Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

26 Oct

Personally, I’m not much of a fantasy fan. It’s not that I hate it but i don’t usually pick them up. However; I found out a out this and got really interested in the plot. I was telling my friend about it (who loves fantasy novels) and they said that they had read it and loved it. So I gave it a go!


The story follows Shadow who is just about to get out of prison. He’s looking forward to spending time with his wide and going back to a normal life but he gets a nasty surprise when he arrives home. His wife and best friend are dead. And they were having an affair together. Mr. Wednesday is a mysterious man who approaches him with a job. Thinking that this can take his mind off of things and occupy him with things to do, he takes it. Shadow has to do many “jobs” and he meets many mysterious “people”.

I have previously read Coraline which is also a book by Gaiman, and that impressed me. Like I said, I don’t really like fantasy books, I just don’t read them but Gaiman’s writing struck me in that book as it did in this. His ideas are so well crafted without bombarding you with all these crazy fantasy ideas but in fact he writes so placidly and it reads incredibly sleekly.

The book is very long! It’s around 630 pages but it’s interesting and very readable. I read this book like a TV Show where I read around 100 pages a day and it works like that. So well in fact, that this is being turned into a miniseries by HBO and Gaiman is co-writing the screenplay. It is a great story and it contains a lot of subplots. It meanders a lot but never fails entertain the reader.

I liked this book. A lot actually. Maybe that’s just because I wasn’t expecting to like it but I think it’s a good read that you can enjoy. Give it a go. If you’re looking for a simple read before bed to entertain you then this will suit you. Just go into it expecting what it is. A fantasy story, but not for kids.

Score: 4/5

11 Responses to “Book Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman”

  1. Ryan Ong October 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    Gaiman’s magic comes from that balance between reality and fantasy. Rather than use an entirely fictional world, he’s also got elements of the mundane that we can relate to.

    Very much inspired by British latchkey dramas: orphaned or abandoned children, finding magic in strange places. C.S. Lewis, E. Nesbit, R. Dahl…all part of an old tradition.

    • aculturedlad October 28, 2011 at 1:53 am #

      Thanks for the comment!

      I get what you’re saying. It’s almost as if Gaiman shows us how a lot of us would react in these situations that we won’t experience but if we were in the character’s shoes, what would we do? I enjoyed the way that Gaiman explored themes and managed to make me think a lot about the book. I finished it on a train ride and just after I finished I spent a good amount of time just thinking about it!

    • aculturedlad October 28, 2011 at 2:02 am #

      Thanks for the comment!

      I get what you’re saying. It’s almost as if Gaiman is expressing what most people would do if they were in these crazy situations. There’s a lot of emotion splattered through the pages which he makes very relatable.

  2. colincarman October 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    600+ pages! Oy vey. Nice heads-up on this soon-to-be-miniseries.

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

      It’s very long but you’ll never be bored! No problem! I’m quite looking forward to the miniseries myself.

  3. Redhead October 27, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    American Gods is my favorite Gaiman! I hope the miniseries does it justice.

    • aculturedlad October 28, 2011 at 1:54 am #

      Thanks for the comment!

      Although I haven’t read much of his stuff I certainly enjoyed it, especially since I’m not much of a fantasy fan. There is a sequel that has been planned along with spin-offs which I will definitely check out. The series could be really good!

  4. Jim January 23, 2012 at 3:20 am #

    Now your review is making me want to read this!!! I’ll be honest and tell you that about three years ago I tried listening to it on my iPhone on my long commutes to work and I could not get into it??

    My brother keeps telling me to pick the book up – it’s his favorite book by Gaiman.

    – I’ll let you know if I do it!!

    Nice review!

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      It’s a fantastic book. Wait for a holiday perhaps. Set aside a long reading session for this is my suggestion. Definitely let me know!

      Thank you!

  5. Otakore Literantadodist February 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    I bought the book because I loved his Sandman. I was expecting that his style from Sandman will apply to American Gods. I believe it was.

    I read the book. I didn’t love the whole story but there’s a side story in the book itself which is really interesting than the main storyline. It’s thoroughly research. If he added Greek gods then i would feel more wonderful 🙂

    • aculturedlad February 23, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks for the comment!

      I have never read Sandman but will definitely check it out! I think the twists and turns were done so well and it really appealed to me even as a non fantasy fan. All of the side plots were so well and it meandered a lot without me getting lost or bored.

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