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The Monarch of the Glen, an American Gods novella. He was not sure what he had been looking for. He only knew that he had not found it. Shadow Moon has been away from America for nearly two years. His nights are broken with dangerous dreams. Sometimes he almost believes he doesn't care if he ever returns home. In the Highlands of Scotland, where the sky is pale white and it f The Monarch of the Glen, an American Gods novella. He was not sure what he had been looking for. He only knew that he had not found it. Shadow Moon has been away from America for nearly two years. His nights are broken with dangerous dreams. Sometimes he almost believes he doesn't care if he ever returns home. In the Highlands of Scotland, where the sky is pale white and it feels as remote as any place can possibly be, the beautiful and the wealthy gather at a grand old house in the glen. And when the strange local doctor offers him work at the party, Shadow is intrigued. He knows there is no good reason for him to be there. So what do they want with him?


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The Monarch of the Glen, an American Gods novella. He was not sure what he had been looking for. He only knew that he had not found it. Shadow Moon has been away from America for nearly two years. His nights are broken with dangerous dreams. Sometimes he almost believes he doesn't care if he ever returns home. In the Highlands of Scotland, where the sky is pale white and it f The Monarch of the Glen, an American Gods novella. He was not sure what he had been looking for. He only knew that he had not found it. Shadow Moon has been away from America for nearly two years. His nights are broken with dangerous dreams. Sometimes he almost believes he doesn't care if he ever returns home. In the Highlands of Scotland, where the sky is pale white and it feels as remote as any place can possibly be, the beautiful and the wealthy gather at a grand old house in the glen. And when the strange local doctor offers him work at the party, Shadow is intrigued. He knows there is no good reason for him to be there. So what do they want with him?

30 review for The Monarch of the Glen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Before I even begin to type, I know what I will hear: Hey, aren’t you the guy who doesn’t like series? Slap a “The End” on it and move on to something else, weren’t you the one that said that??? Yes, yes, that was me. But American Gods was awesome, loved it, and I wanted more and more. Anansi Boys was also awesome, loved it, and I wanted to read more and more. And so when I heard that Neil Gaiman had written another American Gods story, a novella contained in Robert Silverberg’s Legends II, anthol Before I even begin to type, I know what I will hear: Hey, aren’t you the guy who doesn’t like series? Slap a “The End” on it and move on to something else, weren’t you the one that said that??? Yes, yes, that was me. But American Gods was awesome, loved it, and I wanted more and more. Anansi Boys was also awesome, loved it, and I wanted to read more and more. And so when I heard that Neil Gaiman had written another American Gods story, a novella contained in Robert Silverberg’s Legends II, anthology, I was compelled to read it. And it is not a series in the sense that it is a ridiculously truncated cliffhanger, or a thousand-page behemoth that just ends and so the reader must then go plunk down cash to catch the next thousand-page paper weight (like the pun?). Gaiman has crafted a thematic vehicle where he can explore the myths and legends that have transformed our culture and have made us who and what we are. Anyway. Gaiman catches up with Shadow Moon in the north, north of Scotland. Or is it the southern most region of the Norse land? The reader is taken on a fun ride through the lives and adventures of left behind gods and monsters. The Monarch of the Glen is a must read for those of us who loved American Gods and / or Anansi Boys.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Simona B

    This novella is included in my copy of American Gods, and it is a total treat. I loved all the references to Beowulf and I loved that Gaiman engages with one of the most interesting (and most overlooked) thematic threads of medieval epic poetry, that is how the hero, to defeat the monster, has to become a little of a monster himself. I didn't expect any less from Gaiman. This novella is included in my copy of American Gods, and it is a total treat. I loved all the references to Beowulf and I loved that Gaiman engages with one of the most interesting (and most overlooked) thematic threads of medieval epic poetry, that is how the hero, to defeat the monster, has to become a little of a monster himself. I didn't expect any less from Gaiman.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    I am a fan of the novel American Gods and this is a novella from the same world. It's the centerpiece of the short story collection Fragile Things at about 150 pages. The story was set in Scotland and there was a fancy party that needed a bodyguard. All very mysterious. I thought it was a nice entry into the American Gods world. I am a fan of the novel American Gods and this is a novella from the same world. It's the centerpiece of the short story collection Fragile Things at about 150 pages. The story was set in Scotland and there was a fancy party that needed a bodyguard. All very mysterious. I thought it was a nice entry into the American Gods world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    A. Dawes

    Wow! Novella, novelette - whatever you wish to label it, this is a fantastic trip. Gaiman here returns to the world of American Gods, only this time he's back in the Old World rather than the New, and it works a treat. While I enjoyed Gaiman's American Gods, I found the meandering vignettes took me away from the chief narrative. Perhaps if the vignettes themselves had been removed from the novel and sold separately they'd have been more effective? This novelette, despite involving Shadow rather Wow! Novella, novelette - whatever you wish to label it, this is a fantastic trip. Gaiman here returns to the world of American Gods, only this time he's back in the Old World rather than the New, and it works a treat. While I enjoyed Gaiman's American Gods, I found the meandering vignettes took me away from the chief narrative. Perhaps if the vignettes themselves had been removed from the novel and sold separately they'd have been more effective? This novelette, despite involving Shadow rather than some minor character, feels like one of these vignettes from American Gods, but reads even better. Shadow is in the Scottish Highlands and soon finds himself in a battle with a monster from the Old World. It all appears part of their destiny, an age old ritual, which neither can escape from. I love The Monarch of the Glen. It's intriguing, atmospheric, rich in myth, and simply entertaining. For me, it surpasses American Gods. I regard it up there with Gaiman's very best works. I'd highly recommended The Monarch of the Glen to any lover of myth and fantasy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alexxy

    The more I read Neil Gaiman's books, the more I'm starting to realize that I don't really enjoy his style of writing. So, two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow is roaming Europe, searching for a cause. While he's in Scotland, he meets a man who offers him a job as a bodyguard and Shadow's like 'Cause that's what you do when a stranger tries to hire you out of nowhere and you know that you have a tendency to get yourself in ridiculously dangerous situations. Anyway, I did not enjoy t The more I read Neil Gaiman's books, the more I'm starting to realize that I don't really enjoy his style of writing. So, two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow is roaming Europe, searching for a cause. While he's in Scotland, he meets a man who offers him a job as a bodyguard and Shadow's like 'Cause that's what you do when a stranger tries to hire you out of nowhere and you know that you have a tendency to get yourself in ridiculously dangerous situations. Anyway, I did not enjoy this book. Shadow was still the same bland and boring character. But unlike in American Gods where the plot managed to keep me interested, there was nothing in this novella that I enjoyed. I will read Anansi Boys, because I like to torture myself and it's not like anybody's stopping me from DNFing it, but if I don't like it, which is highly probable, I will bid Mr. Gaiman goodbye and go tackle authors that I actually like.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Muntz

    I ended up reading this kind of by accident (since I'm out of books, I'd planned on getting to the library today, but it was snowing so badly I decided not to). And I had no idea until a few hours ago that Gaiman had written a novella set after American Gods, so I figured why not. It's probably worth mentioning that I have a weird history with Gaiman. I think of him as a very good writer but an incredibly disappointing one, as despite the incredible ambition in a few of his projects (American Go I ended up reading this kind of by accident (since I'm out of books, I'd planned on getting to the library today, but it was snowing so badly I decided not to). And I had no idea until a few hours ago that Gaiman had written a novella set after American Gods, so I figured why not. It's probably worth mentioning that I have a weird history with Gaiman. I think of him as a very good writer but an incredibly disappointing one, as despite the incredible ambition in a few of his projects (American Gods, which I think was an excellent novel; and Sandman, which maybe wasn't good but aimed high, despite being sort of like a car that reved its engine for days and never left the parking lot) he's coasted for years on young adult novels that aren't bad exactly, but aren't special either; silly pastiches; twee rewrites of fairy tales that show up in overpriced boutique editions; and the occasional not very good screenplay. But, to take a step back, I thought American Gods was an incredible novel despite some problems (and it's rare for me to enjoy fantasy with a contemporary setting, since it can be so incredibly hard to pull off), and I've been curious for years to see Gaiman tackle a larger, more complex project, especially one that played with myth in that particular way. Monarch of the Glen isn't quite that, since it's a novella, but it's as close as we'll get, I think. The story is set in Scottland, and fascinating for a lot of reasons. I was especially interested in how, despite being so blunt and stylized, there was an incredible amount of character to Gaiman's prose, and there was a subtlety to the scene construction that reminded me a little of Gene Wolfe. The general arc is phenomenal and strange in all the right ways, and it was an amazing reminder of just how good a writer Gaiman can be. So, I'm sure Gaiman is going to continue disappointing me, but I liked this story enough I'm looking forward to the Ocean at the End of the Lane (which seems good), and it almost makes me want to read Anansi Boys. Anyway, it's a quick novella, which I think is the perfect length for a story, and definitely worth checking out for anyone interested in Gaiman especially if you've read the novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mitticus

