- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 19 hours and 40 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Headline Digital
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 4 May 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0080HPAK0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Gaiman has a truly astounding imagination and gift for storytelling. I was a little lost in parts but no doubt i'll read it again in a few years.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Is a long time since I have let a book absorb me so completely . The characters came alive and I cared about Shadows outcome. Perfect holiday read.Published 4 days ago by concrefingers
Written pre Trump's America, this book has almost predicted the rise of this demagogue. Man's need to believe in a greater power doesn't happen without sacrifice. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
This book was unlike any book I've read before, with the exception perhaps of Neverwhere. There were so many intriguing elements to it that I'd struggle to explain why I loved it... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Jcat
The book just meanders willy nilly without any proper type of structure or reason (all 700 pages) The author just sends us anywhere and everywhere without a thought out linkage to... Read morePublished 12 days ago by D. Glowacki
Have read them all and each is wonderful and fresh.For me Neverwhere is the pick but decide for yourself it is time well spentPublished 18 days ago by Kindle Customer
American Gods is a big as the country it describes, an epic sweeping tale that is part supernatural fantasy, part road novel. I found it enthralling. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Lendrick