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6 of 6 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 7 months ago by D.T. Magus

1 of 1 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 27 days ago by Ross Original

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4.0 out of 5 stars Probably not in Kansas anymore....Fantasy genre undergoes modernisation!, 26 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
First time reading this author. The story draws on familiar devices and mythology: an alternative or parallel reality which can be accessed either by certain people or at certain locations where time and space behave differently; old gods are borrowed and new gods fabricated. Any fan of fantasy will find familiar themes.
However, it also felt really fresh. Fantasy in a very modern setting. I was hooked almost immediately.
Described as an on the road novel, the narrative is interwoven with dream sequences or alternative reality sequences and the reader is introduced to a large cast of characters along the way. Some are forgotten gods transplanted to the Americas centuries ago, only to fade out of memory, existing in the modern world as shadows of their former selves, hidden in plain sight, so to speak. Some are fully realised, three dimensional players; others contributing only brief but enigmatic appearances.
The apparent antagonism between the old and the new gods, generated by human worship of technology, forms a loose framework for the plot. Which feels loose all the way through. This isn't a criticism. I felt it was in keeping with the dream like quality of the whole. You are never quite sure whether you are in Kansas or not.
Following the main protagonist, Shadow, through this journey to its conclusion was a rewarding experience for me. I thought the writing was really good and in parts, beautiful. It was dark, engaging, thought provoking and weird in the very best way. And, I liked the ending! This kindle copy according to the foreword is the full authors edition, published for the American market. I didn't read the first published version and I'm glad I didn't. I can't see how this one could be bettered.
More than just good fantasy fiction. Thoroughly recommend!
Good kindle copy, although American spelling...small niggle really.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Only Gaiman in Town, 20 Oct. 2011
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (MP3 CD)
Shadow is in prison, nearing the end of a three-year sentence for assault and looking forward to rejoining his wife Laura. He's tried to keep his head down, learning coin tricks and cell block aphorisms from his low-key cell mate. And then the world he's been reaching out for shatters. Summoned to the warden's office, Shadow learns that his wife has been killed in a car wreck and he will be released early to attend her funeral. He subsequently learns that he has also lost his best friend, his prospects for a job, his illusions about his marriage and any reason to stay in an empty house in his little town.

Shadow accepts an offer from Mr. Wednesday, seemingly encountered by chance on an airplane. He will be Wednesday's chauffer, bodyguard and... something like a straight man. As they travel through small-town America, Shadow--and the readers--figure out that his employer and those he meets with are more than quirky human beings. They are gods created and sustained by human belief. The gods now face a crisis. As Americans forget about them, they begin to fade away. Already too many are gone.

Wednesday tries to do something about this crisis while Shadow plays a strange and increasingly central role in his plans. We meet several gods and see signs of their waning influence in an America that has turned its attention to television, technology, and more modern diversions. Guiman paints the gods large, with expansive personalities, diverse powers, and astonishingly short attention plans.

The gods' need for human belief creates a fascinating world where nearly everything important happens behind the scenes. The slow development of Shadow as a more engaged human being and perhaps something more, is a well-woven plot element. As we follow him, we ponder mysteries in plain sight that others overlook. Why are roadside tourist attractions places of mythic power? What goes unexplained in the small places that draw back from the outside world? There are answers.

Neil Gaiman's story is imaginative, pleasant to read, and captures something of what seems definitively American to a transplanted British author. It is recommended. Appreciative readers may enjoy Shadow's further development in Anansi Boys.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great, 23 Sept. 2010
F. Wight "F.W" (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
American gods is a very good book, but unfortunately (for me) something holds it back from being either great of fantastic.

I think the books is just a bit dull in parts to be honest, unlike other Gaiman books the characters don't hold me quite as much nor do they really seem to react in a humourful way to anything. At times it feels like a Douglas Adams novel, only without any jokes!
Of course I know there are some pretty laugh out loud moments, but for me it misses the mark overall.

I will say though is the end is brilliantly handled, it reminds me of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and I do wonder if its using the same narrative in some way in order to build things up - not a slight, as I think its works, just something it reminded me heavily of.

Still its a great book - with a certain walking dead character being one of my favourite characters. The entire arc with that character and Shadow feels really strong. Plus some of the quieter moments are great and in terms of the plot Gaiman isn't scared to leave the reader dangling in the wind unknowing of what is going on for almost the entire book. It does however keep your attention and wonder through clever characters and the quick travelling which never leaves you bored.

One thing I will say if this book doesn't inspire your mind to start getting imaginative then you need to read it again. I was left thinking that actually you can do more with books than many writers actually bother to do. So thumbs up for that.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Swollen beyond measure, 9 Jun. 2009
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Mr Gaiman tells us that this version (the "author's preferred text") is much enlarged from the original release. If this is so, then he would do well to listen to his editor next time, because there's some serious pruning needed here. As the book is aimed squarely at the US market (which seems to prefer a high weight to content ratio) it's hardly surprising that the editing process added pages rather than (and this is the more traditional function of an edit) remove them.

All that said, I actually enjoyed the book to begin with. It's witty, fun, absorbing and all that, and covers a lot of ground. The allegory is hardly subtle, and it reads like Stephen King on incense, but the rambling nature of the plot is engaging enough. In short, it's a supernatural road trip addressing the conflict between the old world gods and the icons of the technological age set against a small town American backdrop.

Nuff said: I have to admit that the scale of the project got the better of me in the end and I had to skim the last couple of chapters. The "war between the gods" that the story had been leading up to since the first page barely occupied more than a couple of paragraphs and seriously let the whole story down. Indeed, the ending is a bit of a damp squib all 'round.

I'm trying "Neverwhere" next, just to give Mr G a fair crack of the whip. However, I'm afraid that it's the "author's preferred text" (shudder).
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4.0 out of 5 stars A novel is a long work in prose with something wrong with it.., 27 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Neil Gaiman says that in the preface.
I won't talk about the plot but rather the construction.
This is a huge rambling Moby Dick of a book. Whereas, Melville digresses into whale territory, Gaiman punctuates with anecdotal pseudo-historical/ fantastic mini-stories which are intended to add to, rather than break the narrative thrust of the novel.
I am not always sure this works, but it is highly entertaining. What no one seems able to mention is the scatological content of the book; there is quite a lot of funny smut, some fairly disgusting gothic details, and strange seamy interchanges between the dead and the living.
This gives the feel of a William Burroughs or Hunter S. Thompson taking an excursion into magic realism. I cannot help but feel that laconic sharp-mouthed Wednesday ( Odin) is in fact old Bill B.
This just added to my amusement quota, to be honest, the talk of cold Republican semen running down Lady Liberty's leg is anarchic Junky territory and would not be out of place in a Gonzo type publication.
I also would classify the book as magic realism and has Angela Carterish( Magic Toyshop?), Marquez- like and Allende overtones, so in a sense it is remarkably catholic in influence and content.
Gothic, funny, rambling and having a lot wrong with it, it is a good and rather mindblowing read, the by-product of a writer who has fully immersed himself in South American literature, which is no bad thing to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It started so well, but was ultimately disappointing, 27 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
This was my first Neil Gaiman novel (although I had seen the film Stardust without realising who the author was), and I do think he writes very well. The plot and the characters began so promisingly, but by the end I was left feeling mildly dissatisfied. The themes could have been expanded and enriched - the central concept is such an original idea - but somehow the drive and passion seemed to go out of the narrative about two thirds of the way through. I'd love to have seen Stephen King have a crack at this in his heyday.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, weird and unusual, 9 July 2012
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This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
Interesting book, very interesting. I have only ever read Coraline before our of Mr Gaiman's works and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was intervals within the book which are pretty random and take you away from the story as a kind of breather, which is nice, but I always wanted to get back to the story.
Neil Gaiman is known for his strange take on stories and if you enjoy mythology, murder mysteries and mayhem, then I think you'll love this book.
In parts it has suspense, it makes you think (which is always good in a book you read). It's a treat that's not too scary, not too relaxed and makes you want to get back to the book as soon as possible. On the other hand, it's not one of those books you have to read all the way through in one sitting, it's nice to leave and come back to. It also might lead you to do a bit of research in the mythology and Gods department just for some background. Oh and of course there's the wonderful twist at the end (although you can kind of see it coming).

Great book, one of those I will read again (something I almost never do with a book). I wouldn't recommend it to everybody, as not everybody would enjoy it, but certainly to those who want an escape, a bit of a think and enjoy a story with lots of characters with strange habits.

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9 of 11 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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4.0 out of 5 stars A readable fantasy with a likeable protagonist, 10 Nov. 2011
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
A readable and enjoyable dark fantasy novel, set in the modern USA. The protagonist, Shadow, is a character whom you are rooting for from the first few paragraphs and this really carries the story along through some pretty strange happenings and a hefty 600-odd pages.

The idea of Gods being fed by belief, weakening as their followers dwindle, is not a new one. Terry Pratchett explored it in his masterful Small Gods, for one, and I was a little sceptcial that this novel might just be a copy. It isn't. Gaiman's story is set in 'our' world, and his writing style is very different from Pratchett's It's a darker, more grown up story, and events unfold in a very different way. Despite being based on a similar idea, the two are really as different as chalk and cheese.

It is a long book, but not overlong. The start is a little slow, but things soon get moving. The part I enjoyed most was the subplot set in a winter-bound Wisconsin town, which plays out from the middle to end of the book. There are a couple of twists that I didn't see coming, and overall the plot works out well.

If you like fantasy or horror, you'll almost certainly enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 11 July 2014
This review is from: American Gods (Paperback)
This book is amazing. Admittedly it sat on my shelves for months before I cracked the spine but oh wow was it worth the wait.

There are Gods in America, not just the ones well known (Buddah, Jesus etc), but all gods. Every god ever germed from a human mind are wandering America's shores looking for followers, fr a purpose. Only the old times are ending, religion isnt what it used to be. The old cultures have abandoned their rites and rituals, faiith just doesnt cut it for the mass any more.

Now the hordes worship technology, money, media and fame. And this adoration of the plastic world has spawned new gods of media and computers and they dont want to share their world with the retired relics of the old times.

Then comes Shadow, a recently released convict on the way home to a funeral. He is picked up by Wednesday who needs him for a job, but lets not give the game away....

Neil Gaiman has ranked himself in my top five authors based on this book. I cant do this book justice, it is extremely good. Any one who says otherwise didnt pay enough attention and missed the coin trick.
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American Gods
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Paperback - 19 Sept. 2005)
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