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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic supernatural road trip which, when all is said and done, falls a little short of its potential.
This is a story about ancient gods and their struggle to survive in a world where their fickle worshippers have abandoned them in favour of advertisements, technology and consumerism. Shadow is an ex-con who gets catapulted into a crazy world where he finds himself helping the old gods reclaim their relevance. Throughout the book, we follow Shadow on his journey through...
Published 10 months ago by D.T. Magus

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Plot, but a bit disturbing for some readers.
This is one of those books that make me think we need an age rating system for literature like we do with films and games, it can be very violent at times. The only book by Neil Gaiman I'd read before this was Good Omens (and I'd seen the film of Stardust obviously) so I wasn't expecting that from this author. A quick warning to any vorarephobes, within the first chapter...
Published 3 months ago by Ross Original


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic supernatural road trip which, when all is said and done, falls a little short of its potential., 16 July 2014
By 
D.T. Magus (Shizuoka, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
This is a story about ancient gods and their struggle to survive in a world where their fickle worshippers have abandoned them in favour of advertisements, technology and consumerism. Shadow is an ex-con who gets catapulted into a crazy world where he finds himself helping the old gods reclaim their relevance. Throughout the book, we follow Shadow on his journey through America as the sidekick of the enigmatic Wednesday, recruiting disenchanted gods to help win a war that will bring them back to their former glories.
If the premise sounds intriguing, rest assured that it is, unfortunately the execution lets it down slightly. The best parts of the book are the parts spent encountering the old gods who have been forced to live human lives in America after their once loyal worshippers have either died or forgotten them. More interesting still are the occasional glimpses into the gods’ true forms which are spectacular and often terrifying in equal measure. The Ifrit and The Queen of Seba scenes are just a few that spring to mind. There is no denying the Gaiman’s imagination is one of the best in modern fiction, and “American Gods” never falters in the imagination department .
Another commendable aspect is the characters themselves. From the ever mysterious Wednesday to the fear-inducing Czernobog, Gaiman’s characters are a unique and interesting bunch with a strong motive directing their actions. Whilst it is natural for the reader to back the cause of the old gods, it is never made explicit that they have morally superior reasons for their actions than the new gods do. This lends their exploits some moral ambiguity, where it is left to the reader to decide which group is on the side of right, or indeed whether either of them are.
With a host of such great characters, it is a shame that the only character I never really clicked with was Shadow, the protagonist. Gaiman paints him as an observer for the majority of the novel - things just sort of happen to him and he goes along with it. It is only near the end where he starts taking a more pronounced role in the conflict and subsequently his own destiny. I found it was at this point, the book picked up steam after a long lull.
And that long lull is the biggest detriment to the novel as a whole. After the old gods have made their dramatic appearances and we learn what their plan entails, Shadow is abruptly cut off from the action and finds himself in the sleepy town of Lakeside. Here the plot almost completely loses it’s momentum as Gaiman focuses on the much more mundane drama of Lakeside’s residents and the town’s history, none of which is all that interesting. It does have a serviceable murder mystery sub plot, but I didn’t find it as interesting as the main plot line. It was during these middle chapters where i’ll come clean and say I almost gave up.
However with that in mind, i’m glad I powered on. The ending is largely satisfying although it is left open to interpretation, which I enjoyed. Looking back on the journey as a whole, it’s one which left some very strong images thanks to the vivid characters and their fight for survival. It definitely drags in the middle which prevents me from wholeheartedly recommending it, but I think if you have the patience to see it through, “American Gods” is a road trip you’ll be glad to have embarked on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Plot, but a bit disturbing for some readers., 5 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
This is one of those books that make me think we need an age rating system for literature like we do with films and games, it can be very violent at times. The only book by Neil Gaiman I'd read before this was Good Omens (and I'd seen the film of Stardust obviously) so I wasn't expecting that from this author. A quick warning to any vorarephobes, within the first chapter there's a rather disturbing "unbirthing" scene. This is not necessary to the story so you could skip it if you like, but just a warning.

However, the story itself is rather interesting, nothing is quite as it seems and there are some interesting twists and turns taken towards the end, even a few loose ends tied up in the process. Pay attention though, some characters mentioned at the very beginning and then not seen for most of the story will be back, so remember names.
Also, Mr. Gaiman obviously did a lot of research not only into the mythology of many cultures but also into the history, geography and culture of America. As a side note, if you ever have trouble visualising a place in the book, you can generally look it up on Google image search, as almost all the places visited in the story are real.

