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American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

American Gods: A Novel (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Neil Gaiman

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25,11465244 (4.09)12 / 1169
I found this really dull and uninteresting--it's just reading a hundred pages of tedious dialogue and plot that is then punctuated with ten pages of odd, dreamlike imagery or strange sex (I can see why HBO wants to make it into a miniseries). It was definitely a slog. It picked up a bit near the end, but I just feel Neil could have taken--perhaps--the entire middle three fourths of the book and either condensed it into a chapter or two or maybe even excised it completely. It just dragggggggged; I think a competent editor could have pared this down to something that wasn't filled to the brim with as much rambling. I will say the ending bumped this up to a "soft" 2.5/5, but definitely still rounded down to 2. ( )
2 vote sallowswine | May 28, 2012 |
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Great. ( )
  Suusan | Feb 8, 2016 |
American Gods was one hell of a labor of love. I've had the book sitting on my bookshelf ever since it was in talks with the big guns in Hollywood that someone might pick it up. Well, a couple of weeks ago it was confirmed that STARZ got the rights and will be making it into a television series. So I decided it was time to read the book rather then let it keep collecting dust.

I really enjoyed the story, even the stories within the story, the mythology on how "gods" weren't born in America, but traveled over with the people that came here. And how those gods slowly were forgotten and how new gods, created by the age of technological advancement, started taking over. American Gods is deep, heavy, thought provoking. I enjoyed the variety of colorful characters, gods of old (Egyptian, Norse, Biblical, Indian etc.) in disguise as humans and had fun figuring out who they were with the subtle and sometimes not so subtle hints Gaiman dropped along the way. Shadow, the main protagonist, was a very interesting study that I originally thought was kind of dull but ended up becoming a very well rounded character by the end of the novel.

My problem, thus the reason for the 4 star rating, is because, as I stated above, it was a labor of love. There is no doubt that Gaiman is a great storyteller, however, the story got bogged down with tedious details. There were parts I wanted to skip, but then I feared I would miss something big if I did. There were just details within the scenes that could have been cut out. For example, I didn't need to know that someone cooked Shadow bacon and eggs and how it was placed on the plate, and how it was placed on the table and what he poured himself to drink and how he sat down, and how long it took him to eat, etc., etc. Where the hell was his editor?

On the flip side to all the unnecessary details, this will, no doubt, be a great thing for the creators of the television adaptation. They have so many details at their fingertips to work with. I will also say that I look forward to seeing how they bring some scenes to life on screen. My favorite part of the story (slight spoiler) is when Shadow rides on the "World's Largest Carousel" and some of the magical creatures that are on this Carousel come to life. How are they going to show him riding a griffin? Or how will they portray some of the gods in their natural form, such as Ganesha (Hindu god, half elephant, half man) or the Egyptian gods Horus & Anubis? I definitely can't wait to see how they make these things come to life!

American Gods is a unique tale of gods, those that have been forgotten and those who are fighting not to be. If you have a nice chunk of time set aside to get lost in a story, I definitely recommend it. Even better, this may be worth an audiobook listen. Rest those eyes and let someone else take you on the journey. ( )
  themusescircle | Feb 6, 2016 |
As with all Neil Gaiman books, I began reading without a peek at the description or reviews. Because his writing is a journey with twists and turns - best to go in and enjoy the ride. In the beginning, I tried to figure out with the plot was. But then I gave it up and just let the story go where it may. I'm not even sure I can describe it well if I tried, so I'll just say it was a great read! The story is so much more than I expected. ( )
  bell96 | Feb 2, 2016 |
I was told this was the best of Gaiman's books, and from those I've read I would agree. Great characters, lots to ponder after finished reading, an altogether delightful book. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
I loved it. ( )
  Irena. | Jan 28, 2016 |
Reads like a graphic novel translated into prose. I'm not sure why the title is American Gods-evidently the American Gods are the media, commerce, etc. The Old World Gods don't seem so deserving of reverence either. ( )
  Cricket856 | Jan 25, 2016 |
This is one of my favourite books of all time. I can see how it may be less interesting to one who is not as interested with mythology as I am, but to me the story at the core of this book is fascinating, the things it has to say about cultural heritage, storytelling, and their parts within the human experience are eye opening, and the characters are a delight. Its a strange book, with a strange structure, and mini stories called coming to america sprinkled throughout. But to me every part was engaging. I feel this should be required reading for students, based upon its masterful treatment of gods and their place in modern society. ( )
  John_Juliano | Jan 23, 2016 |
Shadow is released from jail after finding out that his wife had died in a car accident. Soon he is offered a job from a mysterious man, Mr. Wednesday. Thus begins a magical roadtrip through middle America and dying mythology. I really enjoyed reading this book. I find all the different gods and mythology very interesting and I could tell that Gaiman did a lot of research. After reading the book, I am interested in finding more information on a lot of the gods and characters that made an appearance in the book. I enjoyed the way the book ended too. It was not at all what I was expecting. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
This is one weird book. It`s a battle between good and bad. there are Gods,living dead not only is there a battle between the gods but also the main character Shadow battle with his conscience. Well written, colorful characters you either love this one or not but it`s an interesting read. ( )
  dom76 | Jan 8, 2016 |
Neil Gaiman is magnificent. This THE best book I've ever read to date. My friends have been telling me about it for years and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long. I've read most of his other works and loved them all, will be starting Anasasi Boys here shortly and must say this is my favorite, even over Neverwhere, which was my favorite for a looooong time. Neil YOU a god.I suck at writing reviews (clearly as this has told you nothing abou the book), but I never write them so just the fact I wrote this says something about how much this book meant to me. READ IT. That's all I can say. ( )
  faerychikk | Jan 5, 2016 |
Loved the idea, enjoyed the writing and the characters. The actual story was meh. The pacing was bad. Chapters felt longer than it needed to be thanks to ~15 page "Coming to America" side stories about characters and events that have no effect on the story. These sections always popped up when the book finally managed to hook me in and really took me out of the story.

My favorite parts of the book happened in Lakeside where it mostly abandons fantasy and gods in favor of relationship building and a little mystery.

What's the point of certain gods gaining power? None of them did anything with the power they had. Exception for an old man. ( )
  TheBlackYeti | Jan 4, 2016 |
Good but not great, I prefer Gaiman when he is being a little lighter and little funnier. ( )
  CatherineJay | Dec 30, 2015 |
I am not so familiar with the urban fantasy sub genre, I read a few Sookie Stackhouse books and one Dresden Files book, they are readable but they did not hook me into following their series. Neil Gaiman is a very different kind of fantasy author, there is a peculiarly whimsical tone to his narrative which I find very pleasant. American Gods is his best known novel, though his best known work may be the Sandman graphic novels (which I have not read). Deliberately meandering (the author says so in the Forward) the book is nevertheless immensely readable thanks to the author's literary yet whimsical (that word again) prose style, even the slow moving passages where nothing much seem to be happening are a breeze to read.

The story is essentially about gods in America, taken at face value it is an entertaining road trip through a fantastical world where gods are created by faith rather than the other way around. The narrative is mostly from the point of view of the protagonist Shadow who seems to go through life with excessive equanimity. None of the supernatural goings-on seem to surprise him throughout the book in spite of the increasing outlandishness of events. Some people I have talked to find him too bland or too much of a blank slate, I personally find him quite likable, especially with his fondness for coin tricks. Better still, the cast of characters are generally a weird and wonderful bunch, like you would find in a Dickens novel but weirder. Special mention must go to the enigmatic Mr. Wednesday and the even more enigmatic supervillain Mr. World. Less weird (but still weird) is Laura, Shadow's zombie wife who is not interested in devouring flesh or brains, only the welfare of her husband and going back to being a real girl again. She is the book's most sympathetic character, and also quietly, discreetly and politely badass when she needs to take action.

The aforementioned (too frequently mentioned) whimsical prose style makes reading the book a little like dreaming sometime, I was happy to drift along with it in no great hurry (took me almost two weeks to finish it due to lack of time). The book that follows this one [b:Anansi Boys|2744|Anansi Boys (American Gods, #2)|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327870211s/2744.jpg|1007964] is tighter, faster paced and funnier. Still, this one is well worth a read. ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
This was the second time I have read this book, it's simply one of my favorite books of all time. It's been named on many of the "best of" science-fiction book lists, and there are so many reasons why it should be. This is just a well-written piece of fiction, that opens up so many interesting religious and spiritual questions. ( )
  novaengliae | Dec 20, 2015 |
American Gods was all I'd hoped it would be and more.

5 stars

A few of my favorite quotes/passages:

A conversation between Shadow and Mr. Ibis, "You people talk about the living and the dead as if they were two mutually exclusive categories. As if you cannot have a river that is also a road, or a song that is also a color (480)."

Shadow when standing before Anubis, "We do not always remember the things that do no credit to us. We justify them, cover them in bright lies or with the thick dust of forgetfulness (482)."

A conversation between Shadow and Bast, "Maybe," he said. "Maybe I can get some kind of a happy ending."

"Not only are there no happy endings," she told him, "there aren't even any endings." (483)

A conversation between Shadow and Whiskey Joe, "So, yeah, my people figured that maybe there's something at the back of it all, a creator, a great spirit, and so we say thank you to it, because it's always good to say thank you. But we never built churches. We didn't need to. The land was the church. The land was the religion. The land was older and wiser than the people who walked on it. It gave us salmon and corn and buffalo and passenger pigeons. It gave us wild rice and walleye. It gave us melon and squash and turkey. And we were the children of the land, just like the porcupine and the skunk and the blue jay (513)." ( )
  flying_monkeys | Dec 9, 2015 |
America is a land to which the old world flocked whole hog - religions, deities, gods and superstitions included. But America is 'a bad land for gods,' and none of them have the power they used to. A widowed ex-con meets some of these gods and follows them on a bizarre and nightmarish road trip to a final battle between the old gods and the new.

A deeply original (if heavy-handed) book that might have worked better as a short story or series of short stories - my favorite chapters were the standalones about forgotten, obscure deities and the 'nobodies' who brought them to America. The overarching narrative was curiously mundane, even if it did have plenty of steam towards the end.

A powerful experience, but overreaches its grasp. Not quite up to the simple pure nightmare fantasy of 'Neverwhere' or concise focus of 'Coraline'. ( )
1 vote ddueck88 | Dec 7, 2015 |
Just the characters make this a worthy read. I wont even go into the plot. Need to read more from Neil. ( )
  Jaskier | Dec 1, 2015 |
Maybe I just tried to read this at the wrong time in my life but I could not get involved in the story. I liked Shadow as a character but there were too many interstitial pieces about ancient gods, etc. that, for me, interfered with the flow of the narrative. I can understand why Gaiman fans loved it but I preferred Anansi Boys and Neverwhere. ( )
1 vote bookappeal | Nov 13, 2015 |
I find it really weird how many American media products have the word "American" in the title. Obviously, this; a few weeks back I also read American Rust. You've got your American Beauty, American Ninja, An American Werewolf in London. American Psycho. American Sniper. American Pie, American Dad, American Graffiti. What is going on here, what are they trying to prove?? I really don't understand it. I mean you'd never get "British Beauty", "French Psycho", would you? That just seems completely laughable.

Anyway, I really didn't get this book. It made no sense to me at all. I mean it's a fun conceit, that gods are living among men in modern day America, desperate to regain the faith they once commanded, but I just felt like it wasn't thought through properly. It presents itself as being predicated on the idea that ‘America is a bad land for gods’ – this is something that characters keep saying to one another, moodily, that America is a really bad land for gods – and this is apparently why all the gods are now living hand-to-mouth existences as drifters or menial labourers.

Only – huh? Are we talking about the same America here? The one where 51 percent of the population think that humans were created by a divine being, and a further 40 percent think they were created by evolution which was set in motion by a divine being (leaving, as Tim Minchin said, a very small percentage of Americans who are right)? Is that the America that is supposed to be a bad land for gods? Do me a favour, it must be one of the most religious countries in the western world. I've driven through my share of rural Tennessee, where much of American Gods takes place, and one of the most striking things about these communities is the fact that there seems to be one church for every six or seven houses. God is invoked on the currency, on the news, by the head of state, and in schoolrooms every morning by little kids.

This is what is so frustrating about the book, because it seems like a brilliant chance to examine religion in the US in a cool and interesting way – but it doesn't. It either doesn't dare or it doesn't bother. I mean – if you're going to run with this idea that gods are walking around, with the more powerful deities being those who have the most believers, then where the fuck is Yahweh? I'm supposed to believe that Anubis is twatting around driving a hearse in fucking Cairo, IL. – despite the fact that no one in the history of America has ever worshipped Anubis – and yet Jesus doesn't make a single appearance? Somehow it's OK to play around with foreign gods that seem quaint or folkloric, but monotheism's off the table. It just didn't make any sense to me.¹

Instead, what we have to propel the narrative along is just a kind of comic-book war that we're supposed to care about. So although there were quite a few scenes that had me flipping the pages with engagement, there was always this nagging feeling that none of it really meant anything and that I didn't really care very much what happened to anyone. It doesn't help that the protagonist (with the dreadful name of ‘Shadow Moon’) is, for a central character, annoyingly passive and lacking in personality (although the goddesses he encounters still have a remarkable habit of wanting to have sex with him).

As for the writing style, well, it's fine, but it has absolutely no flair. There's quite an interesting bit in the Acknowledgements where Gaiman thanks many of his beta-readers and editors for spotting ‘stray and unintentional anglicisms’, presumably so he could remove them; this I think is something that contributes to the featureless blandness of his style. I'm not saying he is unentitled to this voice or anything like that – his wife is American, he lives in America, this is totally an authentic voice for him. It's just not one that has any character. It works in a kind of tab-A-into-slot-B way.

This is certainly not a bad book and it's quite readable – I think I'm just disappointed because I had unfairly high hopes, and I liked the concept, and I have a lot of friends who really enjoyed it. For me it was just a bit baffling and cartoony. In the same way that His Dark Materials is like a children's story for grown-ups, American Gods felt like an adult story for children. This is my third Neil Gaiman book (after Sandman and Smoke and Mirrors) and they have all been underwhelming; I think I'll just leave him alone now, since I'm sure they deserve higher ratings than I'm prepared to give them, but that's what you get when I try and squeeze in a review at 01:23 am in a foreign city when I still have another two hours' work to do before I can go to bed.

¹This "Tenth Anniversary Edition" includes in its appendices a brief section in which Jesus does, in fact make a brief appearance. This was cut from the original published version, and you can see why; it is very short and it raises more questions than it answers. The problem is, these are the questions the book should have been about. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Oct 5, 2015 |
Loved this book. Read the 10th anniversary edition. The audio version, full cast recording. ( )
  Big_Blue | Sep 29, 2015 |
Welcome to yet another BOTM club analysis. Sometimes I am forced to read a book that drags and makes me pull my hair out to read, but this month is a winner. Where have I been that I missed a) this book and b) this author. American Gods is my favorite type of book one that takes something we think we know (in this case the classic myths) and adds a new twist. I loved this read, even though my comments are taking a little bit to post because I had mommy duties get in the way.
American Gods is a strange road-trip story wrapped around a deep examination of the American belief system. The main character Shadow gets out of prison early when his wife is killed in a car crash. Shadow then takes up with a mysterious character called Mr. Wednesday, who is much more than he appears. Together they travel America rounding up forgotten Gods in preparation for an epic battle against the upstart deities of the Internet, credit cards, television, and all that is wired. 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.
I think the Gods exist because of our faith, but they are tied to our Faith and as it fails and fades so do they. Let’s look at the new Gods, the television was created, people began to take time out of their day to watch it, i.e. worship it, and the TV god was created. She remains strong because people spend hours watching it every day. The Technology god seems computer based, and so let’s says he was created with the first computer. Look at how much we rely on our computers, we use them at home and work constantly, and become more dependent on them every day. We have faith that they will work, and will allow us to do our work faster so we can have more free time to do things like worship the TV god. Of them all that we haven't met I think the most powerful new god would be the internet god, it is everywhere, on our computer, our phones, our gaming systems. In fact I bet if this book was written now, there would be a Facebook god.
The first section is introducing us to the characters and getting the story of the new vs. old Gods set up. The second section of the book seemed a little ho hum. The running around and getting the gods on board with the plan just seemed like filler. The third section moved along much better, the war and the conclusion felt very solid.
I like Gaiman’s style of writing from the start – easy flow of the narrative. When I do sit down to read, the pages have just flown by and I’m way further in the story than it feels like. What does slow me down is writing down who the gods are and looking them up, if I was more disciplined I would have waited until the end of the reading to look them up, but then I think I would have missed some of the innuendos Gaiman put in, such as Odin being called Mr. Wednesday. I won’t list all my research here, because it would take up way too much time and room. All I will say is I am having lots of fun with it! Also I am loving all the quote potentials in this book, most of my notes are “quote – pg. blah blah” LOL I won’t bore you all with my notes on that front either.
I do want to make a comment on Mr. Wednesday, strangely, I have a mental picture of my high school drama teacher with red hair and I have no idea why, but as I read about him that is who I see. Although somehow I missed that Mr. Wednesday had only one eye until Chapter 4.
I like that Shadow’s last name is moon. I thought maybe he was a hidden hero from a myth, but when I looked him up all I could get was a reference to Japanese film Character from the Kamen Rider series and a book by Chris Claremont and George Lucas. The book was the continuation of the movie Willow (The Chronicles of the Shadow War), which makes me happy to know about and I will be looking to read the series, but still leaves me a little unfulfilled. I feel like with a great name of Shadow Moon there should be some mythological reference, like the shadow of the moon is where the Gods reside or something. Drat!
Shadow is special to the old Gods because of his acceptance, he doesn't fight against Mr. Wednesday and the things he see, he just accepts that is the way the world is and that I think gives the Old Gods a power, not as much power as belief and worship, but he still accepts them. I think that if the new Gods had reached out to Shadow first, I think he would have worked for the opposition; he doesn't have a stand besides getting paid. Again I think that is a part of what makes Shadow special, his acceptance, he accepted the old gods and he accepts the new gods, and he doesn’t take sides.
I have mixed feelings about Shadow and his dead wife Laura, who happens to be a walking corpse. Shadow talked to her 5 days before he was to be released and they exchanged “I love you’s.” Which is great and all because he got to tell her that before she died, and she did say that she wasn’t going to leave Shadow for Robbie. But still she was a cheater, I mean she died giving another guy a blow job, so leave poor Shadow alone already. I know that she is coming back because of Mad Sweeny’s coin, although I’m not a hundred percent sure why. But anyways back to Laura’s death, I find it interesting that Shadow had made up this whole story about Robbie being drunk, and in actuality he had it all backwards, Laura was the drunken one. It is like Shadow had his life with Laura backwards, I wonder if what he remembers ties to the reality of their relationship. And how does Laura follow him? I mean is this dead woman walking the highways following her husband, or does she manifest wherever he is? I think Shadow wants to bring Laura back because he feels it is his fault she is there. He thinks it has something to do with Mad Sweeney’s coin. And also, there was something in the first section after he talked to Zorya Polunchnayay about listening to the Dead and it is important to give them what they ask for, but I can’t find the passage. I don’t think he should do it, I think it will mess with the balance of the world, although he isn’t given the option he just kills her by taking back the coin in the end, so no balance upsets here.
What is up with all the coins being given: Low Key Lysmith, gives Shadow the coin he uses for all his coin tricks; Mad Sweeney gives him the coin that brings Laura back from the dead, Zorya Polunchnayay gives him a Silver Liberty Coin – Moon which is the moon. I am sure that there is a theme here that I have missed somehow, or that will be explained later, but all I seem to have noticed that Shadow collects coins not just does tricks with them.
And finally something that is mundane but really bothers me, isn’t Shadow on probation, I mean he just got out of prison early he should be and if so doesn’t he need to check in with his probation officer, and he couldn’t be traveling so much if he is on probation, to many permissions needed to go places. I mean I know it is fiction, but it just glares at me every time Shadow hits a new town. Which is why in Lakeside when Shadow got busted for skipping parole I did find it a little justifying; I even said out loud “I told you so!” Not my finest moment, but it still felt good to know Gaiman didn’t just forget the parole factor.
Although, I do really like all of Mr. Himzelman’s tall tales. Lakeside reminded me of the town from Gilmore Girls, very close knit and quirky in an idyllic setting, but instead of Luke’s they have Mabel’s. I think there is more to Lakeside and the disappearing children, but it seems like that should be a different story almost, it just didn’t fit well with me. I would read a book about the mystery of the Lakeside missing children, but it didn’t fit with this story. Mr. Himzelman being a kobold, or whatever he is did surprise me, I didn’t see that one coming at all. And I really liked his character too, I felt very betrayed.
Again this whole section felt like filler to me rather than moving the story along. I really felt like there must be more to Sam Black Crow, she didn’t seem as random as I thought she was as the hitchhiker. Although I was sad to find out that she really wasn’t all that important in the end.
In the third section when it talked about the Gods camped at lookout rock seemed a little jumbled to me, but I think that was because the Gods are half-forgotten and jumbled anyways. Also they are a very disorganized crew.
At the start of part 3, I went back to the first section and refreshed my memory of Mr. Wednesday and Shadow’s bargain. Mr. Wednesday would take care of Shadows needs and Shadow would:
Protect Mr. Wednesday.
2. Transport Mr. Wednesday.
3. Run errands for Mr. Wednesday.
4. Hurt people for Mr. Wednesday, emergency situations only.
5. Hold a vigil for Mr. Wednesday.
It was the vigil that made me look it up; I wanted to know if the section talked anymore about the vigil. It didn’t I did see that Mr. Wednesday said “in the unlikely event of my death” when he made the bargain, it wasn’t an unlikely event. Mr. Wednesday knew full well that he was going to die. So if the bargain was made under false pretenses, did it null the bargain? How was Shadow supposed to protect Mr. Wednesday, if Mr. Wednesday had already planned his own death?
I looked up Louise Brooks, just because I wanted to know if she was real, apparently she was the iconic flapper from the 20’s and her signature was the bob haircut. She worked in silent films, and I recognized her picture, she also did one of the first lesbian scenes in a movie. Who knew that silent films could be so controversial? I feel like I should see if I can find one of her movies on TMC or Netflix or something, just to see what all the hype is about.
The fact that the whole war was a two man con thing, it didn't really surprise me, but I didn't predict it either. And we had definite foreshadowing of it. Mr. Wednesday was right, that his death did more for the cause than his life had. Mr. Wednesday did say it would take him 9 days to come back, 3 days in the tree, 3 days in the underworld, and 3 days to find his way back. That seems a little excessive, jeez Christ only took 3 days total to be resurrected. And how long was Shadow hanging in the tree? 9 days or years?
I liked the death of shadow, the journey was great, we got lots of stuff cleared up and answered. One thing that stuck with me was when Bast took his heart; it was the color or pigeon blood. Am I missing something, is pigeon blood a different color than other types of blood? I just feel like it was a weird simile, why pigeon blood? Oh and the squirrel, what was the point of the squirrel? So which way do we think Bast sent Shadow? The way that makes him wise or the way that makes him whole? I think he went the way that killed him, I mean he did die and all. Did Shadow become a Shadow, is that the result of him giving up his true name or the result of him taking the middle path?
Shadow being Mr. Wednesday's son didn't faze me either, again not surprised but didn’t predict either. I did have to look up the part where Mr. Wednesday said "Unfortunately for the most part people like me fire blanks....nowadays it’s possible, but so unlikely as to be almost unimaginable." So I guess we had foreshadowing, hehe fore shadowing. Sorry couldn’t help myself.
In the epilogue I was confused as to why Shadow was in Iceland, but I think it has to do with his powers. He made the Lakeside Sherriff, Chad forget what happened with Himzelman, then he gave Sam the flowers and she never saw him. I think he did become somewhat of a shadow.
Another thing I noticed was that when Laura killed Low Key that she said, “I dedicate this death to Shadow.” Low Key was supposed to say “I dedicate this battle to Odin” so they could absorb the power from the battle. I think he still did. But what does that mean for Shadow, because Laura dedicated the death to him, is he some semi-demi-god that could absorb Loki’s death power?
Overall I really like this book I was very excited to discover this author and I would defiantly recommend it as a read, just have your Google handy.
On separate side note, for those of you who do research, I was able to download a free version of the Histories of Herodotus from www.classics.mit.edu. This is the book from prison that Low Key gave to Shadow.
For additional reviews please see my blog at www.adventuresofabibliophile.blogspot.com
  Serinde24 | Sep 27, 2015 |

