Book Reviews of American Gods

American Gods
American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
ISBN-13: 9780060558123
ISBN-10: 0060558121
Publication Date: 9/1/2003
Pages: 624
Rating:
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 400

4 stars, based on 400 ratings
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

139 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed American Gods on + 66 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 19
This is one of those books that people either really hate or really love. Myself, I enjoyed it. Some reveiws on Amazon.com review how some readers thought it was hard to get through--somewhat slow. I can understand why people would think that, but I found myself trying to interpret what Gaiman is trying to say. Much symbolism abounds in "American Gods." Not a quick read, but for me, it was worth it.
reviewed American Gods on + 252 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
I had mixed feelings about this book. It was well written and original. However, I found the subject matter, while interesting and imaginative, unbelievable, unreal. Don't get me wrong, I love a good epic adventure! I love fantasy! The characters were great and will remain imprinted on my mind for a long time. Perhaps the problem was that it was all too unfamiliar, that sort of mythology, American Gods. Regardless, it was an enjoyable page-turner. I'm glad I read it. I will definitely read more of Neil Gaiman's work in the future and I will give this one another shot as well to see what I think of it the second time around.
reviewed American Gods on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Amazing book. I couldn't put it down. It has one of my favorite passages in any book. You'll love it especially if you like myths and legends.
reviewed American Gods on + 123 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
I know this is blasphemy, but I don't really care for Gaiman's books. I want to love them like I loved his Sandman comics, but I am really rather blase about the novels and short stories. This one seems to be a favorite of everyone who reads it. I thought it was okay. Go figure. Winner of a Nebula award for best novel in 2002.
reviewed American Gods on + 228 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This author has such a gift with words it seemed as if i had read poetry instead of a novel. A thoughtful and horrific view of our america.
reviewed American Gods on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This was, in fact, the second Neil Gaiman novel I read (Coraline being the first, which I would also reccomend). Under fear of sounding fanboy-ish, I would first of all like to say that Neil Gaiman is... just unbelievable. He's just one of those authors that has me in awe sometimes, on the same level (in my book) as Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman. But on to the actual novel.
Honestly, I don't think there is much not to like about this book. It is COMPULSIVELY readable (particularly to someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, like me). The plot idea in itself is brilliant, and the wonderful writing just adds to that. I would also like to mention how much I enjoyed Shadow as a character. Male main-protagonists usually bore me, and I end up more interested in supporting characters, but Shadow was just awesome (not that the supporting characters weren't equally fascinating).
I would highly suggest this book. I will note that this book is not for everybody. It has graphic sex and language, and I guess the premise could be off-putting to religious people. (Though I read it when I was 14, so, you know, I guess it's just personal judgement and whatnot)
reviewed American Gods on + 122 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This was a very good story. Giaman sucks you in and doesn't let you go. I really enjoyed the characters, you have humans, gods, demigods and zombies, even old Native American ledgends. It seems to me that it's a rare thing to find a book the flows. This one did just that. I had a hard time putting this book down and when I did, I couldn't wait to pick it back up.

There was this one part in this in the book, when Shadow was talking to his dead wife, and she mentions that Shadow wasn't really living, but he wasn't dead. And it made me think about all those people out there that are just exsisting. They go to work, come home eat food, watch TV and go to bed. They've forgotten what they wanted to do with their lives, what dreams they had, how to LIVE!!! I've decided that I'm not going to be that way, that I plan to LIVE! And that's what I took away from this book.

I liked the concept of the book as well, the old gods of the old world and their war with the new gods of our world.

I highly recommend this book! It was a great read.
reviewed American Gods on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A young man getting out of prison finds out his wife has just died in a car wreck. He meets a mysterious stranger on an airplane and his whole life changes.

I enjoyed reading this book. The story is choppy at times--jumping around from place to place without a transistion--but it comes together in the end. Overall it was well written and intriguing.
reviewed American Gods on + 65 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
The story itself is entertaining, but I had a hard time getting into it. The second half was better.
reviewed American Gods on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A very different kind of story. A cross between science fiction and action. I didn't think I'd like it, but I enjoyed it in the end. Some parts a little graphic.
reviewed American Gods on + 1110 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
American Gods is long, entertaining, often challenging, and on the dark and edgy side of fantasy. It's concerned mainly with myths, and although it is has a modern setting, stays true to traditional mythic roots as it attempts to explain a changing and often puzzling world. This is a scenario in which the enduring old myths have lost, or are losing, their meaning and power and the new ones that arise to take their place are brash, uncertain, and viewed with suspicion.

I'm sure that readers with a broader knowledge of religions both ancient and recent would probably find the book far more nuanced, but plumbing the depths of symbolism and mystical implications is not required to become wrapped up in Shadow's thoughtful story.

I was a little disappointed at the lack of a real resolution; after so many pages of buildup about getting there, I would have liked the destination to be clearer. But for Gaiman it's about the journey, and an interesting and creative one it was.
reviewed American Gods on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of the best books I've read...PERIOD! Neil Gaiman weaves a story of a man just out of prison trying to get his life in order and discovering his life is not what it seems. Also a commentary on our dying faith in America and how it effects us and the beings that once were worshipped. A great read. It works on many emotional levels. If you liked the Sandman comic books and graphic novels, you'll probably LOVE this book. Can't say enough good things about it.
reviewed American Gods on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
American Gods is a good read. Some people say it was a bit choppy and hard to follow, and at times it may have been. But its worth a little confusion at first when it all comes together in the end (well, not all at the end, sometimes its in the middle but you get the drift). Gaiman's development of how the 'birth' of Gods and how they live is an easy concept to grasp, even if he introduces a slew of characters like crazy. The give and take of this book was more give than take, and I recommend the read. Especially if you like mythology, because this book is nothing less than an enriching story of ancient mythology given a modern spin.
reviewed American Gods on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A wonderful book, and I believe it will become a literary classic. Even with my very limited knowledge of mythology, I was captivated by this story and the beauty of its telling.
reviewed American Gods on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is an amazing book. Gaiman's writing reminds me a little of Clive Barker. You become immersed in the new world he has created and actually can believe this is happening. There is a dark feel to this, although that is not a negative comment. It just adds to the ambiance that Gaiman is developing through out the book. Recommend highly! I read it and then I had to re-read...really a fabulous book.
reviewed American Gods on + 42 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
An unusual story, but very compelling. I couldn't put it down.
reviewed American Gods on
Helpful Score: 2
This is a really well written book. There are some very nice, sudden twists in the plot that will leave your head spinning. The story is a take on the fate of the gods in the modern world. The plot weaves together tightly and cleanly and is a must read for anyone who is interested in mythology. For me, this is not a repeat read like Dune or Mists of Avalon, but your mileage may vary.
reviewed American Gods on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is an absolutely excellent piece of fiction. It's one of those books you need to read more than once because you can't possibly absorb it all the first time. After you've gone to look up some of the gods and goddesses used in the story, you should definitely pick the book up again. I've read it three times and have 100% enjoyed it each time. Neil Gaiman is a marvelous storyteller.
reviewed American Gods on + 91 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It sat on my shelf for more than a year as I pondered whether to read it or not. It is a rather dark read but is not a horror story, more just dark fantasy. If about eight unnecessary pages were deleted the book would have been better. What made the story interesting for me where all the stories, myths, legends within the story. Gaiman did his homework.

The premise is that when people emigrated or were brought to American they brought their "gods" with them and then the gods were abandoned for new gods. The old gods and the new gods planned a war... But there are many twists and turns in the story that keep the reader wonder what is going to happen next.

I don't know if I would read it again because it is a dark read, but I am glad that I gave it a go.
reviewed American Gods on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This reminded me a lot of King's The Stand...It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't put it down =)
reviewed American Gods on + 75 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Amazon.com's Best of 2001
American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. Gaiman tackles everything from the onslaught of the information age to the meaning of death, but he doesn't sacrifice the razor-sharp plotting and narrative style he's been delivering since his Sandman days.

Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.

Armed only with some coin tricks and a sense of purpose, Shadow travels through, around, and underneath the visible surface of things, digging up all the powerful myths Americans brought with them in their journeys to this land as well as the ones that were already here. Shadow's road story is the heart of the novel, and it's here that Gaiman offers up the details that make this such a cinematic book--the distinctly American foods and diversions, the bizarre roadside attractions, the decrepit gods reduced to shell games and prostitution. "This is a bad land for Gods," says Shadow.

More than a tourist in America, but not a native, Neil Gaiman offers an outside-in and inside-out perspective on the soul and spirituality of the country--our obsessions with money and power, our jumbled religious heritage and its societal outcomes, and the millennial decisions we face about what's real and what's not.
reviewed American Gods on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I dragged my feet about reading this book even though it was recommended to me by a variety of people whose opinions I generally respect. Since Neil Gaiman writes comic books (Whoops! I mean "graphic novels" :-) I figured this wouldn't be my cup of tea.

Boy, was I wrong. It's a great novel with stellar writing, as well as interesting well-developed characters and a pleasing meandering sort of plot development that makes you want to sit down with it after a bad day. I was a reluctant convert, but I'm recommending this to everyone.
reviewed American Gods on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Gaiman is at the top of his game. an excellent book!
reviewed American Gods on + 44 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Dreadful. Awful book that so many others had suggested I'd love, so I bought it, and hated it. Gaiman thinks he's clever with thinly veilled "Surprises" that I saw through 300 pages before they were "revealed" and were supposed to make a difference, but didn't.
Even though I want to get rid of this piece of crap book, I couldn't recommend it to a human. Maybe if you need paper to start fires with, the book could be useful.
Don't read this thing.
reviewed American Gods on + 599 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The beginning of this book had me thinking I was not really going to like it much-it is written well-but the subject matter is really out there. It is about people's beliefs in their gods bringing those gods to America from their "old country". While it takes place in present time, it visits back through time touching on a particular event here and there that brought certain gods to this country. In the present, those beliefs fade and there develops a kind of "turf war" between the older gods and the new generation. It turns out to be a very compelling road trip throughout America with some spooky moments and in the end is a great story! I really liked it overall!
reviewed American Gods on + 201 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A great book. Nebula and Hugo winner. In it, the hero (Shadow) is employed by Mr. Wednesday after the death of Shadow's wife. We follow Shadow as he and Wednesday travel around the US recruiting. Lots of mythology in here, but bundled up into our world now. An excellent read and a lot of fun. If you like works by Roger Zelazny this is probably going to appeal to you.
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Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed American Gods even though fantasy is not a usual genre for me. Shadow is about to be released from prison, but the wife and quiet life he looked forward to is upended by her sudden death in a car accident. Starting with his plane ride back from prison, there's a falling-through-the-rabbit-hole feel to his new adventures. Gaiman's prose is inspired, keeping the reader motivated to follow along with Shadow in what can be interpreted as a deeply allegorical tale. An American mythology, even. Instead of a slew of unanswered questions, I left with an appreciation of Gaiman's craft.
reviewed American Gods on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A good book, Gaiman has done quite a bit of research on gods from different ideologies, and folded it all into this book. The main character is getting out of jail, and finds out his wife has been killed. He is recruited by a shady character, and the story follows as his eyes are opened more and more to what has been around him, but he just did not realize (or notice).

A good read if you like mythology, and don't mind some parts of the book where you feel like there is more going on than the author is writing, but you haven't been given all of the information. You'll get the whole story by the end, promise.

It is NOT a mystery, but more like a "coming of age" story. Shadow (protagonist) is likable, and you really feel for him. Gaiman does a great job of giving the characters, even some of the more minor characters, a depth that many other writers never do.
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Helpful Score: 1
A very different read as compared to the stream-line mass media in print these days. I enjoyed this book as it aligns with a philosophy of how we manifest our own destiny - through thought. That explanation is much deeper than the fun read of the book. Intriging - I found myself looking forward to each nightly reading, and finished quickly. Fun.
reviewed American Gods on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is amazing. It reminded me that Neil Gaiman is not only a genius, but the master.

Shadow is the main character in the story. When the book starts off, Shadow is doing the last few days of his 6 year sentence, in which he would be serving 3, for almost beating to death 3 men where he acted as the getaway driver in a robbery. Before I get any further into this review, let me say that Shadow is so well written, and I really connected with him. I found myself in a whirlwind of emotions, but I definitely was falling in love with him as a character.

Shadow's life, however isn't without complications. A few days before he is to be released Shadow unexpectedly gets called to the warden's office. He tells him he is going home early, Laura, his wife, his everything, died in a car accident. The journey home is where Shadow's life changes.

When Mr. Wednesday, a strange and pale man Shadow meets on the plane ride home back to Eagle Point, and to Laura's funeral, approaches him about working for him, Shadow refuses. He has a job waiting back for him in Eagle Point, as a trainer at the gym he worked for before he got locked up.

Or so Shadow thinks.

When he finds out his employer and best friend was killed with Laura in the car accident, he reluctantly agrees to be Mr. Wednesday's body guard, muscle, errand boy, driver, and whatever else, for a fee of $1,000 a week, a fee which Shadow picked.

Shadow's journey is incredible and heartbreaking, and the sheer strength that he possesses through a dead and adulteress wife, secrets about his own family, encounters with Gods long forgotten and living like pauper humans, new gods that roam the world revered, and the war of ages, Shadow always remains Shadow.

This book left me screaming for a sequel, and not Ananasi Boys whose storyline is based off of one of the characters. I want more about Shadow.
reviewed American Gods on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
My first Neil Gaiman book. I was taken in the premise of an epic battle between the "old gods" of mythology and the "new gods" of the present age...SPOILERS.....it really doesn't deliver on the premise...the battle is largely a smoke screen for other activities. The plot wanders in a typical road trip style fashion, the main hero is pretty much only an observer and takes no direct action just wandering from place to place. Not much action....except for a lot of lurid sex scenes...and of the epic war that really never takes place.
reviewed American Gods on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I must sing praises of American Gods.
It it.....just fantastic. Every book I've read since then pales in comparison.
I highly recommend it to you, to your friends, to EVERYONE. It's wonderfully imaginative and while reading it, I really felt like I was there, and I really felt and cared for all the characters.
Read it. Best tip I could give you today.
reviewed American Gods on + 108 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Wow, this will go down as one of my favorite novels. It needs to be a mini-series or multi part movie (a la Peter Jackson) yesterday. It was just so visual, intelligent, and intricate. I loved being fully immersed in the story and the scenery. This book is ultimately a love letter to America and its unique mixture of cultures, religions, belief in innovation, and constantly shifting attentions. For people well-versed in the geography of the Mid-West and Illinois in particular, there are plenty of references to locales that are like little nuggets of gold that just make the whole experience of reading this book seem more real. Gaiman obviously did his research and it amuses me to see mentions of small towns like Bloomington.

Yes, the plot rambles a bit and the focus can shift abruptly from the hero, Shadow, to another god or a quick history lesson. But I loved that. It gave me an all-encompassing view of the world of American Gods. It mimicked the very rambling and shifting nature of the American land and beliefs. I think there is a very good reason why Shadow is so often on a road trip for the majority of the novel. His shamanic journey, and the journey of all the gods to America, is like one long, never-ending road trip through a perilous and wondrous land.

I'm a mythology buff who is often disappointed by depictions of mythology in popular culture. It's not like Gaiman doesn't make decisions that don't gel with my personal view point on certain gods, but he does it in such an intelligent, darkly humorous, and beautiful way that is somehow still respectful without being reverential. I read this book for the depiction of the Norse gods, but the true stars of the book were, for me, the Egyptian gods. I dare anyone not to fall in love with Bast, Anubis, or Thoth. And crazy Horus was just too funny and endearing. Briefly mentioned hitchhiking Jesus gave me another chuckle.

I have flirted with reading this book since it first came out, always yearning to read it but so worried I'd be disappointed. Ultimately my high expectations were met and now I can't decide what book could possibly follow up this masterpiece that is part thriller, part fantasy, part horror, and part black comedy.
reviewed American Gods on
Helpful Score: 1
One of the most gripping and dynamic stories I've read in a while!
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Helpful Score: 1
I did not know what to expect when I started reading this book as I had not read any reviews. I had heard Neil Gaiman was a terrific writer: and he is! I did not know this was a fantasy novel when I began reading, though it soon became apparent. But, if you are not a fan of fantasy, don't let that put you off. It was an absorbing read, regardless.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a gritty look at the world of forgotten gods, who must resort to lives as cab drivers and such, because they are not worshipped anymore. The down-on-his-luck protagonist stumbles into this world and finds himself a willing pawn in an endgame. It's an odd juxtaposition of modern real-world life and fantasy. To enjoy the book, you have to suspend disbelief to accept the fact that the lead character takes this all in stride, and just goes along with everything. A more realistic character would have struggled with doubts about his mental health or at least put up bit of a fight. That was my only problem with this book. I think that journey into fantasy could have been handled more effectively without losing the impact. But that's being extremely nitpicky. This will probably appeal more to those who are into dark comic/adventure books. Sort of a guy thing. My husband is loving the book. I knew he would.
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Wow. What a wonderful ride. American Gods is a Hugo and Nebula award winning novel, and thats probably the biggest reason I picked the novel up. Typically, I find the award winners good, but not great, as my tastes never do seem to match the voting bodies for those awards.

But this book? This book was astounding. I was enthralled the whole time (its a long book), never found any part of the plotting predictable, was thoroughly engaged by the characters, and had a fantastic, wild ride.

Its the story of Shadow, an ex-con widower who finds himself in the employ of an elder god (Odin), whos trying to prevent the destruction of the old gods by the new gods. (Old gods are the traditions brought by immigrants to America, and come from many mythologies. New gods are things like TV, Automobile, and so on: the things that Americans today seem to worship more than any other.) All the gods seem to have day jobs, and live in the world with the rest of us.

This setup let Gaiman go crazy with mixing together of all the old mythologies, and also brought the gods down to earth and made them approachable. The end result of that is a wonderful, understated comic mix of it all.

But Gaiman has a serious story to tell, a quest of sorts, and that quest propels the reader through the novel at a breakneck pace. I loved it.

Highly recommended. 5 of 5 stars.
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Overall, I enjoyed this book. When I first started reading I wasn't sure I even liked his writing style, but I was quickly drawn into the lives of characters. I was always happy to see certain characters reappear. It amazes me that Neil Gaiman is British. The voice of this novel is very-American. One thing I noticed for myself, was that it is very important to pay attention to every detail. What I thought of as inconsequential scenes or bits of information became very important later in the story.
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This was my first book by Neil Gaiman. The main story is very intriguing and leaves you wanting to know what happens next. However, I found myself kind of annoyed by all the extraneous material that really had no connection to the story other than background information. Gaiman could have ommitted all the extra "stuff" and had a tight, compelling, fresh-voiced novel. I liked the main story well enough to add Neverwhere (another Gaiman novel) to my wishlist and give Gaiman another try. I just feel that the extra stuff slowed the novel down and made it a long read. If I like a novel well enough, I add it to my personal library. American Gods almost made it in, but all that extra stuff disqualified it. You may well appreciate the extra stuff if you are really into fantasy novels.
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This is an outrageously good story. A wonderful book. I swear many many times I had to put it down and go "What would it be like to live inside this mans head" The things he brought to life were just crazy and fantastic. I was amazed with every turn. I loved all the stories within the stories, and for a longer book, they helped to keep it from getting boring. Not that a book like this could be. I'm so glad I decided to read it.

I recommend it to one and all.
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Outstanding, this one will be hard to part with.
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An extremely popular book right now, and it was an entertaining read.
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Clever story concept with some genuine surprises in the plot.
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This was a pretty thick book, 628 pages long, but it went by fairly quickly nonetheless and I greatly enjoyed it. While reading, I found myself trying to place which God or Goddess was represented by each character that Shadow met on his travels with Wednesday. (I was pretty good with all the Egyptian ones and Kali; the exact form of some of the Norse ones escaped me at times, though the names were familiar.)

I'm looking forward to reading Anansi Boys now, which is sort of a follow-up to this book.
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I must sing praises of American Gods.
It it.....just fantastic. Every book I've read since then pales in comparison.
I highly recommend it to you, to your friends, to EVERYONE. It's wonderfully imaginative and while reading it, I really felt like I was there, and I really felt and cared for all the characters.
Read it. Best tip I could give you today.
reviewed American Gods on + 63 more book reviews
"American Gods" is a book that is nowhere near as good as its sequel.

While "Anansi Boys" has engaging characters that will leave you cracking up, "American Gods" is a slow read. Much of this is due to the main character, appropriately named Shadow, who is not someone who causes things to happen as much as someone whom things happen around, without evoking much of a reaction.

Gaiman's minor characters, such as Wednesday, Sam Black Crow, and Wood, all shine; but Shadow, as Gaiman himself has noted, was just a plain difficult character to get into. So thank goodness for Odin's little escapades and trickeries ... and if you think Odin is a treat in this book, check out Anansi in "Anansi Boys."
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The main character is a man called Shadow. He just made it out of prison and is excited to get home to his wife. Unfortunately, the night before he's released he finds out his wife died in a car accident with his best friend. Now Shadow has no ties to the real world, and he makes the acquaintance of a business man named Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job. Through Mr. Wednesday Shadow meets many strange and unusual people, but the funny thing is that Shadow seems to fit in with them.
I know there are a lot of metaphors and religious messages in this book, but don't look at me for what they are because I was not thinking that deeply while I read it. Mostly I enjoyed the book. The only time I didn't was when I felt I was supposed to know the people/Gods that Shadow or Mr. Wednesday were talking to. I felt a little confused at the ending; it felt like there was too many people in the pot.
As a character, I liked Shadow and related to him through most of the book except(warning this may spoil the ending for you) when he returns at the end. I just couldn't understand why he would come back after being done with the world. I just didn't see it happening.
In the end, I enjoyed the story and the characters, and I would read the sequels and short stories connected to American Gods.
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Extremely good story. Very imaginative.
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A strange book. Very, very strange. Hard to get into, even harder to describe. Yet I came away from it with a deep sense of satisfaction. The writing was excellent, the story very descriptive and detailed. Full of American icons, i.e. fast food. Suspend all belief in reality and let the plot wash over you. D.
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I'm not quite sure what to say about American Gods. It's a bizarre, yet very good book. The main character, Shadow, is waiting out his last days in prison only to find out his wife was killed in a car accident. On his way to the funeral, he meets an interesting character on the plane who knows way too much about Shadow, and the mysterious man offers him a job. Shadow finds himself caught in the middle of a war between the various gods of America - the gods of the past, brought over with the hopes and dreams of the immigrants, and the gods of an increasingly modern society - television, the internet, etc. This book makes you want to cheer for the good guys, but then again, who is really good, and how can we know? This was my first exposure to Gaiman; I'd heard about him many times over, but had never actually picked up a book by him. I think I'll pick up more, and I encourage you to do so too. This is a good, albeit bizarre and strange, book.
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Really good book. I love the way the "old" gods were incorporated into modern day and the fight between the gods of our forefathers and the gods of our children. Makes you look at the evolution of our dieties in a whole new way. I very much recoment this book.
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DH just finished it and can't wait to re-read it. He felt it is an "important" book.
I'm hoping to have a chance to read it before he grabs it back.

Its a lo-o-o-o-ng book but worth the read.
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Very enjoyable - a fun, novel, Stephen King-like mythology. I found the ending a little bit predictable.
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Couldn't get into this fantasy in which a man recently released from prison is sucked into what appears to be a battle between ancient gods and newcomers.
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It keeps you glued to the pages, but it's Neil Gaiman; I'd expect nothing less.
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It's a bit rough around the edges, but never fails to entertain. This was the first Gaiman work that I read and it made me want to read more. He's got a wicked sense of humor and uses the macabre in a way that's not hokey.
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American Gods is Neil Gaiman's best and most ambitious novel yet, a scary, strange, and hallucinogenic road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American spirit. -- Amazon.com

"Mystery, satire, sex, horror, poetic prose -- AMERICAN GODS uses all these to keep the reader turning the pages." -- Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"A crackerjack suspense yarn . . . juicily original . . . Wagnerian noir." -- Salon.com

". . . By turns thoughtful, hilarious, disturbing, uplifting, horrifying and enjoyable -- and sometimes all at once." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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I enjoyed this book - it was quite an epic tale. It had such a fascinating premise! I like the whole mythology-brought-to America idea. Although, I must admit, I would have preferred a more satisfying end for Shadow. But, that wasn't enough to detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. Really, it was just fascinating - and such an engrossing read. It had such vivid imagery - it was just terrific!!
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I really enjoyed this book it is wacky and probably one of Gaiman's best. Lots of humor and supernatural events to keep the plot rolling. Similar to some of Christopher Moore's work.
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Ugh. I didnt get past 30-40 pages. Im not a particularly prudish (or even particularly visual) reader, but every few pages had sex scenes or imagery that was simultaneously depraved and cartoonish, like something out of an adolescent boys imagination. This struck me as tawdry and gratuitous. Perhaps it wasnt, ultimately, but it turned me off enough not to want to find out.
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I did not know who Neil Gaiman was a few years ago when I found this book. Someone had simply left it for the taking, and it was in all right shape so I picked it up. Fantasy is not my main genre, but this is so well-written, with good characters, that I really liked it a lot, enough to pick up other Gaiman books later.
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I could not put it down. In fact, I'm thinking about reading it again and I'm not a re-reader.
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My only prior experience with Neil Gaiman's work in the Sandman graphic novels. Having enjoyed the surrealism and oddness of those, I thought I'd give American Gods a shot.

Plot Summery (MINOR SPOILERS)--Shadow is released from prison to find that his wife and best friend are dead, and he has no job or life to go home to. He is recruited by Mr. Wednesday as an errand boy, and soon discovers that Mr. Wednesday is actually a god. The gods of many religions followed their believers to America, but have since been largely forgotten or ignored. Wednesday's goal is to gather other old school gods to battle the new gods of America--things like credit cards, the internet, and cancer. The story follows Shadow as he observes the ways of gods and ultimately realizes the part he has to play in the scheme of things.

This book requires a good amount of patience on the part of the reader. The plot rambles and sidetracks, and you have to be willing to get through a lot of detail that seems random and unrelated before everything comes together. For a fantasy novel, there isn't much in the way of world building or explaining--it's all showing and little telling. In other word, rarely if ever does a character explain "I Loki. I'm a Norse God."--you have to figure a lot out for yourself or just remain ignorant. I thought about giving up several times, but was intrigued just enough to continue. I'm glad I did, because in the end it was a very rewarding and thought provoking reading experience.

Shadow is a character about whom I have conflicting feelings. Gaiman gives him a minimum of character traits, letting him remain a ghost-like observer rather then an active character for most of the book. He shows few strong reactions to the fantastic things he sees and is told, just going along with everything. At one point another character comments that he doesn't seem very alive, and I'd say that's quite accurate. On one hand I feel that this is a terrible way to portray a main character, but on the other hand I can't think of a better way to tell this particular story. After all, the story is really about the gods. When Shadow did start to show development and liveliness (in the last 100 pages or so) I really found myself liking him. The other characters are extremely intriguing and well written.

Overall, while not a perfect epic reading experience, this book was worth the time I invested in in. It portrays Gods as victims of their believers, and America as a muddled and fascinating mix of cultures. 4.5 stars.
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This is a sci-fi book, is not the type book I normally read. I think someone who is a fan of this genre would enjoy this book.
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Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. At a loss, he takes up with a mysterious character called Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. In fact, Wednesday is an old god, once known as Odin the All-father, who is roaming America rounding up his forgotten fellows in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. Shadow agrees to help Wednesday, and they whirl through a psycho-spiritual storm that becomes all too real in its manifestations. For instance, Shadow's dead wife Laura keeps showing up, and not just as a ghost--the difficulty of their continuing relationship is by turns grim and darkly funny, just like the rest of the book.
Brilliant novel, great writing, although I like Neverwhere better.
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* * ½*. Fantastique. When I began reading this book, the premise seemed promising; I thought this would be a real page-turner. A man finds himself in the midst of a battle between old gods long forgotten and new gods. Whoa! Seemed like heavy stuff. The narrative is good. Shadow's whimsical sarcastic sense of humor had me laughing out loud at times (most memorable was the scene where he meets the raven). The book reminded me of Clive Barker's early fantastique novels (Weaveworld, Great and Secret Show, Imajica) where ordinary people became embroiled in matters involving other worlds. The problem with American Gods was there really was no plot so much as a pattern: 1.) Hear about the upcoming storm 2.) Move to a new location 3.) Hide 4.) Get discovered. 5.) Repeat.
So, along the way, we meet interesting characters (human and non-human), but nothing happens to propel the story forward. The only reason that I didn't quit the book early is because Shadow is a likable character and you do want to know how certain relationships end, if they do at all.

3/4's of the way, Gaiman finally writes "And so the storm began." I won't say anything about the storm, other than "That's it!?" But Mr. Gaiman could have turned a great premise into a cool book.
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My first book by Neil Gaiman, after hearing alot about him. This was an absolutely fantastic read. Interesting characters and a great story. If you don't enjoy fantasy/sci fi, this might not be your thing, but I'd highly recommend this book.
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It's Gaiman, but I really preferred Good Omens to this.

Sometimes it seems that this book is taking itself much too seriously.
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An excellent story.
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This is one of Gaiman's masterpieces. He is at the top of his game here. A book I think everyone should read and anyone can get into! A cool concept. An entertaning and thougholy satisfing read. If you are a fan of Gaiman's you will love this book. If you are not a fan, you will be after reading this!
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As usual the tale and the telling of the tale are both excellent. However I couldn't give this one four stars like his first two that I read (Neverwhere & Stardust). I found the ending to be very anticlimactic and unsatisfying.
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I loved this book!

I was not a huge fan of Gaiman's Good Omens. So I was a little skeptical to give this book a try, but it came highly recommended to me. I'm so glad I gave it a chance, because I loved it! I couldn't put the book down. I just wanted to know what happens next! There's a war coming. Old world Gods like Odin and Queen of Sheba versus new Gods like the Internet and Media. Wednesday, an old God, recruits Shadow to help him round up the old gods and convince them to join the fight. There were so many interesting characters in this book. I couldn't put it down towards the end. Definitely recommend.
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Shadow is a man with a past. Flying home for his wife's funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane a strange man sits next to him, knowing way too much about Shadow.
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I felt American Gods was well written and I loved the concept - What happens to gods when people no longer believe in them? Maybe I was expecting too much as this was my first Gaiman novel and I had heard rave things about his writings, but I found it lacking. I felt the gods could have had more dimension. Overall, not a bad book, but I was disappointed.
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This was a great book! Very good storyline.
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I'm not sure if I under-appreciated this (popular) novel, but I'm relieved to be done. The vibe I got while reading was similar to watching a movie based on a comic-book, which is hardly surprising, really, considering Mr. Gaiman started out writing and illustrating graphic novels. The overall mood is dark, and if the characters were illustrated, I picture them all with sharply-contoured facial expressions and inhabiting a sharply shadowed, edgy world.

Shadow (the name fits the mood, doesn't it?) is released from prison and goes home to Indiana only to find that his wife has been killed in an accident. Unsure of what to do and with nothing to lose, he takes a job as an errand boy for a mysterious man named Wednesday. Shadow soon finds himself mixed up in a war between the dying "old gods" of traditional world cultures, and the "new gods" that are replacing them, represented by various anthropomorphic embodiments of the Media.

Overall, an interesting idea, but the greater pulpy feel rubbed me the wrong way, possibly due to mere personal tastes. I found the prose repetitive and tiresome: a character's every movement is described in great detail--to make up for the fact that this isn't a "graphic novel" with illustrations? A character takes a bite, chews, swallows, puts down the sandwich, wipes his mouth, picks it up again...really? What is the purpose of inflating a book in this manner, with all that meaningless detail? There are also some overly-gruesome scenes whose presence can only be explained by the physical shock value, as they fail to propel or be relevant to the story. These too I could have done without. Glad to be finished.
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Very imaginative work, and includes a lot of folklore references.
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Once upon a time, fantasy author Terry Prachett had a brilliant kernel of an idea. He, a master of hilarious subplots and idiosyncrasies, actually wrote in one of his earlier Discworld series that the strength of belief was the food that sustained Gods . Neil Gaiman, while collaborating with Terry Prachett for the novel "Good Omens," compounded on this little idea, and asked if he could take Prachett's idea and run with it.

Run very far, indeed. In this book, Gaiman asks, "What would Gods look like in modern times, and what would they do if they have no more believers left?"

Shadow, an ex-convict, is hired by a mysterious man to act as the muscle upon his release from the pen. This old man has so many hidden resources and knowledge of human nature and is able to manipulate others to do his bidding. Shadow gets to meet very strange "people" along the way as he drives the old man around the country to recruit their support for the old man's mysterious cause. Obviously, something big is going to blow over, and it is this suspense that keeps the pages turning.

What is remarkable about this novel is the sheer grand scale of it. Incredible research has gone into writing this novel on the various settings all over the map of the United States. The characters are enriched with full backgrounds and histories that compels you to identify with them. There are ancient fertility symbols come to life, as well as a winking Lucille Ball to entice Shadow to betray his employer. The sub-plots are developed extensively and may even teach you something about slave trading in the West Indies and Eastern European sacrificial rites. This book is not for those religious conservatives who insist that the Christian god is the only god, because oddly enough, Jesus or Jehovah doesn't appear in this novel.

This book is very highly recommended, especially for those who enjoy Nordic mythology and funky potpurri of religious factoids. Others will enjoy seeing their god of choice making cameo appearances.
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This book is pretty good. Very interesting characters, completely original plot-line. Definitely worth a read - you won't get bored reading it!!
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Creative and surprising.
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A strange tale of the collaboration between a human and the Gods of old in a dual with the new gods. A good read but the concept is somewhat strange. Winner of the 2001 Bram Stoker Award for best novel.
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Well, I made it through the book...but feel like I need to roll my eyes in disinfectant.

Shadow is a big, dumb guy. He's biding his time in jail, keeping his head down, until he can return to his wife and job when his time is up. But it doesn't quite work out like that. His wife dies, along with his former boss. Then he meets Mr. Wednesday, a well-dressed and strangely connected man that offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard and errand boy. With no other options, Shadow accepts. But Wednesday has plans for his new lackey. Big plans.

It was an interesting enough story so I kept on reading, despite the over-peppering with f-bombs. Getting through an entire page without foul language seemed like a task too big for Mr. Gaiman. But since I love mythology, I turned every swear-smeared page. It was an interesting concept, how the gods of foreign lands were reincarnated in American by true believers that journeyed to the new land only to be abandoned for new gods in the form of technology and media. I had the big twist figured out well before but the missing kids? Got that one the same time Shadow did and it ruined my whole night.
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A fascinating, uplifting story. One of my favorite Neil Gaiman books.
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I LOVED Neil Gaiman's Sandman books, but to be honest I am not a fan of his novels. I tried Neverwhere and this one - neither of those held my interest enough to even finish them.
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Back Cover Synopsis:
Shadow is a man with a past. But now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same...

What the back cover didn't say:
The back cover explanation really says absolutely nothing. This book is about what happens when immigrants come to American, a basically godless country and what happens to their own gods when people stop believing in them. New gods come to being: the TV, the Media, Technology.

What I didn't like: Shadow is just a stupid name for a man. Also, the dead wife/walking corpse just seemed a bit pointless although she did take care of all the dirty business for Shadow.
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A very entertaining read. Very, very funny in spots with interesting characters and plotting. Maybe I should keep this and read it again. I guess I could get it back through paperbackswap later. . .
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I did not like this at all. I usually enjoy this genre and was every excited to read it after reading the synopsis; but I found it bizarre and flat. I couldn't wait to finish it, and I skimmed the last 50 pages or so.
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This book is all over the place. A new setting almost every chapter, along with new characters. I never saw one character long enough to care what happened to him. It just didn't hold my interest.
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Loved Stardust and Coraline...hated this
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This is a writer you could get addicted to!
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Most of the reviews are raving and this book has won SO many awards. However, I thought the character development was weak and the insertion of short stories made the book wander too much for me. I actually liked the short stories better than the weak plot.
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Ugh. I didnt get past 30-40 pages. Im not a particularly prudish (or even particularly visual) reader, but every few pages had sex scenes or imagery that was simultaneously depraved and cartoonish, like something out of an adolescent boys imagination. This struck me as tawdry and gratuitous. Perhaps it wasnt, ultimately, but it turned me off enough not to want to find out.
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Excellent book -- quite the metaphysical adventure. The idea that the gods of world came to america(s) with the immigration of their people is powerful (and true from a Western Esoteric Tradition perspective). The battle with the gods of technology we have created is on! I loved this book.
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A real favorite... Fascinating, a tour de force. It was top of my list until I read "Neverwhere."
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I just love Neil Gaiman and this story doesn't disappoint. I couldn't put the book down!
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Absolutely wonderful! This was my first Neil Gaiman novel and I can't wait to read all his works!
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Neil Gaiman's magic realist journey through the American heartland. A b eutiful and heartbreaking book.
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An excellent story of old gods, new gods, and a mortal man stuck in their games.
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Although I liked characters and the basic premise of the book, I found the ending to be a let down, and the promise of the great battle between the gods was never really delivered.
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Gods and Godesses come to life--and death--as they struggle for existence, aided by Shadow, an ex-con trying to get away from his past.
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Interesting, if not enjoyable. Gaiman is perhaps a bit too graphic for my taste.
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potato chip book - not the greatest literature, but a fun read
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The longest of Gaiman's books. The author likes to play with myths and legends, and it can be difficult to keep up with the characters. A good read.
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I liked this book very much. It was nice to see some of the Norse gods getting some attention.
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Couldn't get into this one, never finished it.
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I liked the main charachter Shadow because he always stayed calm in the face of surprising magic.
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I absolutely love Neil Gaiman and in my opinion this is his best work. It was very thought provoking and I loved the way he used symbolism and foreshadowing through the book. In the usual Neil Gaiman fashion there is also quite a bit of sarcastic humor thrown in, which I also enjoyed.
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Amazing fantasy with lots of philosophy involved. Sympathetic characters, a roller-coaster ride!
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I found this book to be incredibly compelling. Seriously good yarn.
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Peter Straub said "Masterful Storytelling". Absolutely true, an amazing book! This book was a New York Times bestseller and the author has won many awards, among them the World Fantasy Award and the Bram Stoker Award. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said "By turns thoughtful, hilarious, disturbing, uplifting, horrifying and enjoyable". All true, a not miss book.
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If you like Norse gods, and mythology in general - this is an interesting read - a bit long, however.
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Read it in three days when I first got it. Stayed up all night all three nights. Have read it many times since then. Met my own girl Sam. Best Novel Ever.
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Great read - flows nicely - excellent summer reading!
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I loved this book the moment I started reading it. I felt the story flowed even better than Gaiman's other smash novel, Neverwhere. This is one of my favorite novels, but somewhere along the way, I must have lent it to a friend and never got it back! Had to find it and order it again. Such an excellent book! Once I get another copy, I'm never letting it out of my possession again. It's books like this one that you have to hold on to if you love it, because if you have like-minded friends and they "borrow" it from you, you can kiss that copy goodbye!
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One of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors. I fell in love with the characters. This book fell right in line with my new obsession of the magical realism genre.
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A thrilling and thought-provoking read, this book has all the best elements of fantasy, mystery, thriller... Gaiman is a master of playing with the scale of things, making roadside attractions into sacred places and gods into chain-smoking everyday Joes. Kind of a mind-blower.
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This book is simply incredible. I read it over the course of a few days (in transit to work, though it was a struggle to start work rather than read it!), and it was just so good, I had to re-read it as soon as I finished it. Dramatic and deep, Gaiman is an incredible author.
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one of my fav books
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I love mythology, but this book tended to drag on. While it was interesting in part, the only reason I kept reading was because it was located mostly in my home state of Wisconsin. The premise was good, but it simply wasn't that engaging.
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Interesting...a little confusing.
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The start of the story was somewhat vague to me. All of the names each god was known by- coupled with the intertwining story lines- was a bit overwhelming and hard to keep track of, but all does come together in the end. Like many reviews I've read here and on other sites, the author's intention of comparing Shadow to Jesus went over my head.
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This was a strange one for me. I couldnt put the book down but when I was done it left me empty. I dont know. I am on the fence as to if I liked it or not. Ugggg
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Neil Gaiman -- what can I say?
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Mu husband really liked this book but I just couldn't get into it.
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Amazing book!
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From a modern writer, comes a "tall tale" that will keep you interested right up to the end. Shadow is a man with a past who just wants to live quietly with his wife, and stay out of trouble.
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Well researched and witty.
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I really liked this story till about three quarters thru then it bogged down on me.
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I found this book. I just could not get into it. Seems to be a little like Stephen King's writing.
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I found myself both annoyed and intrigued by this book. I liked the plot concept, but at times I found myself bored with it. Then I'd get back into it. Not really sure if I liked it or not.
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Could not get through this one.
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This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read. I didn't like it much. I found it very silly
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Another great book by Gaiman
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After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the days, then the hours, 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.
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This book was disturbing on many levels. I hated to finish it.
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This has won all sorts of awards, but I can't understand why...

I read Gaiman's "Neverwhere," and liked it very much, so I decided to read this one. Mistake. The problem is that none of the characters are likeable, and the author pounds home curse words like there's no tomorrow. Now, I'm no prude, but what does it prove to have the characters cursing in almost every paragraph?

I managed to finish Chapter 5 and then put the book, something I haven't done since Book 4 of The Wheel of Time (but at least I got further along in that book before the annoyances overwhelmed me).

Be warned that there are some sex scenes, although thankfully, there aren't that many of them (at least not through Chapter 5).

Would I have liked this if I persisted until the end? Perhaps. But when there are a lot of books to choose from out there, why should I bother with one that irritates and bothers me?

If you like this kind of dark stuff (it's unrelenting in parts), then have a ball with it.
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Remainder book. Small black mark on bottom pages.
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Shadow is a man with a past. Hes flying home to the funeral of his wife. A stranger sits next to him on the plane who knows more about Shadow than he should,
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Shadow is a man with a past. Bust now he wants nothing more than to live a quiet life with his wife and stay out of trouble. Until he learns that she's been killed in a terrible accident.

Flying home for the funeral, as a violent storm rocks the plane, a strange man in the seat next to him introduces himself. The man calls himself Mr. Wednesday, and he knows more about Shadow than is possible.

He warns Shadow that a far bigger storm is coming. And from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same...