Review: American Gods 10th Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman

I finally caved in and bought myself a Kindle, a device previously maligned, later reconsidered and now mine. The next stage was to determine which book to read on it first and after some hunting around, I discovered that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was getting reissued with a 10k word longer author’s preferred text as the 10th Anniversary Edition. This is where I hit a hurdle. For some reason, the Kindle edition of this book was only available in the US, so to buy it I had to register with with a fake address (above a Chinese restaurant in Boston, if you’re interested. Try the noodles), buy it in US Dollars, before switching my account back to the UK store and UK address.

It was a totally ridiculous exercise. If switching accounts around is so easy, why make me do it? Why not just sell the US Kindle book in the UK? It didn’t even want me to verify the address against my credit card. It all worked out for me in the end, with some minor irritation I was able to buy the book I wanted without any real drawbacks, and it’s fairly unlikely I’ll have to go through that process very often. But still, will I now have to check the US or Canadian store very time there doesn’t appear to be a Kindle edition of the book I like in the UK store? Will I have to find a pizzeria in Vancouver to live above? And on top of that, why has the Kindle edition ow also vanished from the US store?

Anyway, the book itself: It was fine. I’d read the original edition before, devoured it in fact on the day it was released and re-read it a couple of times since. It’s been a few years since the last time I re-read it, but it sees to have lost some of it’s sheen for me. The clever blending of myth into our world is still there as well as the interesting story and the good characteristion of the antagonist. Why not the protagonist? The fact that the character is supposed to be flat I understand, I think I’m just less willing to forgive it now. I don’t really care about him or what happens to him any more. It’s possible that this is because I know the story so well by now, but I doubt that’s the whole of it.

As for the extra 10k words, once you exclude the extra introduction and the scene with Jesus that still wasn’t blended into the text (and rightly so), there wasn’t much visible of the extra material. There were certainly no moments of enlightenment or revelation, some paragraph that shines a deeper light into the motivations of the characters or enriches the world. This leads me to believe that the editor was right to cut the ten thousand words in the first place.

American Gods is still a good book. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend picking it up. But if you already own the original edition, I don’t think it’s worth buying the 10th Anniversary Edition. Wait instead for the second book and/or the TV series.

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