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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 February 2014
Takes you on a fantastical journey. Neil gaiman has once again out done himself with this winding adventure across America and beyond.
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on 6 January 2013
A very engrossing read, I recommend this book, if you want to escape to a strange world of Gods, Demons and beer swilling leprechauns.
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on 28 September 2009
Neil Gaiman has become one of those rare breed of writers for whom many people will buy his books as soon as they see his name on the cover. And this is with good reason. He can write superbly well. His characterisations are interesting, his narrative is entertaining and his dialogue is frequently downright hilarious. This book is as good an example of that as almost any (I preferred the Anansi Boys though, which I read before this. There are shared themes between these two books).

In American Gods, we are introduced to Shadow - a convict who is released early on compassionate grounds following the death of his wife. Almost immediately he is met by a man who calls himself Wednesday - and is clearly much more than just an ordinary man. Wednesday wants Shadow's help, but he is not specific as to what he wants - only mentioning that it is very dangerous. Indeed, early in the book there are all kinds of things that we are not told. Why exactly was Shadow in prison? Who is Wednesday (actually I guessed that one straight away), what does he want? What happened to Shadow's wife? And much more.

The answers to these questions mostly do not come early. But they do come. There is a road trip across America that put me strongly in mind of Stephen King's "The Talisman". The protagonists are quite different, but I was reminded of the other book because of the natural/supernatural duality and the journey across America, experiencing different places - some more special than others. The whole story, it seemed to me, could as easily have been penned by Stephen King.

There are two reasons I do not think, in good consience, that I can give this five stars (even though Neil Gaiman fans will therefore start voting down my review! But please don't without leaving me a comment as to why!) These are:

1) This was a very earthy novel. There is plenty of sex - especially oral sex - mentioned. Many people will like that in a book, but I did not think that for the most part it added anything to the story. The language likewise was earthier than was strictly necessary, and moreso than in the Anansi Boys, which I preferred to this book. (I also thought the Anansi Boys was funnier).

2) This book was almost ponderously long. Ultimately there were two plot themes, but the middle of the book spent so long setting them up that the resolution was very brief. One plot was resolved in a couple of pages and was something of a non event. The other was resolved in a longer epilogue. But did the book need to be 670 pages long? Neil Gaiman admits the book is long but excuses it by saying that America is a big country, which is true. The narrative is wonderfully descriptive of America - but whether that was all necessary for this story is an open question.

So in summary - a very good book. I can recommend it, although I preferred the Anansi Boys, and that would be the book of Gaiman's I handed adult readers first. (The Graveyard Book would be my pick for young adults or those who enjoy young adult books).
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on 27 August 2008
I read a lot. I make a 50 min journey every morning to work, and the same back every day. So I read a lot. And since I've started reading this, I count myself fortunate that I get off at the last stop otherwise I'd have been late to work everyday for the last week! I just realise it's time to get off when the carriage empties!
I like the characters, I'm loving the story line (tho I've not finished it yet, so no spoilers here!), the dialogues are excellent, witty, sharp and yes in a crazy crazy way, believable...
So many sci-fi / fantasy books have fantastic story lines but such bad bad writing (dialogues in particular often make me cringe), that when I read one which actually can go on my litterature shelf it's just a relief!
The Gaiman books I've read so far are complex and confusing but in a good way: don't you just hate it when you've guessed the end before you're even half way through? The numerous characters are never the less real and solid; you get the feeling that these are characters who might be on the sidelines here, but could easily be central in a different story (like Mr Nancy here).
The plot here is no exception: Shadow is told his wife has died (I'm ashamed to say I laughed out loud when I found out how, gnii!) just on the day of his release from prison, and finds himself swept up by Mr Wednesday's crazy, seemingly nonsensical world, where old gods and new gods fight for America... Gaiman's humour is dark, grinding and very very sharp: I love it (and it's so un-pc: yay!)
I intend to savour the few chapters I have left to read slowly...
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on 12 April 2013
Another excellent book by Gaiman, I'm a huge fan now. Parts I got a little lost with but I loved Shadow and the concept of this book.
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on 14 February 2016
What an amazing concept, piece of story telling and journey.

I loved reading the the first time and even more the second!
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on 25 May 2013
Great book. Exceptionally well written and easy to read, entertaining and enthralling. The clash of religions and myth is fantastic.
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on 3 July 2014
Personally this is my favourite book of all time and I feel that anyone with an interest in fantasy or mythology should pick it up.
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on 15 July 2013
Brilliant and thought provoking can't wait for the tv adaptation. The sequel to this book will be interesting to see what happens
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on 16 February 2012
I haven't enjoyed anything this much in long time, a must for all lovers of fantasy, mythology and well written fiction in general!
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