Audible Book Review of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” — Derek Barton

Am Gods #2

American Gods

by Neil Gaiman — a Contemporary Fantasy Novel

Released on June 19, 2001 — 674 pages

Narrated by Ron McLarty and a full ensemble cast

I have been for over a year now getting Audible books so I decided I would review and share my opinion on some of them with you. Enjoy!

 

American Gods is now a STARZ Original Series produced by FremantleMedia North America starring Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber.

 

Am Gods #1

From watching the first episode of the television series, I was hooked on this story.  American Gods has become a classic tale and this novel highlights just how much Neil Gaiman is an innovative author and a dynamic storyteller.

One of his biggest strengths is his use of visual depictions.  He paints the scene so vividly in your mind, you can’t help but feel like you are standing in his story world.  This appeals a lot to me as this is the type of writer I aspire to be and have worked hard at refining my skills at imagery and visual writing.

 

The Synopsis:

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:

As I stated above, I loved the writing style and his way with words to produce a play within your mind’s eye.

The story itself…well, I liked it, sort of… It is very unusual and at times wanders way left, then zigzags suddenly back to the right.  It keeps you engaged, but sometimes frustratingly confused for long periods.

While I was disappointed somewhat in the meandering plot, I did find that I loved the characters so much I had to continue forward to the end.  They were obviously very well thought through, fleshed out with tons of back story, and rich with flaws, strengths, and desires. He could challenge even Stephen King’s skills in making such memorable and deeply-moving characters.

I would definitely encourage every avid reader to give this story a welcome chance and experience the rollercoaster ride that American Gods is for themselves.  He didn’t leave a huge amount of loose ends at its conclusion and thus, has never written a sequel in the eighteen years since its original publication.  However, the television series could possibly prompt him to with the resurgence of interest in this storyline.

 

McLarty

The Narration:

Narrated by Ron McLarty and several other cast members.

A native of East Providence, RI–Ron McLarty is a veteran actor, accomplished playwright, prolific audiobook narrator, and acclaimed novelist.

McLarty is also noted for his body of work as one of the country’s leading audiobook narrators having done over 100 titles including the narration of books authored by Stephen King, David Baldacci, Anne Rice, Richard Russo, Elmore Leonard, Ed McBain, and Scott Turow, among many others. He is the recipient of numerous Audie Awards.

This is the first audiobook I have heard using more than two voice actors.  It was very well produced and the voices were not melodramatic or over-the-top as one might expect with such a fantasy tale about the gods that roam America.

 

The Rating:

In summary, I was not totally thrilled with the development of the story but definitely blown away by his characters and the writing of this novel.  I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND (but I did warn you of the “exotic” plot!).  I will definitely be checking out more of his work in the future!

 

By DEREK BARTON — Author of the ELUDE series (Parts I, II & III — a Horror/crime thriller),  & IN FOUR DAYS: a Horror-Suspense Novella (available on Audible.com!).  Also the Dark Fantasy novel series CONSEQUENCES WITHIN CHAOS and THE BLEEDING CROWN (both available on Audible.com!).