If you're into supernatural and are not too sensitive to adult themes then this book is for you, for those who are of a more sensitive disposition, just remember this would be rated 18 if it were a film, but it's still an interesting journey and I think I learnt a few things along the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambling, chaotic, wild, confused - and wondrous, 4 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
This republished version of Neil Gaiman's novel from 2001 is like a director's cut of a movie. Originally differently edited, Gaiman here releases the book he originally wrote, more or less.

It is one of those shambling, rambling, picaresque Don Quixote type tall tales - except the landscape is remarkably dark, gothic, terrifying and bloody, as well as quirky, inventive and playful.

A mysterious man, Shadow, whose rather mythic identity will eventually be revealed is released from his prison sentence early. And from then on, things go abysmally wrong. The symbolically named Shadow, who indeed, always seems to be in someone's, stumbles into a complex ancient battleground of mankind's yearning dreams, of the stories we told ourselves of gods and heroes, past and present, of what we worshipped and adored.

Gaiman peoples America with the various gods brought from various parts of the globe, by those who landed on her shores, from history and from prehistory. Bellicose Norse Gods rub shoulders with matriarchal pagans from Africa, Egyptian animal headed gods accompany leprechauns and pixies. Savage humour and horrific zombies party together. Orpheus makes a different kind of journey into a different kind of Hades, and Eurydice is far from a pretty sight.

Ancient gods like these have been forgotten, but linger on, and modern America worships new myths, creates new creatures of power - mass media, technology - paler but no less violent gods, and as demanding of human sacrifice.

I'm not absolutely certain (not having read the original) whether the 'writer's cut' improves the no doubt rather less rambling version of 10 years ago. There were times, sure, when i felt - oh just get ON with the narrative and stop going round and round, and then another revelation would strike.

Flabby it may be at times, not, I think, anywhere near as sure and crafted as Gaiman's latest,The Ocean at the End of the Lane but still, here is a writer who is populist, hugely inventive and with such brilliant imagination and generosity in the telling of tales, that occasional overindulgence must be accepted
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to end..., 17 Sept. 2012
By 
G. Francis "GeorgeB27" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
I will keep this short. I read this when it came out and enjoyed it, almost 10 years on I picked it up again and loved it. I have found myself thinking about the book when away from it, it has a magical effect, so fantastical yet so grounded in reality that you will never look at a cat or an undertaker in quite the same way. I am very excited to hear that HBO are planning a series based on it and the author is writing a sequel... Can't wait! If you like your fantasy a little dark, a little humorous, a little real, this is the book for you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantasist's fantasy..., 11 July 2012
By 
M. Fermor - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
'American Gods' is a surreal exploration of the ways in which spiritual and temporal 'Gods' have entered into a vicious struggle to retain the adoration, or even just the attention, of the humans that brought them into being in the first place. There are no rules here, in a world populated by Gods whose power is only as potent as the belief that fuels their existence.

The main protagonist, Shadow, is likable and compelling. He offers a deadpan counterpoint to the weirdness of the god-filled world in which he finds himself. His mental equilibrium helps the reader to safely negotiate the strangeness into which he is released after serving time in jail for committing GBH.

He soon meets Wednesday, who employs him for reasons that slowly become apparent as the story ensues. He provides an equally compelling character to enjoy. His dubious moral compass serves to add to his intrigue, while his humour and bravado make him a character who you never quite trust but nonetheless root for.

This is a glitzy, showy beast of a novel that shines with Gaiman's creative flair. I loved the way that all the various mythologies were interwoven within the fabric of this novel and Shadow's deadpan view of the whole is an interesting complement to the wackiness of the prose.

To justify giving this 4 stars rather than 5, I would say that the conclusion to the novel does not really live up to the promise of the preceding narrative. I was looking for something a bit more profound, perhaps mistakenly, and felt a little like I imagine one of Wednesday's victims might once the mechanics behind one of his confidence tricks has been revealed.

Magic loses its joy once it is explained and, while the story dazzled me, the ending ensured that the joy I had in it would not endure quite as long as it should have if it had performed the miracle I was craving!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gods in the Land of Freedom..., 1 May 2011
Shadow is in prison. It won't be long now and he'll be a free man. His life out there is waiting together with his beloved wife, Laura. The day of the release, he's told that Laura died in a car accident. The world seems to stand still and he dies inside. Probably he was already dead, but he didn't really know it.
Alone and confused he meets Wednesday, a strange and mysterious man, who offers him a simple but dangerous job: he will have to drive him from place to place, he will have to hurt people, but only if it's necessary and should he die, he will held his vigil.
The storm's coming and together with it, a battle who will shed more than blood.
What Shadow doesn't know yet is that there are Gods in this world and they have been forgotten by those worshipers, who brought them to America a long time ago. And there are new Gods, modern ones, who want to take over the world and clean it from the old ones.
Shadow will learn this on his journey, and he will also learn that what we see is not always the truth. His adventure will show him life and death, wisdom and corruption, love and hate. He will find himself on this journey, but the price to pay for it will be high. Nothing will be the same again.
It's a long book, you will have to concentrate to keep track of all the Gods if you're not familiar with mythology. But it will be worth it. Enlightening, powerful, exciting. Gaiman never fails to surprise me and every one of his books is a precious fascinating work. Neverwhere is still my all time favorite though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best edition to a masterpiece, 9 Aug. 2011
This review is from: American Gods (Hardcover)
There are so many reviews of the old book I won't spend much time doing that here. It is a modern day masterpiece. One that will be remembered for a long time.

