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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Book
I want to start off by saying that I loved this book. It captured my interest right away and kept it all the way through. I've been telling everyone about it and can't wait to get my hands on another book by Gaiman. The storyline is unique and off the wall and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then there is the writing. Gaiman is a master of language. There are even...
Published 12 months ago by Coreena McBurnie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing concoction that never truly gels
Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", an intentionally oxymoronic title, is about the impending battle between the old gods (pick your poison: Odin, Loki, Vishnu, etc.) and the "new" (junk culture: TV, advertising, gambling, etc.). Stuck in the middle waiting to find out his destiny is a mortal man named Shadow. Soon to be released from jail, Shadow looks...
Published on May 29 2002 by Mike Stone


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Book, April 7 2013
By 
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
I want to start off by saying that I loved this book. It captured my interest right away and kept it all the way through. I've been telling everyone about it and can't wait to get my hands on another book by Gaiman. The storyline is unique and off the wall and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then there is the writing. Gaiman is a master of language. There are even passages I marked because I loved them so much and want to reread them again later. All that being said, I did not race through this book, but savored it. It took me a while to read because I didn't want to rush it..

It is not only the writing that's intriguing, but the subject matter. Gaiman explores interesting issues and philosophies, the way our culture has changed since people started coming to North America, and even what has happened since. This all revolves around the gods - the ancient ones from the old country and the new one's of technology and money.

Shadow is in jail for a bank robbery and, after three years, is going to be released. He has everything to live for, until he finds out that his wife and best friend (also his future employer) have been killed in a car accident. Shadow leaves jail and goes home, unsure of what he will do. Along the way he meets Mr. Wednesday, who offers him a job. It turns out that Wednesday is an old world god, trying to rally up other gods to fight the new world gods for survival.

I don't want to say too much about this book because I don't want to give it away. There are so many twists and turns, rich explorations of ideas, and stunning writing, that it will keep you turning the pages.

One of my favorite quotes (because I love books so much):

“What I say is, a town isn't a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it's got a bookstore it knows it's not fooling a soul.”
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman's masterpiece, July 7 2011
By 
G. Larouche (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
Before picking up "American Gods", I had only read one other book by Neil Gaiman, "Neverwhere", which I had loved. "American Gods" is completely different, but mind-boggling and amazing. I spent all weekend at home reading it; I simply couldn't put it down for more than hour without compulsively going back to it.

It is a rather complicated story to recap, but in essence, it follows the taciturn character of Shadow, as he is released from prison and hired my the mysterious Wednesday as a bodyguard. Wednesday travels all over the United-States to talk to other similarly strange people, who turn out to be the gods of the Old World, brought to America by immigrants and kept alive through belief, sacrifice and faith. But the New World is bad for them, and they are loosing power to the newer gods of the Western World: money, media, technology...

The meticulous research that went into producing this amazing novel is impressive. The writing style can be slow, but it is always compelling, sending chills down your spine and the compulsive need to turn the page and see what will happen next in this clash of old and new gods.

I read a lot of books, and few books have impressed me and kept me on edge until the last line as "American Gods" did. I believe it to be Gaiman's finest work. People with interest in mythology and history will love this, as will fans of strange sci-fi/fantasy works, and ultimately, anyone who enjoys good literature and amazing writing. I can't recommend it enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Domino's pizza of literature, July 1 2002
By 
kevmalone (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods: A Novel (Hardcover)
Large, apparently full of interesting bits, but ultimately completely unsatisfying. I was left with the feeling that I shouldn't have bothered, and would ultimately regret my decision to indulge.
An enormous disappointment after Gaiman's previous excellent "Neverwhere"
Avoid
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Way, Way Too Long, June 23 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
I'm sorry to have the only negative review thus far, but I've got to be honest. "Epic" is a good word for this book, but it is not a good book.
There are too many characters, many different plots (which I normally don't mind, but in this case I found them confusing), and the main "plot" was (in my mind) not a plot at all, but a mish-mash of stories about old gods from various parts of the world and how they had lost their power in today's world.
Some of the subplots (such as the murder mystery) and the inhabitants of the town of Lakeside were brief respites from the otherwise tiresome, dragged out, dark, and sad aspects of this book. I found myself not really caring about any of the "gods", and found the resolution of their "battle" anticlimactic. The main character's fate is comparable to Jesus dying for the benefit of others; then he is resurrected, but this event just doesn't make sense in the context of the book.
I would advise avoidance of this book unless you want something long, dreary, and scattered. Usually I take books I've read to the library for others to read. This one I am tempted to throw in the recycle bin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing concoction that never truly gels, May 29 2002
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
Neil Gaiman's "American Gods", an intentionally oxymoronic title, is about the impending battle between the old gods (pick your poison: Odin, Loki, Vishnu, etc.) and the "new" (junk culture: TV, advertising, gambling, etc.). Stuck in the middle waiting to find out his destiny is a mortal man named Shadow. Soon to be released from jail, Shadow looks forward to a reunion with his wife Laura. Sadly, this reunion is not to be (or, it is not to be in the way Shadow envisions it). Shadow, stricken by grief, is thus enlisted in a battle, one that may decide the fate of the world, by a mysterious man named Wednesday.
Similar thematic territory was covered, with much more panache and verve, by Douglas Adams ("The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul") and by Neil's "Good Omens" writing partner, Terry Pratchett ("Small Gods"). Both books took a sidelong glance at the subject of modern deities and found an awful lot of humour there. Gaiman treats his subject with solemnity, and to my mind this is one of the reasons why the book suffers.
Fortunately, the story begins with a dramatic bang. Gaiman sets up his characters well, and then proceeds to create the universe in which they will live. He never betrays the beginning, but at times he lets the narrative (or, to describe it more accurately, the loose assemblage of scenes) get away from him. "I feel like I'm in a world with its own sense of logic. It's own rules," Shadow notes at one point early on. "I'm just going along with it, you know?" This is true, and it begins as a wonderful creation in Gaiman's hands. But later Shadow becomes more frustrated with the direction his life has taken: "Nobody tells me what [the rules] are. You keep talking about the goddamn rules, I don't even know what game you people are playing." This kind of frustration seeps into the reader's thoughts as well. Gaiman takes great care in hiding his motivations from both his character and his audience. You keep expecting a payoff, where the rules are explained, at least implicitly. But that rarely happens, and when it does it is quite unsatisfactory.
He also neglects to assemble a unifying narrative. What we have, instead, is an extended version of 'variations on a theme'. Shadow's adventures, although different and interesting every time, still follow the same basic formula. It becomes tiresome after a while. And what narrative it does have goes on for far too long. "Not only are there no happy endings," someone says near the end, "there aren't even any endings." Too true in this case. Further complicating things is the fact that this book has both an epilogue and a postscript. Gaiman may not have wanted to leave the world he's created, but the reader can't wait for it to finally be over.
All that being said, there are moments here that carry a tremendous amount of stark weight. One scene, at an odd boarding house, has Shadow losing a game of checkers only to face a frightening punishment: a sledgehammer to the head. Thankfully, he's able to put it off. Or is he? Later, we see Shadow in a moment of extreme sacrifice. Gaiman's descriptions of the broken man's thoughts in this chapter are heartbreaking, and believably authentic. The scenes in Lakeside, a small-town safe haven, if taken on their own (with some obvious re-working) might have made a wonderful self-contained short story. I just wish that Gaiman had found a way to string these events together in a unifying manner. Out of nowhere, you find Shadow talking to Lucille Ball, as Lucy Ricardo, on an old black-and-white TV. Or, apropos of nothing, Gaiman's narrator barges in to admit to the fictionality of the story he is telling: "None of this can actually be happening. If it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as a metaphor." These are all great bits of writing, but they don't fit together to make a cohesive whole.
"American Gods", for me, is a very frustrating read, for just these reasons. It has boundless potential, but at every turn Gaiman fails to reach the high levels he's aiming for. It makes for a powerful work, one that's often boring, at times quite frustrating, but in moments quite exhilarating. At nearly 600 pages, anything is going to be hit or miss. I was just hoping for a few more hits from Gaiman, a writer I've admired in the past. I admire him here, too. I just didn't enjoy him that much.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Would have been an interesting short story...., May 25 2002
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
I think Gaiman's story concept was interesting, but lacked real character development, and the flow of the story was mired in clunky plot twists. Had this been written as a short story it could have potentially held my interest, but as a novel? I couldn't even finish it.
Why was Shadow never surprised, shocked, or at all emotional in response to the numerous surreal circumstances he encountered? I never felt engaged me in the story... who the hell cares what happens to Shadow?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring as King in his worst moments, May 15 2002
By 
Eliver (Milano, Italy) - See all my reviews
This review is from: American Gods (Mass Market Paperback)
I can't remember another time I got so bored reading a book. I don't know why Gaiman had to try to be "as good as Stephen King or your money back". I wish it were true, the "money back" part.. Remember "Insomnia"? "American gods" is just as boring. The story just never grips you: in the first 150 pages (the total length of some masterpieces) NOTHING happens, absolutely nothing, nada! I don't think I'll buy Gaiman again in the future. And BTW "Neverwhere" was not bad at all!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I get why you don't love it, But here's why I do., Oct. 23 2012
This review is from: American Gods: A Novel (Hardcover)
I love Neil Gaiman. A Lot. I get that you maybe don't. I do. I really do. I don't agree, but I do. I read American Gods 10 years ago when it first came out, and while it maybe wasn't EVERYTHING I wanted it to be, it was pretty damn close.

