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American Gods

Series: American Gods, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,269 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

American Gods, the extraordinary, highly acclaimed epic audiobook from storytelling genius and international bestseller Neil Gaiman, comes vividly to life this May in the hottest major TV show of 2017. Praised by Empire as 'something very special', the series will be shown in the UK on Amazon Prime Video and stars Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning and Gillian Anderson.

If you are to survive, you must believe.

Shadow Moon has served his time. But hours before his release from prison, his beloved wife is killed in a freak accident. Dazed, he boards a plane home where he meets the enigmatic Mr Wednesday, who professes both to know Shadow and to be king of America.

Together they embark on a profoundly strange road trip across the USA, encountering a kaleidoscopic cast of characters along the way. Yet all around them a storm threatens to break.

The war has already begun, an epic struggle for the very soul of America, and Shadow is standing squarely in its path.

©2001 Neil Gaiman (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Gaiman is a treasure-house of story and we are lucky to have him." (Stephen King)
"Original, engrossing, and endlessly inventive, a picaresque journey across America where the travelers are even stranger than the roadside attractions." (George R. R. Martin)
"Gaiman has a rich imagination...and an ability to tackle large themes." (Philip Pullman)
"A very fine and imaginative writer." ( The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

This was my first purchase from Audible and the first book I've finished since I was about 10.
I came into this book after having seen the series and while I enjoyed the series very much. This book surprised me. Some of the lines left me laughing, others had me questioning who the person was it what was to happen next. Trying to piece together the whole story was great; thinking you had it right only for your theory to be destroyed by the next chapter.

The readers of the book were phenomenal. Each character sounded unique and their lines were delivered perfectly.

I'd have to recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery, a well crafted story, and the myths and legends of the gods.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Such a brilliant story.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What about Neil Gaiman and George Guidall ’s performance did you like?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would've happily listened to this in one sitting, unfortunately its a little too long for that to be possible.

Any additional comments?

Neil Gaiman is a truly unique author, and this is one of his best novels.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Perhaps not a balanced review.

The headline for this review is apt. I am a fan.
I own, I think, all of Neil Gaiman's books and so I have read American Gods in physical, page turning form previously. Thus, I knew the story, and its most loved aspects before my auditory journey commenced. Much of this book was read to me whilst I drove between Wagga Wagga and Nowra to deliver, collect, deliver and again collect my partner. It made the hours race by and ensured the mostly freeway drive remained interesting. This story marries concepts that I find wonderful and fulfilling, presenting them in an easily understood novel. The author has penned a story which shows the depth of his study of the old gods and European culture. With kobolds and gods, pixies and kelpies, daemons and demons represented in a way that is culturally significant and true to their character. Anansi gets a major role again, and the listener is introduced to the folkloric traditions of Celtic, Gaelic, Gallic, Germanic, Indian, Norse, Slavic, and Egyptian backgrounds.
I would recommend this book, but then again, I'm biased.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Immersive, enjoyable and well written

So many of the references to gods in this novel go beyond my knowledge, but Gaiman feels like he does a great job of explaining who the more obscure gods are while allowing the you to guess at and figure out the others you “should” have at least cursory knowledge of yourself. The mystery of shadow’s lineage is well written and the mysteries are genuinely fun to uncover. If you like Gaiman, this is a great read. More adult and mature than his other novels. Crucial point, this book is certainly not running in lockstep with the tv shows, and diverges a bit fairly early while having similar or same characters involved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jolene
  • Addington, New Zealand
  • 17-07-2016

An amazing journey through a new and old America

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very imaginative!

Although long and a little drawn out at times, the characters were likeable and the creativity of the story let me listening. The dialogue was clever and the story line read easily with a well rounded conclusion.

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great with voice acting

this took me some time to get through as it is long and lots happens but it was very worth it. loved every minute.

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Hurts so good

American Gods is a seriously epic tale that feels in some parts like a crazy rollercoaster, and in others just a long journey over strange yet familiar territory.
The narrators are each fantastic and give the characters their own depth that you would struggle to find in text alone.
The ending brought all of the crazy turns together which I didn't think was possible, nor did I want to happen.
I have that ache now that it's over... you know the one.

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So much more than an Audiobook

This book was outstanding!

Not only is it a classic book with a very unique structure that grips you every step of the way, but the audio rendition goes above and beyond. Each character (of which there are many) has a unique voice, helping you to connect with each of them and making this more than just a book

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solid. worth a listen

Interesting story which doesn't reach its full potential in my view. Ive watched 3 episodes of the tv show and it's definitely better than that.
The narrator sounds like Kevin Spacey and does an excellent job throughout.