What I would like to address is which edition you should purchase. If you already own American Gods then there is almost nothing new to be found here. There is just a small amount of new content. You should at least read his introduction to this edition. So if you have never purchased this book before then this is the best looking and most complete version available.

Bottom line is don't double dip but if this is your first copy you owe it to yourself to get this edition.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bucketloads of imagination....., 26 Oct. 2011
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Not being a fan of "fantasy" novels I knew from the outset that this was probably not going to be my cup of tea. However it came highly recommended by a young family member so I decided to give it a go.

American Gods is essentially a road trip book and is written with great energy and bucketloads of imagination. The main premise is that gods die when they are forgotten but many have been brought to the New World by immigrants and are still around and impinging on the lives of humans. Some of the gods are more easy to identify than others (Mr Wednesday=Odin, Mr Nancy=Anansi and Low Key=Loki). In Shadow (the main protagonist) the analogy with Christianity is implicit - the tree, death, resurrection, the wound in the side.

Shadow's journey criss-crossing the United States is told from the outsider's viewpoint. He passes through towns with fascinating names: Thebes, Peru, Cairo etc. and meets equally fascinating characters.

This is a big novel packed with action and ideas but a bit rambling and ragged in parts. However I can understand its appeal - it is energetic, witty and imaginative.

At one point a character says "All things have rules." "Yeah," said Shadow, "But nobody tells me what they are." As a new reader to this genre I felt the same!
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83 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big book, big ideas, 30 Nov. 2005
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
American Gods is a big book in more ways than one; not only is it over six hundred pages long, but it deals with big ideas. The main character, Shadow, has been released from prison a few days early in order to be able to attend his wife's funeral. On the way home, he's recruited buy the mysterious Mr Wednesday.
It eventually transpires that Shadow has been recruited into a war between gods; the old gods, brought to America by the various immigrants over time, and the new gods of television and media and so forth.
The nice thing about this book is the amount of mythology hidden to a lesser or greater extent in the storytelling. Some of the gods are more easily recognisable than others; the jump from "Mr Nancy" to "Anansi", for instance, is not so great, whereas the link between Mr Wednesday to Odin is not as immediately obvious. But you don't have to have much grounding in mythology to be able to enjoy the book, which is one of the great things about it; there are plenty of layers to be unpicked, if you're that way inclined, but on the other hand, you can just sit back and enjoy Neil Gaiman's masterful storytelling.
The added benefit of this particular edition is the author interview in the back, which gives that extra little insight into the book. It's apparently also the author's preferred text, though having read both versions, I have to say that for the reader it makes little difference.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning: Breaks down conventional barriers of fantasy, 10 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
I have never read anything by Neil Gaiman before and I am not a comic book fan so, I am afraid, I had never encountered his Sandman escapades. My normal choice of reading is crime fiction with a smattering of decent horror and sci-fi thrown in. I have never been a great fan of the Dungeons/Dragons type of Fantasy or the epic series that often typifies this genre.
I saw a review of American Gods on the Amazon site and was enthralled and enticed by the synopsis of the story, so I decided to buy a copy. This was one of the best decisions I have made this year.
American Gods is an epic in it's own right that literally breaks down the barriers of conventional fantasy writing. For anyone with any degree of knowledge or interest in mythology, and with a mind that doesn't believe in accepting the status quo, this book will take you on journeys of pure joy.
One of your other reviewers likened this to a mix of Stephen King and Clive Barker, and I would have to say that this is a fairly good comparison with the emphasis on the 'Weaveworld' style of Barker and the down-home everyday America writing of Stephen King that makes his dialogue flow and draw you in.
American Gods is a story that I did not want to end. I doubt if there will be a better book written in the same vein.
This is a story that I could not hope to synopsise myself as I think that every reader will form their own personal relationships with the book and will each gain their own rewards depending on their literary leanings.
I do not think I will be rushing out to buy all Neil Gaiman's other books, as I do not think he will have equalled American Gods in any of his previous writings, but I will keep a very close eye on what he comes up with next!
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