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on 8 July 2017
Reading this novel a second time after more than 15 years does make for an enriching experience. I am made even more aware of Gaiman’s mastery of Nordic mythology and marvel at the way he has melded both the stories of folkloric gods and the lost luster of contemporary America. Bearing in mind the spate of superhero movies that sees these Nordic gods battling it out and wreaking havoc in America mostly came after Gaiman’s book reminds the reader how much of a forerunner the author is.

Almost every character in this expansive work has a backstory and surprising connection to a mythical god and they form part of this alternative universe that main protagonist Shadow lands himself in after being let out of prison just a few days ahead of finishing his sentence for a grisly reason. He lands a job with a grifter and master conman Wednesday, who leads him on a psychedelic cross country quest that is as wild as Dorothy’s journey to the Emerald City laced with acid.

The consequences of lost faith on the fortunes of gods who lose their significance are presented in a darkly humorous and allegorical way that only Gaiman knows how. Shadow finds out the true god identity of a former cell mate who explains his fallen mortal state: “You got to understand the god thing. It's not magic. Not exactly…. You take all the belief, all the prayers and they become a kind of certainty, something that lets you become bigger, cooler, more than human…. And then one day they forget about you, and they don't sacrifice, and they don't care, and the next thing you know you're running a three card monte game on the corner of Broadway and 43rd”.

Richly entertaining and mystical - definitely worth the revisit.
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on 27 June 2017
I cannot get the tv series but intrigued by the trailers, decided to read the book instead. This was a rare wise decision for me. I love this book! The mysterious, magical plot, the fascinating characters with the central main character Shadow the most interesting of them all. I've always loved mythology , so working out who the gods were was part of my enjoyment of the book. My favourites were the Egyptian gods.
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on 7 September 2017
I'd been meaning to read this for some time and the arrival of a TV version on NetNowPrime/whatever prompted me to buy it at last. I had already been intrigued by the basic premise ("What happened to all the gods that previous immigrants to America brought with them then forgot?") and was looking forward to an absorbing read.

I'm sorry to say that I was to some extent disappointed. That's not to say that the book isn't well-written or well plotted, indeed there were several plot twists that took me by surprise (always a delight in my book) and the tone and language of the novel achieves the level of sheer poetry in places; however, there seemed to be too much "filler" in the convoluted road trip that occupies the majority of the story. The various takes on traditional folk tales were pleasant interludes and reminded me to some extent of Gene Wolfe, whose writing I greatly admire, but the big climax was more like a Marvel movie, all special effects and flash but, in the end, unsatisfying.

Throughout, I was also reminded of Gaiman's "Neverwhere", also a fine novel, but I was regularly frustrated that Gaiman doesn't seem to have matured from his (much) earlier breakthrough. Is it just me, or would you expect more originality of concept from a writer of greater experience and, presumably, development of technique.

It's definitely worth a read, don't mistake my review as damning, but, in my opinion, it doesn't live up to the hype and should have been so much better to merit its praise and fan following.
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on 20 June 2017
Recommended by a friend after I finished never where... I loved every minute of it and barely put the damn thing down. Sometime there is so much going on it seems complicated but it is necessary and it all comes together eventually, in to one amazing storyline and ending.
If you read anything this week read this.... Then watch the series....
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on 14 December 2017
I read this book, years ago. I remembered almost nothing about the book except that it blew me away. I recently saw the TV show on Amazon and thought it was amazing and it made me want to read the book again.

American Gods is awesome. I mean, sincerely, awesome. I loved it. I loved every word. This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Did I mention it was awesome yet? Buy it and read and love it and worship it. The book is awesome-sauce. I can’t believe I just wrote that.

I loved the way Gaiman takes so many different myths, some older than others, some I’ve never heard of and uses them as a basis for something so original and interesting. I’m very impressed.

The ending of American Gods is not what I expected at all. When Shadow finds out the real deal and why Wednesday chose him, I was taken completely by surprise. I read the book more than 10 years ago and my memory is hazy. At first, I felt cheated, then and I thought, wow, I like where the story went. Sheer brilliance.

So anyway, American Gods is amazing.

An interesting aside: every time Wednesday appears in the book I saw Ian McShane in my head and heard his voice. Slightly creepy (he plays Wednesday in the show).
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on 10 January 2018
I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman. I discovered the Sandman comics in the early 90s and bought and read them all. I also enjoyed the BBC Neverwhere series, which was subsequently turned into a book, his work on Babylon 5 and Stardust (the modified film version being my wife's 2nd favourite film).
I finally decided I ought to re-acquaint myself with Neil's work and decided the much acclaimed American Gods would be a good place to start.
All I can say, it definitely was. This is a cleverly written book, with several sub-stories all entwining within. Typical Gaiman basically.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any Fantasy/Horror/SciFi fan. If you have caught the great TV adaption on Prime TV, I definitely recommend this book, so that you can see how the original (as is normally the way with books...more space to create the storyline, imagination being better than visual etc) is better.
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on 29 January 2018
First I have to say I am a big si-fi, fantasy fan. Unusual for me I watched the TV series first and was expecting to really like it, but i was just left with a feeling of where is this going, what's the point of the story and the aims of the characters. I always believe the book is better than the TV or film and up until now have always been proven right. So on to the book to understand and really enjoy this story that seemed to have all the ingredients I love. But no, still left with a feeling of being let down, I just did not get the point of the story. God's who do not have believers anymore, new God's and leading up to the big confrontation that in the end did not happen. Maybe it was the journey that I should enjoy and not the just working out the final point of it all.
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on 28 July 2017
Impossible to categorise or evaluate, really. It starts off in fine style, with beautiful story-telling, descriptive prose, characterisation and atmosphere. And up to a point, the further you read the more you are drawn in. But somewhere in the second half, the edifice collapses under an overload of irony, metaphor, and satire on American life and values. The upshot is that even up to 2/3 or thereabouts of the way through, I thought I was reading a serious modern classic. but in the end I came away less impressed than I expected to be.
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on 30 June 2017
This is Neil Gaiman at his best. I wanted to read this book for a long time but never got around to it. Then I heard they were making a TV program of the book so I decided to read it before the great popularity machine took for its own and distorted it for the mass consumption. I wasn't disappointed it has a great central figure in Shadow, worthy of several more stories yet , and fit to rival the great Sandman .
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on 16 July 2017
Loved the book. Totally unpredictable, unexpected twists and downright brilliant. The characters weave into the each story and cross time and faith. Each god has their own form of worship for power and all have humility. The confusion of Shadow translates well from the book and keeps the reader page turning until well past bedtime. A must read for anyone who enjoys fiction as well as curiosity.

Also includes a short story at the end, which is also brilliant.
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