and gamely tackles the often difficult text with strong characterizations and lively conversations, but it wasn't enough. I just found the story about demons and angels battling in the Midwest frustrating, weird and alienating.
I felt guilty giving up but I did. Life's too short. So sue me.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not For Everyone

If you've not read/listened to anything by Neil Gaiman I recommend you don't start with this one.

This book is much darker than his other work; though perhaps bleak is a more accurate word. The pacing is also much slower and it's not a strictly linear plot. Finally, there is a lot of swearing and some rather gruesome passages, but nothing I would call obscene.

So, why did I give it four stars?
The book is full of fascinating ideas. You can read it and re-read it and find interesting new things hidden around every corner.
The depth of the characters is very satisfying. You feel that they aren't just there to further the plot, but that the plot is there to explore their depths.
The main character is, of course, one of the most interesting. "Shadow" as he is aptly named, is not so much a reluctant hero as an apathetic one. After losing everything, he no longer cares what happens to him. So he plunges down the rabbit hole. As things get crazier, he must search within himself to find if can again care about himself or anyone around him.

50 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Muffy S.
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 11-11-03

A Powerful, Unforgettable Novel

This book is stellar, poetic, intense, magical, engrossing, perceptive, original, imaginative, bizzare, touching, and epic in scale.

Defies classification: Part thriller, part mystery, part fantasy, part road trip, part horror, part history, part comedy and just damn fine storytelling.

I'll admit to not having listened to the audio version yet (it's still downloading), but I INHALED the book. It immediately grabbed my attention and I was whisked away to a different world. The story is by turns funny, disturbing, poignant, uplifing, and always entertaining. Full of powerful imagery, months after finishing it I still find that certain scenes or vingettes come back to me out of the blue.

This is a book that will pleasantly haunt you long after you finish it ... lingering in the recesses of your mind to reappearwhen you least expect it.

101 of 114 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Aaron
  • Federal Way, WA, United States
  • 04-10-10

Perfect match of story maker and teller.

Not knowing who Neil Gaiman was, I immediatly suspected that the book would follow a sort of Noir theme with mythic references, but luckily it turned out to be something much, much better. The writing is this book is probably one of the best forms that I've heard or read in a very long time. Gaiman's writing has the amazing ability to be down-to-earth and yet spellbinding at the same time. His writing switches continuely from one side seeming as humourous and casual to suddenly becoming overtly graphic in an fluid transaction without destroying the pace or the imagery within the book. The real kicker though is George Guidall, and how he seems to literally bring out the personality in the multitude of characters. If you had to listen to something by either of Gaiman or Guidall, make it this book.

26 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • MOUNT KISCO, NY, USA
  • 12-11-03

Don't miss this one

Unbelievaly good. I didn't think there were too many original story ideas left but the author found a new one. This is not just a rehashing of old stories as far as I can tell.

Not only is the story great, the author also has excellent style and technique. Character development and plot advancement are smooth and compelling.

The author manages to introduce dozens of characters at various points througout the story and neatly wrap them up by the end of the book. Some characters were introduced early on and not referenced again for hours and some were introduced 2/3 of the way through - yet they all managed to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Often in a book with many characters the resolution can be forced - this wasn't.


The narrator was quite good with just one thing bothering me. His dialects were not always consistent and the differentiation of characters was a little challenging for him. Sometimes it was difficult to tell which character was talking. This was the only reason I didn't rate this a five.

His overall reading was excellent though, very dramatic and hitting the right emotional buttons.

This is up there with the best of Stephen King. Not exactly like King but very broadly in the same genre. As one of the other reviewers pointed out, though - this is fantasy not Science Fiction.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Noel
  • Lebanon, NH, USA
  • 06-27-09

A Powerful Story and an Interesting Analysis

If you love myth, you'll love American Gods.

I think that it's a story that you really can't love, though, unless you have some background in myth, how myth works, and the basic themes that surround the stories that are as old as human speech itself.

However, any student of Joseph Campbell will be entranced by some powerful storytelling and understanding of myth.

It is also interesting to see an Englishman's take on what it means to be an American.

The story's structure is fairly exact, but you don't catch on to what Gainman is doing or how he weaves the plot for quite a long way into the book. It seems like three or four rambling tales when it really is a single saga. And perhaps, given the fact that it draws heavily on the mythology of cultures that gave us the very WORD saga, that makes good sense.

As far as the audio performance, George Guidall's vocal characterizations are all very good, but his rendition of Mr. Wednesday is absolutely masterful. I always enjoy his narrations and this is no exception.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bruce
  • Knoxville, MD, United States
  • 07-20-07

American Gods is well worth hearing

I had never read this author before, but because it was an award winner, I decided to try it. George Guidall is always a great narrator so that was a plus from the start.

Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job creating memorable characters in this book. He both pokes fun at and at the same time shows respect to Gods and Religions as well as "America" with a capital A.

My only complaint is that in a couple of spots he gets a little heavy handed with trying to make a point about one thing or another. But since the author does this through the character's dialog and not in the narration, it is not very distracting.

I liked the fact that Shadow, the main character, really comes alive in his dialog and patterns of speech. I began to feel like I knew him, and what he was likely to say in a given situation. Since I am reviewing an audio book, I have to compliment George Guidall for enhancing this.

I was very satisfied with this novel, and would recommend it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent

This was the first Neil Gaiman book I have read (listened) to and I really enjoyed it! I was hesitant to purchase since I generally do not like to ready fantasy, but all the other reviews convinced me to give it a try and I am glad I did. It was fun to learn about the "House on the Rock" and "Rock City" in an all new context.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful