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Review: "American Gods," by Neil Gaiman


This book is absolutely fantastic! Now that I have that out of my system let me state that American Gods falls bulls-eye into my wheelhouse so I already have a sentiment toward Gaiman stories, this one in particular, as well as the genre of fantasy merged with science fiction. In addition, I did listen to the "full cast" recording of this novel, meaning that a number of different actors voiced the various parts. At times I have heard a single reader utilizing different voices (a very iffy proposition I have found) readers just straight reading the book with inflection (better) and miserable full cast recordings with sounds effects and music (dismal - this is not radio from 1946). This rendition of American Gods was superb! But let me be a touch more objective just in case someone does read this review and might want to take a shot as this book. Gaiman presents the reader with more imagination, intelligence, and writing skill than can be asked of any book. In the briefest description I can manage this is the story of old, semi-forgotten gods (Norse, African, Celtic, etc.) who are about to engage in a catastrophic and monumental war against the new gods (computers, television, media, Internet, Wall Street). It is brilliant in its complexity while being fleshed out with characters of such enormous charm, cruelty, mannerism and power that they literally jump off the page. Centered around Shadow, a newly released from prison small con but physically powerful individual, the story gathers him up into a much larger fantastical world where, we find, he truly does belong. He becomes our voice, our caring character, despite his ambivalence and indiscretions. We want him to win or die in the good cause. I seldom read books twice feeling that there are too many good books out there waiting to be read. I would/might read this twice. It's amazing, dark, provocative redeeming, complicated, uncompromising, challenging and disturbing. Entertains at every page. Apparently next year STARZ is mounting it as a television series. It cannot be as good, but if it comes anywhere close to the mark it will be fascinating.