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  • Ian
  • 02-10-2012

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.

Faultless.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarandos
  • 07-11-2012

Flawless!!

Any additional comments?

American Gods has been an amazing book since the day it was published, but this 10th anniversary production has resulted in the best audiobook I have ever heard. Perfect narrators, flawless character voices, seamless production - all doing justice to as rich a story and set of characters as you could ever hope for - set in the beatifully crafted attic spaces of America that those of us who don't live there love to read about and imagine. Thank you Mr. Gaiman and all those who put this production together, this is a new standard in audiobooks and it has made my life richer.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Setken
  • 21-09-2017

Brilliant

I did not know about this book until I saw the TV series earlier this year - and what a discovery! This is just awesome!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Henry Hamster
  • 12-09-2016

fantastic

incredible audiobook, varied cast and amazing voice acting performances really make this a stand out experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Luke
  • 04-09-2016

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-04-2016

Breathtaking!

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 14-05-2015

Best audio book I've ever listened to

The story is great obviously.

But the cast is what makes this audiobook so memorable.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-10-2019

Phenomenal and Hilarious

I have bought and read the hard copy and I love how the voices of the characters in this book align with what I imagined during the reading.

it is a must experience book and telling, I genuinely enjoyed and am glad I got this audiobook.

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  • Urvashi R
  • 11-09-2019

Blew my mind!

The book truly blew my mind! the narration was exceptional! It was as if I was there!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bruce
  • 06-07-2019

Wanted to like it

Struggled to finish it. There were some brilliant scenes but the story was lacking something.

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  • Miles
  • 12-06-2013

Just fantastic!

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.

71 of 76 people found this review helpful

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  • Alison
  • 19-06-2013

Original and memorable

Beautifully read this is a very unusual story that is unpredictable and intriguing. A great audiobook that I thoroughly recommend.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 07-04-2013

My new favourite book

I'd listened to the Anansi Boys narrated by Lenny Henry and loved it, knowing at the time that it was vaguely connected to American Gods, but Lenny was the draw.



Don't know why but I wasn't particularly drawn to American Gods, but after constant recommendations I thought I'd seek out the audiobook. Initially I was put off by the reviews regarding the narration, but decided to proceed with caution.



The narration is perfect for the book and kept me entertained from chapter to chapter, an absolute pleasure to listen too.



The story itself is so full personality. I became attached to many of the characters, but none more so than Shadow. I was upset when it ended and I hope to enter into that world again soon.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Neil
  • 07-04-2013

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.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy Connolly
  • 14-09-2016

Amazing!!

Would you listen to American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production) again? Why?

Yes!! Definitely. It was such a joy to listen to it i'd love to do it again. I read the book years ago and always wanted to reread it because I loved the story. Now I can do it easily with audible.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There are too many characters to pick! It's a huge cast. And quite often you'd find yourself liking a character and then a twist! and you'd see them in another light.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I loved the whole book but in particular with this audible edition I enjoyed the little bits narrated by Neil Gaiman. The bits that weren't really connected to the plot, but did have relevance to it. I just love listening to Neil Gaiman. And those bits were gold.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I found it very difficult to stop, yes. It's a long book so was pretty impossible to listen to in one sitting, but i'd find myself cleaning the house just to listen to a bit more of it.

Any additional comments?

It's about the Gods of old, and the new Gods, and them trying to survive altogether in America. And about one guy, Shadow, who gets mixed up in all of it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ant
  • 12-01-2014

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.

Highly recommended.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonin
  • 24-12-2014

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.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • D. M. York
  • 10-03-2017

Superbly performed, but pointless

I really struggled with this audiobook, eventually I got just past halfway and then gave up.

Not that the story is in any way badly written, indeed it is splendidly written and the narration is probably the best I have heard of Audible with an excellent cast. However this has not been enough to recover the meandering and seemingly pointless story.

It got to halfway through and I was not even sure of what was happening or indeed whether the story was going anywhere. The book had a very promising start and seemed to introduce some very interesting characters, though after a while it just felt that the characters were moving around pointlessly. The deciding factor for me was that by halfway I had no clue what was going on at all and much more than this, I didn't care.

Perhaps this is a book that you really need to focus on, though since I do most of my listening either at the gym or in the car, it's perhaps too involved for my taste.

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca
  • 23-02-2013

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.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Craig
  • 01-08-2012

Outstanding

Gripping tale filled with believable and engaging characters. It is clear that this was a work of love for Gaiman, one of my favourite books of all time.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful