After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, then the seconds until his release tick away, he can feel a storm building. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in apparently adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr. Wednesday, claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god, and the king of America.
Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But they are being pursued by someone with whom Shadow must make his peace.... Disturbing, gripping, and profoundly strange, Neil Gaiman's epic new novel sees him on the road to finding the soul of America.
©2001 Neil Gaiman (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers
"Gaiman is a treasure house of story and we are lucky to have him." (Stephen King)
I would definitely recommend this book, it's such a rich story! The characters are rich and full, the journey of the story is as meandering as I've imagined the back roads of America to be.
Mister Ibis, an incarnation of the Egyptian god Thoth, tells the protagonist, Shadow, some amazing stories, in such a beautiful way that you don't mind the less than straight answers.
Though this is billed as performed by Neil Gaiman and George Guidall this is actually a full cast audio book, narrated by Guidall and the chapters that are more off scenes, or related short stories, are read by Gaiman. Regardless, all the cast are fantastic; engaging, easy to listen to, and perfect for the role.
I would've happily listened to this in one sitting, unfortunately its a little too long for that to be possible.
Neil Gaiman is a truly unique author, and this is one of his best novels.
I read the shining reviews about this audiobook and I was intrigued. Having just finished Neverwhere (fantastic by the way) I was keen to start another Gaiman book Asap. I think sometimes when reviews go on and on about how amazing a book is my expectations are let down, let's face it - everyone has their own ideas and opinions on what makes a great audiobook. This one is worth the listen.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
I expected more. For me the storyline was great... BUT it had moments of lag when I just wanted to get on with the story. I mean pieces of information that mean nothing to the main guts of the book just added as filler, at least that's how it felt at times.
I felt lost at times. Sometimes the story takes an odd angle that makes no sense whatsoever... I just went with it, I mean the book is still a good listen overall.
WHAT I ENJOYED:
The depth of the story, the journey though America. I have never been to America, but I felt like I was there experiencing it all alongside Shadow. It's a beautifully woven tale, Shadow is amazing, strong, patient and full of nothing... and everything. I look forward to seeing how the TV adaptation will work.
The narration is exceptional. You will have to listen to find out what I mean ;)
The tale is original and true to our time. It's a battle of the old and new with lashings of pain thrown in there alongside love, friendship, murder and betrayal.
Shadow is an attractive character. I found the language unnecessarily coarse. The love story threaded through the whole book drew me on, wanting to know how it resolved.
Loved every minute! There were times when I didnt want to get out of my car so I could keep listening.
If you are looking for adventure, myth, magic, compassion, heartache, longing, resolution, war and peace - look no further, this book has it all.
I listen to a lot of audiobooks and the style of narrative in this book is the best I have ever heard. I will be listening to this for years to come and recommending to everyone I have ever met.
Neil Gaiman's brilliance is brought to life by thoroughly brilliant voice acting. This is the first time I've enjoyed the "Author's Cut" of this story, and it is without doubt one of the best experiences I've had with a book, audio or otherwise. The authors brilliant, delightful imagination is brought to life by simply brilliant voice actors. I say this as someone who has spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours listening to audiobooks: this performance is the gold standard for the format.
An incredible imagination is not enough to produce entertaining stories, and it's Gaiman's ability to weave the fantastic through the mundane which sets him apart; I'm hard pressed to think of modern authors that share his ability in this. The late (and absurdly great) Terry Pratchett, China Mieville and Clive Barker are all who spring to mind.
A wonderful, clever, and beautifully written story performed by voice actors who are as good at their craft as the author his.
I absolutely loved this author preferred text of "American Gods". The story was rich with description and details. The narrator was good but I was slightly disappointed it wasn't Neil reading the whole way through, but the American narrator suited the text. I enjoyed the different voices for the characters and the interludes by Neil. A great novel and a great listen!
Incredible read/listen. Neil Gaiman writes in a way that completely transports you into the world he has created.
I frequently listened to this book on my long commute to work and I enjoyed it so much I've noticed a significant decrease in my frustration at morning traffic (road rage).
An odd but welcome side-effect.
5 stars. Give it a go.
"A Benchmark Title"
An absolute modern classic book evolves into an absolute modern classic audiobook. Gaiman is one of my favourite authors (write more, damn you!) and American Gods is maybe his finest work. This is pretty much my favourite audiobook thus far.
incredible audiobook, varied cast and amazing voice acting performances really make this a stand out experience.
"brilliant story, thrilling characters"
Very deep and detailed story of a man finding himself again after being in prison --- but finding so much more as he gets involved with the gods. Amazing pictures of myth and legend, happening today.
One of the best books I've ever written. The best part of the book (for me) was when Shadow was tied up on the tree - I could visualise everything and felt like I was right there with him experiencing every single thing he was going through.
"Best audio book I've ever listened to"
The story is great obviously.
But the cast is what makes this audiobook so memorable.
"Strange, slow moving, story"
The characters in American Gods are interesting and the reading performance is superb. American Gods deals with the weird, the strange, and the unreal - all of which I like. However, I also like stuff to actually happen, and this novel kept me waiting too long between the main events. The plot was too slow moving for my liking. It kept me interested until the end, but only barely.
"Hooked on the First listen"
Loved it. Great narration and voice acting. Shadow and Wednesday are played really well by the actors
"Best of Neil Gaiman"
American Gods is weird and wild trip through the USA with quirky characters on the way. I love this audiobook so much I've listened to it three times and always been surprised to discover new nuances, a forgotten fable or unexpected plot twist. The performances by the narrators are superb as they become the procession of characters in Gaiman's epic novel. This isn't necessarily a battle of good against evil but more a fight between old and new gods. The main character Shadow, is easy to like. He's a noble man but other characters are strongly flawed, which makes them deliciously terrible. This is not just the best of Gaiman's book, it's also my favourite novel of all time (so far). Listen and let yourself get lost in a warped fantasy about lost and new gods.
"A bit disappointing but good fun"
I expected more of this novel as I loved Good Omens & the Sandman series. It wasn't funny like Good Omens & it didn't have that same high fantasy quality as Sandman. But it was pretty good - the really morbid bits were my favourite, they were edgy. I enjoyed the performances though I thought many of the female voices were breathy & overdone. But this is not a women's book - it borderline failed the Bechdel test. I can only think of one sustained
conversation between women & it was mainly about Shadow. I felt some of the 'ethnic legends' sections were a bit co-opted, too. The idea that the gods were with the slaves in Santo Domingo but that people didn't have enough belief in mainland America (for a revolt) was super dodgy.
Overall a bit disappointing but pretty good fun.
Yes. Fascinating story, brilliant narration. What is not to like?
Master and Margarita. The only theme the two books share is of God/Devil doing crazy things in our world. Other than that, they are very different.
I loved the scenes involving Mr. Ibis.
Spolier - Wednesday's death. I did not see that coming, and it left me feeling sad. I kept hoping it is a mistake, maybe the author will bring him back. He did in a sense, but not in the same way.
Kudos to the narrator. I have become a fan.
With the impending release of Neil Gaiman's new audiobook - 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' (18th June 2013) - I thought it was worth quickly reviewing the best of his previous novels. Although Anansi Boys is great (especially once you get used to Lenny Henry doing the narration), American Gods remains his greatest novelistic and audiobook achievement.
The story starts with Shadow getting out of prison a day early due to tragic circumstances. What follows is an odyssey into the heartland of America and the Gods who live there. While the book itself is a great read, the audio version really brings the text to life - Shadow's dry sense of humour; Wednesday's mischievousness. It's so good I'm actually envious of those people who have not yet had the pleasure of downloading it - if you're one of these people, download it NOW! You won't regret it.
On a similar fantasy-related / magical-reality theme, I would also heartedly recommend the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch - the everyday tell of your average bobby becoming the last apprentice of English magic. It is simply one of the best narrated books on Audible. Warning: be careful where you listen, however, you will undoubtedly get strange looks due to your laughing.
"Magnificent book - as good as I remember it!"
Read this many years ago and have just finished it on audiobook - it's still as brilliant as I remember and actually better because Neil Gaiman has put stuff back into it. Very well read too - it feels as though a great deal of care and attention was paid to make sure the detail is spot on. I think this is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to.
"Weird and wonderful - a work of genius"
I am a Neil Gaiman fan, so I'd pretty much bought into the writing style and the nature of the story up front. However, I think this is the book in which he gets everything right. It's a big book, but it's full of story, so it manages to pretty much sprint the marathon. There wasn't a time where I felt it lacked pace, or had to sit through setup text.
The characters are flawed, but completely engaging. I found myself so interested in some of the gods that I would pause the story to do a little research.
The narration is excellent and Neil's additions only add to tale.
"Brilliant and Thought Provoking"
I last listened to a Neil Gaiman children's book which I loved and happened to mention to my daughter. She recommended this. It is definitely not a children's book, there are fantastic images which will stay in my head forever. Somehow the unacceptable and unusual become the norm. The book raised questions I'd never asked before.
Great experience. I think it did for me what the Hobbit did at age 10 and Titus Groan in my 20s. It is not How Green Was My Valley.
"Brilliantly written but just plods along"
I can't help but feel more should've happened in this book or more explanation. The characters are great and the world they live in but I don't know. It just.... lacked. Its a shame cause the audio is amazing. Different actors for every voice and each great. I hope this becomes the benchmark for audiobooks. It really is a great performance but as I said the story just isn't all there for me.
Good but not great. The Ocean at the End of Lane is a superior narrative and much more cohesive and engaging
The narrative is very rambling - and the interludes (which I imagine were cut from the first edition book) break up the already baggy narrative. When the threads come together it is satisfying enough
Given how beautifully Neil Gaiman writes, I was disappointed that this is too indulgent and therefore only patchily gripping.
Absolutely brilliantly read - comes across like a play. The best narration of an audio book that I have heard
Magical in places but overall impact greatly reduced by the indulgent bagginess
I highly recommend the Ocean at the End of Lane and this is good but just too long
"didn't hold my interest "
I stuck with it until about half way at which point I had no interest in what happened next or cared about the characters. Its very rare that I don’t finish a book.
"This book has got character!"
Mystifyingly captivating despite tenuous ramblings from time to time. It's an imaginative American road trip but which gives you a real sense of the people and places along the spiritual way. A story I doubt I will forget.
None of this book is true except for some places, some persons and of course the God's they are real,
"I didn't want to like this book, but I loved it."
Reading the description I didn't think I would like this and fully expected to be returning it before the end. I only tried it because I loved stardust so much that I figured it was worth a gamble.
Turns out I was hooked within about 10 minutes!
I was intrigued, I really liked the main character and some of the other characters (Anansi might be my favourite) and felt intrigued about the less likeable characters.
I loved how all of the little sub plots knitted together and I honestly didn't see what was coming until right before it happened.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.