Review: American Gods – Neil Gaiman

When a reader decides to dive head first into the world of Neil Gaiman, the first book that is usually recommended to them is American Gods.

For me, however, I went a little unconventional and picked Gaiman’s take on The Jungle Book lore, The Graveyard Book.

When I read it in 2016 I ended up giving it 5 stars on Goodreads, and then when I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane a few months later it got 4 stars out of me.

With my Gaiman expectations at an all time to say I was excited to read American Gods is an understatement.

Did American Gods live up to my expectations? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

The Book 

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow’s best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday’s bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies . . . and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing—an epic war for the very soul of America—and that he is standing squarely in its path.

The Review

American Gods is very Gaiman-esk in tone, prose, and creepiness factor, and yet it fell short for me for some reason.

The first thing that kind of took me aback a bit was how sexually explicit it was.

Now, I am no prude, one of my favourite shows/book series is Game of Thrones, but with this being my third Gaiman novel I just wasn’t prepared for how R-rated it was.

The mythology and multiple gods were also very hard to follow.

I must admit for the 100 pages of the book I didn’t catch on to Wednesday being an incarnation of the Norse god Odin.

Going back it was blatantly obvious, but for whatever reason it just went completely over my head.

With that said, however, I did like the fact that Gaiman was imaginative enough to have old gods (Norse, Pagan, etc.) battle the new gods (Television, Money, etc.)

Also, I really enjoyed the fact that the Egyptian gods ran a funeral parlour, I don’t know why but it cracked me up.

Shadow’s character was by far the best, by the way.

His character was developed really well, and I totally dug his nonchalantness towards some of the bigger plot twists, I won’t spoil them here but let me say I was shook.

I liked this book enough to maybe pick up its spin off, Anansi Boys, but I think when I do decide to dive back into the weird that is Gaiman it will be with Stardust.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. 

Purchase Links

Harper CollinsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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  1. Kat

    I’ve heard positive reception for the TV adaption — though what the first episode entails is enough to make me uncomfortable in terms of the sexual content. Still, anything with gods and goddess is enough to convince me to give it a whirl, both the book and adaption!


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