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on 2 December 2017
This book has always been on my mental TBR but I hadn't actually added it for some reason. Then I actually picked a copy up from the hotel 'library' on holiday in June, didn't get chance to read it there, brought it home and it's sat on my shelf ever since. Anyway, I have now read it, and best of all enjoyed it!
I was lucky enough to read the extended, republished version which is quite a lot longer than the originally published version, I've heard it described as 'too much description but not enough happening', fortunately, I didn't find it so!
We start the novel with Shadow, in prison and not far from release when he receives the news that his wife Laura and his best friend Robbie have been killed in a car accident. On the plane Home, he meets an unusual character who calls himself Mr Wednesday. Finding himself employed by this rogue, as a bodyguard, driver and errand boy, Shadow is sent on a journey beyond his wildest dreams as he finds himself entangled with gods and humans of equally despicable intent.

Although this was a big book, it was an easy read, I found I'd devoured hundreds of pages without even realising! While the story may to some, appear slow going I found that the whole book was a climax rather than a build up to a final climatic moment. And I hadn't worked out most of the secrets!

An interesting outlook on not one set of Gods but all gods and the idea that they were brought to America along with their people and left their gods to die.

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on 4 April 2017
American Gods is a big book, it’s a very big book. I don’t just mean its size (although at 770 pages it is that) but its ideas and the canvas that Neil Gaiman uses to allow them to play out.

Set in turn of the century middle America, the story centres on recently released convict Shadow Moon and a mysterious man who befriends him called Mr Wednesday. Recently bereaved and with no sense of where to go Shadow agrees to act as Mr Wednesday’s driver on a road trip that takes them through the heartlands of the central states. Along the way, we are introduced to characters who are both supernatural yet very much part of the world that they inhabit and it soon turns out that Mr Wednesday is far more than he lets on.

As the story plays out it becomes clear to both Shadow and the reader that there is a magical reality at play which sits just below the surface of normal, everyday life. People, many older than United States itself and in more than a few cases older than recorded history are silently decaying in apartments and small town funeral homes. They are the Gods of people who travelled from their homelands to America and, as a generational change took place slowly cutting the ties to the mother country, and all the beliefs that came with that, they were cast adrift to lead mundane lives without the sustenance they took from the worship and praise they had originally received when they were all powerful deities. Worse still they have been replaced by new gods, gods of modernity, media and money. There is a clash coming between the two and Shadow has found himself slap bang in the middle of it.

The sad thing here is that, whilst the book starts really well, it doesn’t really hit the heights its going for. The book is split into three sections and I think it’s the second section that is the problem here. Nothing really happens and, whilst it’s common that middle sections of books tend to slow the narrative, the book goes from a slow but satisfying journey through middle America to something else. The problem is that it is not really clear what that is. Shadow is left in a town in the middle of nowhere whilst Mr Wednesday goes on with his efforts to bring about a reckoning between the old gods and the new. What we get then is a fish out of water story which strains to be part of the bigger narrative and slows the story to a dead halt on some occasions.

There are some nice touches along the way. Shadow is informed at the very start, on his release from jail, that his wife has died in what can best be described as awkward circumstances. As he journeys through America, he finds himself getting visitations from her as she tries to find some kind of solace in her situation. Shadow must deal with this along with the fact that there are people (it’s never overly clear who other than that they are some sort of Government department) who are out to get him.

The main problem for me was that the narrative seemed to have been lost in the bigger picture and this meant that there were large swathes of this book where I wasn’t really sure what exactly was going on or whether I really cared that much. Neil Gaiman’s prose was as enchanting as ever and there are parts of this book that I absolutely adore but I finished it feeling very conflicted and not very satisfied with the end. For this reason, I’m giving it 3 stars.
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on 26 May 2017
The winding, twisting path of the Gods was annoying, I suppose it was suppose to be like that. Still, I took a star for the last 5th of the story.
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on 24 February 2017
I had high hopes about this book after all the reviews and ppl raving about it. I've just started reading Neil's books, I'm a Pratchett fan and read God Omens so thought I'd turn to him for some good reading. This book just did nothing for me, it seemed to go nowhere and went on and on. When I first picked it up I thought it had potential, that much I told my husband to read it. After about half the book I could have quite easily put it down, my husband is halfway through it and he's not going to finish it! Says he's bored of it, so there ya go. I believe it's been made into a tv series so he says he's going to wait for that and see if it's any better. This hasn't put me off Neil though, I've read quite a few of his now and I'm currently reading Anansi Boys, which I can't put down!
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on 9 April 2017
Arrived on time. Can't wait to start reading this book
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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 21 June 2017
If you haven't read the book, and only just seen the TV series, then you have missed one of Neil Gaiman's greatest books - with some great short (and some not as short) stories that follow on after, fleshing out the books universe.
I won't reveal the plot, as if you saw the series there is more in this than there was time to show.

Bought this for a friend, as part of my self-imposed mission to get people I know reading again - especially 'proper' actual books (not electronic).

Think it might have worked - hasn't put it down yet
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on 13 May 2017
Great plot, hugely entertaining, a must read...
I haven't been so hooked by a book in a long time.
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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 25 June 2017
The book from the down side was a bit dirty.
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