Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american godsI have a weird history with this book. I was utterly convinced that I’d read it before, but I remembered really bizarre parts of it, such as Shadow being cold in Lakeside and the secret of the klunker on the lake. I even watched season 1 of the new television show (enjoying it immensely), and had myself convinced that I was thinking of an entirely different book.

So I read it, and realized that I had read this before. I have no idea why my brain lost literally all the interesting things about it (a visit from Shadow, perhaps?), so I enjoyed this revisit. 

Since this book is much-beloved (though I will admit to not seeing the obsessive appeal) and has over 500k ratings on Goodreads, I’m not sure there’s much I can add to the conversation around it. Having just watched the television show, I can comment on how brilliantly cast it is. I was completely unable to disconnect Ian McShane from Mr Wednesday as I read, and I was genuinely startled by every physical description of Shadow that did not match that of Ricky Whittle. I do appreciate some of the updates that have been made from the book to the show, based on era of storytelling. In 2001, the image of Technical Boy as a black trenchcoat-wearing, acne-scarred, overweight “kid” was entirely accurate. Today, an obnoxious hipster with a vape is even more appropriate.

I can easily see myself re-reading this book for a third time (possibly after Shadow has removed all the interesting bits from my head again), but I’ll definitely see if I can find an annotated version of some sort. Because so much of what’s interesting about the gods in this novel are what Shadow doesn’t know, and that’s what I want to find out.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Currently reading: The Resurrection Pact (Winston Casey Chronicles #1) by Jay Smith

Currently writing: 28,753/30k words

Published by steelvictory

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. Her debut novel, STEEL VICTORY, was her thesis novel for Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction graduate program in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Previously, she was one of the co-editors for FAR WORLDS, a speculative fiction anthology. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits). She is currently working on more tales set in the world of Limani.

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  1. The only bad thing about it that I can think of is that there’s not more of Shadow’s story from the aftermath. 😀

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