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

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

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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

What the Critics Say

"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

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  •  
    Jonathan Love CLEARFIELD, UT, United States 06-23-16
    Jonathan Love CLEARFIELD, UT, United States 06-23-16 Member Since 2016

    My two favorite topics are Baseball and Military History. But my favorite books of all time are Starship Troopers and Ready Player One.

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    "Not saying this is a bad book, but..."

    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.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nosh F. 05-11-16
    Nosh F. 05-11-16 Member Since 2017
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    "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.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gord Okotoks, AB, Canada 09-03-11
    Gord Okotoks, AB, Canada 09-03-11

    Avid reader/listener of just about anything.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The story is the star"

    American Gods has rested firmly in my all time top-5 list of favorite books since I first read it 10 years ago. With this in mind, I admit a certain amount of trepidation going into this book based on some of the early reviews of the full-cast performance. All doubts were cast aside the moment I heard the voice of Wednesday as it seemed to sound just as I had imagined. All in all I felt the performance was quite good and certainly did not detract from the story.

    As for the story itself, Gaiman's imagination has never let me down and this is no exception. Just like when I read it, I simply could not stop listening, hanging on Shadow's every word and finishing the book in less than a week.

    The bottom line here is simply that it's a fantastic book in any format and for my money a must-read. Normally the genre's Neil Gaiman contributes to are not my traditional taste, but his use of language combined with his awesome imagination make for quite a force that has yet to let me down. If you haven't already, you need to try a Gaiman book at least once and experience it for yourself.

    48 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trenton United States 02-28-14
    Trenton United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Uninteresting but cool concept"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    fewer one-off stories that don't help move the story


    Has American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not at all


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Matt Sweeney


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The voice acting was incredible


    Any additional comments?

    I'm normally a Neil Gaiman fan, and conceptually this is a really interesting idea for a story. There's just way too much wandering in the story telling. I get that when you create a world that's different from the real world you need to tell stories about the world so the reader understands the "rules". However, there's too many stories about the world that don't pertain the main story. Overall, just too much unimportant minutia.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 02-24-15
    Diana 02-24-15 Member Since 2013

    Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)

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    "Something is missing, main character is unengaging"

    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.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robinson Bartlett, TN, United States 11-14-12
    Robinson Bartlett, TN, United States 11-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "America through the lens of metaphor"
    What did you like best about American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production)? What did you like least?

    Neil Gaiman's whimsical plot, rich narrative, and exquisite character development make what would otherwise be a pedestrian tale into a keeper. Gaiman says that readers tend to like the book or hate it, and I can see why. I really disliked the premise and the story to be quite honest, but I really liked Gaiman's writing style.<br/>Philosophically the story is interesting - American culture contains a wonderful, bewildering patois of colliding cultural traditions, and at the same time the leading creator of culture in the world. Gaiman's story elucidates this cultural dialectic through a metaphor of a supernatural struggle between the many old gods brought to America in the consciousness of its immigrants and the new gods who had their beginning here.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I'm not sure I would want to change this story. Gaiman says in his author's foreword that the genre of the story is hard to place, and I agree. I'd say it belongs somewhere between fantasy and horror, neither of which genres are my ordinary cup of tea, but I enjoyed the richness and rhythm of his prose and the development of the characters.<br/>


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narrators are cast beautifully - their voice characterizations help to flesh out the already well developed characters.


    Do you think American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    This book stands on its own - a follow up isn't needed, nor do I think it would be even possible. That said, I could easily envision a podcasted panel discussion of the philosophical and cultural metaphors in American Gods and how they relate to actual cultural dynamics.


    24 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Southlake, TX, United States 07-31-16
    Christopher Southlake, TX, United States 07-31-16 Member Since 2016

    Residential architect in Texas. Avid fan of Tolkien and Sanderson (are there 2 more opposite fantasy writers?) Very varied tastes in writing

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    "Interesting concept, boring story"

    This book has a ton of reviews, so my writing one at this point is more for me. I've read Neil's novel "Neverwhere" and throughly enjoyed that book, and there are a few similarities between these two books. The main problem is that in Neverwhere, there is a constant objective for the main character to achieve (even though by the end his goals change). American Gods, however, is much more ambiguous in what is trying to be achieved or why. They are both stories of "underworlds" or things that happen hidden from the everyday life we live, which is intriguing.

    However, at times American Gods feels more like "Alice in Wonderland" in that the symbolism and mythology becomes so layered and (as the author says) "meandering", that you loose any sense of exactly what is going on or why, it just feels like some weird acid trip- weird thing after weird thing keeps happening without a point that you can really discern. (I'm sure if you chose to re-read it several times you could pick out the symbolism of each scene, but I'm not intrigued enough by the overall story to care or bother).

    In the end, it all comes together enough to understand the general idea of what was a going on and who was trying to achieve what, but it gets very convoluted in the middle. Part of the reason for this is the way he wrote the main character, Shadow. Shadow does many things in the book without really understanding why, without emotion, without real motivation. He feel more like a device to move the plot forward than someone you really emotionally connect with; and with the story lacking a real point (or at least not one you are allowed to be told about or understand until very late in the story), Shadow's lack of caring about what happens to him also makes me care less about the story. I seriously thought about just stopping at the story climax when things just got so weird and I didn't really care anymore.

    I liked the people in the story for the most part (Shadow's ambivalence aside)- they all had interesting interactions and felt complex and real, and the use of multiple people reading the story added to the characterizations, though this is the 1st time I've seen an Audible book do that. But the story had so many random supernatural scenes and settings and interactions that it was just hard to follow at times.

    Neil also makes a big deal about this being a book about the "American experience", but if that is in here, it is VERY secondary to the work of fiction he is writing, and so subtle that it's hard to see that really being an influence. It's like being told that you are going to eat a steak with a certain spice rub on it, and a lot of talk is dedicated to telling you about the spice, but in the end it just taste like and ordinary steak. Very rarely do you get the sense that there is the thread of the American experience weaving everything together.

    Also, (just FYI- possibly a spoiler, though I would have liked to have known before hand) there is a homosexual sex scene in the middle here that is described with more graphic detail than I was comfortable with personally. Maybe that was intentional by the author and he was trying to make a point, and he has the artistic right to do that. I just didn't care for it myself.

    Obviously this book has been a huge success, but I was honestly disappointed and uninterested with the story, which is strange because Neverwhere really is an excellent book by the same author with many similar aspects. I'm probably going to return this one and get something else- if you happen to read this review and are trying to decide, i'd skip this one.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth Bain 03-09-16
    Ruth Bain 03-09-16

    RueRue

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    "Sorry, Neil"

    This was a major disappointment. Good performances by multiple narrators, but the "plot/story" was non-existent ( or maybe I just didn't get it ). I've admired and enjoyed everything I've read by Neil Gaiman, until this. In the intro, he says he wanted to write a big, rambling book....take it as a warning, because this is long, rambling, and pointless.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margot Vigeant 06-05-12 Member Since 2006

    Mom, engineer, and cook

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    "The Soundtrack of Neil's Imagination........"

    This review is focussed on the audio aspects only; the story is epic and widely regarded as Gaiman's best work. So let's just take that part as read and move on:
    I have both versions of American Gods as audiobook, and I must admit approached this version with trepidation. If you have listened to the BBC radio Hobbit or Hitchhikers Guide or Gaiman's own "Plays for Voices", you know there is a pretty stark division between excellent audiobook and excellent audio theatre. Multiple voices in a reading verge *close* to performance, but then have all the "he said" and "she admitted"s that you'd think would break up the flow. Which it did. But only for about the first 10 minutes and then it just WORKS. The voices are dead-on perfect, you'll find things in the story you didn't find your first time (two times... five times....) through. I highly recommend this version, even if you already have the other one! Definitely worth the listen.
    The coda at the end for the cut scene is also fun.

    44 of 60 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-23-13
    Benjamin Silver Spring, MD, United States 05-23-13 Member Since 2010

    Likes to listen while doing chores; likes to write reviews while he should be doing chores.

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    "OK Story Excellently Presented"

    It's going to be tough going back to single narrator audiobooks after this one. Bravo to those involved with making this full cast production. Just very well done.

    The story for this book was good and engaging. It had an interesting set of characters that were well told and well voiced. The contrast of god-driven mystical events taking place on drab parts of the American landscape was dramatic and even a little unnerving. It gave you this feeling that you might walk into a public restroom in a rest stop to find two guys discussing whether or not to have another biblical flood.

    One major detraction the book could have done without is Gaiman's pretext of throwing sunlight onto a piece of the American soul. It strikes me as a bit shallow. It is perhaps a necessary condition that an author of foreign origin would focus on the things that make Americans different. In this case, Gaiman uses midwestern roadside attractions as settings because of the immanent power of those sites. This focus on the sideshows causes him to miss the real attraction I think. I wouldn't try to make a profound statement about the English by making a survey of Morris dances, just as the world's largest ball of twine tells you little about America.

    It's too bad that he used those settings as an overlay (and I use "overlay" instead of "backdrop" intentionally) for this story, because it cheapens it a bit. I actually quite admired his treatment of American heroes and legends. The interplay of immigrant and native gods was relevant and insightful.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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