American Gods

American Gods

A Novel

Book - 2001
Average Rating:
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The storm was coming....

Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest of his life. But days before his scheduled release, he learns that his wife has been killed in an accident, and his world becomes a colder place.

On the plane ride home to the funeral, Shadow meets a grizzled man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A self-styled grifter and rogue, Wednesday offers Shadow a job. And Shadow, a man with nothing to lose, accepts.

But working for the enigmatic Wednesday is not without its price, and Shadow soon learns that his role in Wednesday's schemes will be far more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. Entangled in a world of secrets, he embarks on a wild road trip and encounters, among others, the murderous Czernobog, the impish Mr. Nancy, and the beautiful Easter -- all of whom seem to know more about Shadow than he himself does.

Shadow will learn that the past does not die, that everyone, including his late wife, had secrets, and that the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined.

All around them a storm of epic proportions threatens to break. Soon Shadow and Wednesday will be swept up into a conflict as old as humanity itself. For beneath the placid surface of everyday life a war is being fought -- and the prize is the very soul of America.

As unsettling as it is exhilarating, American Gods is a dark and kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth and across an America at once eerily familiar and utterly alien. Magnificently told, this work of literary magic will haunt the reader far beyond the final page.

Publisher: New York : W. Morrow, c2001.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780380973651
0380973650
Characteristics: 465 pages ; 25 cm.

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j
JSteed99
Oct 08, 2017

American Gods fell far below my expectations given the hype surrounding it. Gaiman struggles to figure out how to introduce a female character in a way that doesn't remark on her beauty and curvaceous form (or lack thereof) save for a scant few characters. The book feels way too bulky for what it is as well. It meanders to the point where, by the time I hit the halfway mark, I was just bored silly. The premise is interesting and has potential but I was mostly just unimpressed. If you can overlook the sexism and long-winded plot I'm sure it's enjoyable, but I just couldn't get myself to pick it back up.

8
800kw0rm_31337
Aug 29, 2017

A Masterpiece, this is Neil Gaiman at his best.
The deluxe audio book is also utterly fantastic.

Chapel_Hill_KatieJ Aug 22, 2017

I finished this book, and felt like I had missed something. So many people recommended this book to me, and I just didn’t get it. I felt like Gaiman just wanted to cleverly introduce various gods and goddesses without the storyline necessarily going anywhere. And at the end of the book, I felt like I still didn’t know Shadow at all. Maybe I should have read the original instead of the tenth anniversary edition and saved myself 12,000 words.

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wendyheath
Aug 11, 2017

The show is based on Gaiman's 2001 book, which follows Shadow, a man who returns to his hometown to find that the love of his life and best friend are dead. He is then left to put together the pieces. The first episode is set to premiere at the SXSW’s annual film festival on Starz network.

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pspice
Jun 28, 2017

I read critics comments on the book and put myself on the waiting list. I enjoyed it. Not my absolute favourite of speculative fiction. But Shadow is an interesting anti-hero and the gods in their various disguises - or incarnations - are weird and funny. So I picked up "The Ocean at the End of the Lane" which is foreshadowed in American Gods - or vice versa - and am enjoying that as well.

CMLReads_Kristin Jun 01, 2017

I picked this up because I love Neil Gaiman and the premise intrigued me. I have mixed feelings about this because I love the concept and struggled a bit with the execution. I'm really curious to see how this translates to TV...and looking forward to reading the sequel. I really enjoyed listening to this one!

