First published in 2001, American Gods became an instant classic, an intellectual and artistic benchmark from the multiple-award-winning master of innovative fiction, Neil Gaiman. Now, discover the mystery and magic of American Gods in this 10th anniversary edition. Newly updated and expanded with the author’s preferred text, this commemorative volume is a true celebration of a modern masterpiece by the one, the only, Neil Gaiman.
A storm is coming….
Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the magic day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life. But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.
Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. It is a job that takes him on a dark and strange road trip and introduces him to a host of eccentric characters whose fates are mysteriously intertwined with his own.
Along the way, Shadow will learn that the past never dies; that everyone, including his beloved Laura, harbors secrets; and that dreams, totems, legends, and myths are more real than we know. Ultimately, he will discover that beneath the placid surface of everyday life, a storm is brewing – an epic war for the very soul of America – and that he is standing squarely in its path.
This review is almost painful for me to write. I have so many different thoughts on this story, but also not that many. How that even makes sense, I’m unsure. I’ve recently dived into the world of audiobooks from my library. So I get the audiobook for two weeks on the app my library uses. Let me just tell you. This book was so long and so, just, so much that I could only listen to it at certain times and in small doses. Because of this, I had to renew (which meant that I had to put it on hold, again, and wait another two weeks to get the book back because it’s popular and many others were requesting to borrow the audiobook as well) this audiobook FOUR TIMES. This book is a twenty-hour long audiobook because it’s the anniversary edition, so we get a bunch of extra tidbits from the author in the beginning and the end. I feel like I invested so much more than twenty hours into listening to this book.
Okay, now to my thoughts on the actual story. First of all, I loved that we were given a few tidbits actually read by the author. It was a nice touch to this book. Second, the narrators did an AMAZING job reading this book. There were SO many different characters and so many different things all going on at the same time in different places. I think the narrators did an excellent job of giving each of the characters a different voice and really showing the personality that Gaiman wrote for them.
I am having a hard time thinking of the words I’d like to use to describe American Gods. It was such a complex story with so many details and plotlines and characters. It was just on the border of being too much. There were definitely a few times I asked myself what was going on and what the relevance to the story of our main character was, but everything was always brought back together and connected. I found myself saying, “No waaay.” And “Oh my god, shut up,” quite a few times when Gaiman caught me by surprise with the direction of the story and some details here and there.
As I mentioned, American Gods is full of different characters so I’m not going to talk about them like I usually do in my reviews. I will, however, talk about the characters overall. They were incredibly written. Each character had such a distinct personality. Some funny, some terrifying, some annoying. Each character played an important part in the plot and brought something unique to the story being told. The characters were well written and I felt like I really knew them by the end of the book. I mourned some and was glad to lose others. I admired all of them.
The story itself was astounding in all the best ways. Right, when I thought I knew what was going on Gaiman said, “HAHA, YOU THOUGHT.” And totally changed the direction of the story. This happened a few times before we had enough of the pieces to actually understand the story. I can only hope to be as excellent of a writer as Neil Gaiman someday. The way he led us around on this wild ride wondering where the hell we were going and why we got in the car in the first place. There were so many aspects and elements to American Gods, but not so much that it was hard to keep them straight, instead of leaving the reader wondering what the hell was actually going on. I found myself asking that frequently in the first half of listening to this book. “What the hell is even happening right now, I just don’t get it.” Now, on the other side of the book, having learned what was actually going on I’m still a bit blown away and processing the crazy words that make up this adventure.
To keep it simple, this book was awesome. It was an investment, of my time and emotions. The characters were wonderfully written and the story was incredibly complex. If you like mythology stories, you’ll love this book. Just make sure you have the time and mental wherewithal to handle the craziness that is American Gods.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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3 thoughts on “American Gods by Neil Gaiman”
Great review for such a great book. Have you read Good Omens? It’s probably the book I recommend most often to others.
I haven’t! I’m going to try to read more of his books but I have a huge TBR list that I’m trying to work on getting down before I add more to it.
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