Still love this book on the re-read. In many ways it can be read as a sequel of sorts to the graphic novels about the endless. I am sure I even spotted Delirium in a cameo.

Having grown up in Norway, I felt the portrayal of the norse pantheon was a bit off-kilter to the one I have been brought up with. None of the Norse entities resonated in a way that felt right. As if they were written about by someone who had never really met them. Which is true, but very forgivable.

( )
1 vote StigE | Sep 15, 2015 |
An epic story, funny and packed with action. Would give it 5 stars if not for too many graphic sex scenes and LGBT themes for a story where they don't seem to be the main subject. It's like adding some zebras to a cavalry battle painting because hey, zebras are so underrepresented in art. And making sure there are big horse genitals visible in front because sex sells. ( )
  valdanylchuk | Aug 26, 2015 |
I read this for WPL's book club. One of the other readers found it slow going, and was in fact stuck in the middle section. Her complaint was that "nothing happens." Given the ending, one might have that complaint: not much has changed by the end. And given that there is a plot involving conspiracies, secret groups, and cons, that may slow the plotting. What pulled me along was guessing the identity of the gods/mythical/legendary beings as they were being introduced. I was irritated that the Norse gods were used as the matrix for the narrative and that Native American legends were mostly background. Being from Massachusetts, I was in fact angered by the inclusion of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman: 1) in that he was legendary and 2) that his speech was all wrong and 3) that he shows up in a Western setting. I was also bothered by the predominance of sexualized goddesses/mythical figures: Eostre, Bilquis, Bast, one of the Zorya sisters, rusalki, etc. Granted, many goddesses/mythical figures had that aspect, but there were many who didn't, and of the gods/male figures used in the book, very few have that role highlighted. My final complaint is that at points the figures mentioned are a messy collection: it suffers from pulling from both myth and folklore -- the two are not the same. The book does make a nice use of place and roadside America; I would use this in either a mythology or folklore class. ( )
  AmyMacEvilly | Aug 13, 2015 |
Dark, gritty and full of suspense, not to mention how fun it was to discover the various gods as Shadow, the main character, weaves his way through a complicated and detailed plot. The full-cast audio version is well worth listening to, and adds a new level of depth to the story. Gaiman, as always, is the master of myth, this time tackling the complicated matter of myth's role in the New World, and providing an interesting theory of how the gods of old might attempt to remain relevant in the modern world. ( )
  WritingHaiku | Jul 28, 2015 |
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