a
ADWithrow
May 22, 2017

I had a really tough time with this one. I went in kind of blind. I knew very little of the plot beyond the synopsis and just jumped on the book because I wanted to read it before the show started. I’ve had this on my to-read list for ages and moved it up, way up, when I heard Ian McShane was in the show! Love that guy.
Anyways, I has the version with the author’s commentary in the beginning. He mentioned that it would be a meandering journey. And boy did he mean that. I struggled through this. It was slow and dull in so many parts that I nearly put it down about a dozen times. I get building atmospheric settings, etc. but I don’t need a soliloquy describing every weather pattern that occurs throughout America. It ended up being a slog from start to finish for me. And while I normally love anything to do with mythology this just didn’t do it for me.
For me, a lot of my issues with this book came down to a lack of coherence. There were entire passages, entire chapters, that didn’t make a lick of sense to me. I get the overall gist of the plot and the character arcs but there were points throughout this text where I was well and truly lost. I feel that those areas could have been made clearer for the reader, just from a writing standpoint. I also feel that some of the characters were barely sketched out. Many of the gods were only explored on a surface level which does not allow me to form a clear picture or grow attached. Then these characters vanished, not to be mentioned for quite some time until they were needed again for whatever reason and brought back, usually in a flow breaking manner. The pacing was disrupted continually like this. I liked the coming to America breaks. Those were clearly stated and allowed for a depth to the plot but the random asides that just popped up were disorienting.

LPL_FisherA Apr 15, 2017

I feel so conflicted about this award winning novel by the legendary Neil Gaiman. Just so nobody comes to my house brandishing torches and pitchforks, I want to state for the record that I do enjoy Gaiman's comics, but this book left me with mixed emotions. Characters, especially some of the more interesting gods like Easter and Media, are barely present, Shadow (the protagonist) is a tough character to root for, and the book has some slower parts that are difficult to get through resulting in me wanting to skip some passages. Although I love his worldbuilding, dialogue, and writing style, American Gods left me unsatisfied in its execution and didn't deliver 100% on such an intriguing premise. I'm excited to see Bryan Fuller's take on American Gods when the show premieres later this month on Starz, as I feel he will fix some of my major criticisms of the book when adaptating it. Overall, there are many sections of American Gods that I love, but as a whole, the book played out like a series of loosely connected short stories that left me wanting more. I think that had I been in the mood for a slower paced book, this would have been a 5 star read.

AL_JOSHM Mar 20, 2017

A Sunday afternoon drive of a read. While it is a nice slow burn throughout, you never feel as if it's not worth your time or not engaging. Extremely enjoyable!

MomoT Jan 03, 2017

A great, page-turning read this is as much about America (the geography, the personality and history of the place) as it is about myths and gods and magic. Gaiman takes us on a journey and it's an enjoyable ride.

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Age

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MERAJ AHMED KHAN
Jul 06, 2017

MERAJ AHMED KHAN thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Sabinlerose
Mar 31, 2017

Sabinlerose thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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alexapichora
Jan 17, 2017

alexapichora thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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chromium88
Mar 29, 2015

chromium88 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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bilida
Aug 11, 2014

bilida thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Sophie2798
Jun 24, 2014

Sophie2798 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Jeroman
Sep 03, 2013

Jeroman thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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seaeffess
Aug 14, 2013

seaeffess thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

hDlVivace Jun 18, 2012

hDlVivace thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Dr_Inferno
Mar 27, 2012

Dr_Inferno thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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Notices

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vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Sexual Content: Contains some sexual content

vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Coarse Language: There is swearing, but it did not feel excessive.

vv1 Mar 12, 2015

Violence: Has some scenes depicting violence or the aftermath of violence.

hDlVivace Jun 18, 2012

Coarse Language: Used in conjunction with the sexual content at times. Other times swearing is prevalent with R-rated language. But language is carefully controlled to an extent and not used unneedlessly.

j
jabey
Jun 10, 2008

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Quotes

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s
ssaradd
Apr 18, 2017

“Hey," said Shadow. "Huginn or Muninn, or whoever you are."
The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes.
"Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow.
"Fuck you," said the raven.”

s
Sophie2798
Jun 24, 2014

The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.

l
LazyNeko
Oct 08, 2011

What should I believe? thought Shadow, and the voice came back to him from somewhere deep beneath the world, in a bass rumble: Believe everything.

Summary

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Stonesoul1
Jul 01, 2015

Possibly one of the greatest pieces of modern Literature by a writer who is surely one of he greatest literary treasures of our time. Gaiman weaves a complex and epic tale of Old World deities surviving adapting and warring in the New World, bereft of the believers that brought them there.

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