I've had more then a few people talk to me about it, and how they don't get Gaiman's books, and in particular, didn't get American Gods. Here's the thing about Gaiman - what he writes is Good Literature. He's not a writer I plow through, he's a writer I read. I admittedly re-read this book the day it came out - I'm not sure why I waited to write/blog my thoughts about it but I did.

Also, I feel I'm waxing poetic. Annoying. Here: Neil Gaiman. You get him or you don't.

I've always kind of loved the idea that gods do not exist on some vague eternal plane, but that they rather rise, and fall with cultures and civilizations and people and places. There's a lot of discussion about the similarities between the gods, and I love how Gaiman touches on that. I also love the idea that we have to be careful when we try and make gods into simple human forms - even putting aside my own beliefs to me the idea of simplifying our own theology is something to be careful about.

It's something of a cautionary tale - be careful what, who and how we worship, since the idea of gods lurk in our subconscious.American Gods is well worth a read. I've picked it up more then a few times over the past few years, and the 10th anniversary edition did not disappoint. I was THRILLED when I found out HBO and Gaiman are turning it into an HBO series. It's pretty much perfect for it. By pretty much, I mean totally. By totally, I mean I may just die. It's possible.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gaiman is a dreamer, Jan. 19 2014
By 
Rose (Saint John, NB, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
All through this story, it kept occurring to me that this seemed more like a dream than a story. You know how in a dream things all seem normal when all of a sudden someone or something appears, or something happens that is totally off the wall but in the dream it makes perfect sense. No matter what it is, it never occurs to you that it isn't real. And when you go from one sequence of events to something completely different, there is still a flow to it in the dream that wouldn't happen in real life. Gaiman is a dreamer who is able to take his dreams and make them as real to us as it is to him. That's impressive.

This is a story within a story. The small story is about Shadow who has just been released from prison only to find out his wife is dead. On his trip back home, he is approached by Wednesday with a job offer and their travels together begin. The bigger story is about the gods of humanity. For thousands of years we have believe in one God or another to the point that there have been hundreds or thousands of them. Many are not believed in or even remembered anymore but because they were believed into existence, they are still here. There are also many new Gods, Gods of the digital age. The new Gods want the old Gods gone and a war is brewing.

I'd like to say I loved this story. I really liked it a lot but there was just something about it that kept me from getting there. I can't even tell you what that thing was although I can see why this book is loved. On the flip side, I can even see why some don't like it. You have to be a bit of a dreamer yourself to appreciate it and not everyone is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story Great Author, Jan. 15 2014
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This review is from: American Gods: A Novel (Paperback)
Very unique story told by one of the masters, Neil Gaiman.
I did like "Neverwhere" better, but this book kept me interested the whole way through. I recommend this book to anyone who's a Neil Gaiman fan, a fan of ancient religion or myths.
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American Gods
American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Mass Market Paperback - April 11 2002)
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