Book Review: American Gods – Neil Gaiman

Title: American Gods: The 10th Anniversary Edition
Author: Neil Gaiman
ISBN: 9780062059888
Pages: 560
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary:

Shadow has just been released from prison and is ready to go home and see his wife when he is informed that she has been killed in a car accident. He meets a mysterious man named Mr. Wednesday and decides to work for him. What Shadow doesn’t realize is that Wednesday has thrust him in the middle of a war between the old European Gods and the new gods of technology and credit cards.

Review:

American Gods is a book I’ve been wanting to read for some time, so when I received a review copy of the tenth anniversary edition of the book, I figured it was the perfect time to read it. After all, if I was going to embark on the epic journey of this novel, I’d rather read the author’s preferred text than the original release.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with American Gods, but I can’t say it lived up to what I hoped it would be. I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, but this book didn’t work quite as well for me. I absolutely loved the premise – a war between the old gods and new, and Shadow being caught in the middle. I loved the potential for mythology and the social commentary contained within the novel. Gaiman isn’t afraid to comment on society’s quest for money. He also highlights the dynamics of small town life in America, and in my opinion, that is the part of the novel that worked best.

However, the story meandered way too much for my taste. There didn’t really seem to be any rhyme or reason to what Shadow was doing or where he was going, and I found myself struggling to understand what was going on more than once. Every time Shadow would be ripped away from the smaller, quieter parts of life to participate in the novel’s mythology, I was disappointed because it was the mundane that was accomplished so well in this novel. I just couldn’t get into the plot, and as a result, I had trouble immersing myself in the story of American Gods.

Despite my disappointment with American Gods, I’ll still be reading more of Neil Gaiman’s works. This book didn’t work for me as well as I’d hoped, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it. From what I’ve heard, you either like it or you don’t; that means that, if you’re still intrigued by the novel, you should definitely give it a chance. Perhaps it might work better for you than it did for me.

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Comments

  1. I do plan on giving this one a try — but not for a while. I have a lot of other books to read first.

  2. I do plan on giving this one a try — but not for a while. I have a lot of other books to read first.

  3. Darn, I have this one on audio and I’ve been looking forward to it. I think it’s a full production audio so maybe that will help.

  4. Darn, I have this one on audio and I’ve been looking forward to it. I think it’s a full production audio so maybe that will help.

  5. I don’t get Gaiman like other people do, either. Everyone time I read one of his books and am disappointed by it I feel either crazy or sad… People just seem to love him and I just keep reading him because everyone seems to love him…

  6. I don’t get Gaiman like other people do, either. Everyone time I read one of his books and am disappointed by it I feel either crazy or sad… People just seem to love him and I just keep reading him because everyone seems to love him…

  7. I read this a few years ago and felt much the same way as you did about it, which is frustrating because everyone seems to love Giaman, and I just didn’t get this book. It was a pleasant read, and I didn’t have trouble finishing it, but it didn’t wow me like I had expected it to. I am heartened to see that I am not alone with this one. Thanks for the honesty. It’s much appreciated.

  8. I read this a few years ago and felt much the same way as you did about it, which is frustrating because everyone seems to love Giaman, and I just didn’t get this book. It was a pleasant read, and I didn’t have trouble finishing it, but it didn’t wow me like I had expected it to. I am heartened to see that I am not alone with this one. Thanks for the honesty. It’s much appreciated.

  9. I guess it was almost two years ago now, I spent a month with Neil Gaiman. I intended to read this book last, but I burnt out before I got there. I’ll be listening to the 10th Anniversary audiobook recording. I’ll be curious to see what I think. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed his YA titles over his adult fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the adult fiction, it’s just that urban fantasy isn’t my thing. Why it works in YA for me, I don’t know.

  10. I guess it was almost two years ago now, I spent a month with Neil Gaiman. I intended to read this book last, but I burnt out before I got there. I’ll be listening to the 10th Anniversary audiobook recording. I’ll be curious to see what I think. Thus far, I’ve enjoyed his YA titles over his adult fiction. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the adult fiction, it’s just that urban fantasy isn’t my thing. Why it works in YA for me, I don’t know.

  11. A bookish friend of mine loves NG…I really need to pick up one to try.

  12. A bookish friend of mine loves NG…I really need to pick up one to try.

  13. I hope this one doesn’t deter you from reading more Gaiman. It’s the most intense of his books, but I think Stardust, The Graveyard Book and Anasi Boys are much mroe fun and readable.

  14. I hope this one doesn’t deter you from reading more Gaiman. It’s the most intense of his books, but I think Stardust, The Graveyard Book and Anasi Boys are much mroe fun and readable.

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