    "I’m not a monster,” said Shadow. “Aye, that’s what monsters always say,” said the little man. Set about two years after American Gods. Shadow is just traveling backpacking, knowing places, drifting I say. And in this story ends in the north coast of Scotland when some guy offer him a job as a bouncer for the weekend in some private party. Well, I'm aware that Gaiman is hit or miss for many. This story , to me, despite the no so big surprises in the run, is really good. Manage to evoke that se "I’m not a monster,” said Shadow. “Aye, that’s what monsters always say,” said the little man. Set about two years after American Gods. Shadow is just traveling backpacking, knowing places, drifting I say. And in this story ends in the north coast of Scotland when some guy offer him a job as a bouncer for the weekend in some private party. Well, I'm aware that Gaiman is hit or miss for many. This story , to me, despite the no so big surprises in the run, is really good. Manage to evoke that sensation of timelessness, to blur , relax , the bounds between realities. I mean, when you step in some old places is easy to wonder, to imagine, to awe. You want to believe him. He [...] imagined time as something that pooled and puddled, wondered if there were places where time hung heavy, places where it was heaped and held—cities, he thought, must be filled with time: all the places where people congregated, where they came and brought time with them. And if that were true, Shadow mused, then there could be other places, where the people were thin on the ground, and the land waited, bitter and granite, and a thousand years was an eyeblink to the hills—a scudding of clouds, a wavering of rushes, and nothing more, in the places where time was as thin on the ground as the people . . . And then are all the currents and undercurrents, the hints , the irony ... and though Shadow should have to knew better, it feels like he is still trying to find his place , stumbling in the twilight. -- Si yo fuera Sombra, me daria yuyu eso de los trabajitos que le ofrecen. Aunque quizas ya esta aburrido de pasar sin estar metido en lios, quien sabe. SPOILER (view spoiler)[--->Me dejó intrigada lo del barco de los muertos -Naglfar- ¿esta implicando que Shadow tiene un rol que jugar en Ragnarock? Oo' Y que fuerte lo que le dice la Jennie (hide spoiler)] .

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ona

    Story is set about two years after American Gods. I iked it, but I don't think it was necessary or made difference to the whole story of Shadow Moon's life. Story is set about two years after American Gods. I iked it, but I don't think it was necessary or made difference to the whole story of Shadow Moon's life.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Paz R.M.

    4.75 stars. Did ya know that Gaiman is my favorite author? Yeah, if it wasn't that obvious before, you know now. What can I say? I fucking loved this novella. As someone who read American Gods for the first time maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I have no idea how I never picked this novella up before now. I love this world, I love the characters, I love how Gaiman brings mythology to life. I adore how everything he writes is a perfect fairy tale in the end. A scary and strange one, but so beautiful and cap 4.75 stars. Did ya know that Gaiman is my favorite author? Yeah, if it wasn't that obvious before, you know now. What can I say? I fucking loved this novella. As someone who read American Gods for the first time maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I have no idea how I never picked this novella up before now. I love this world, I love the characters, I love how Gaiman brings mythology to life. I adore how everything he writes is a perfect fairy tale in the end. A scary and strange one, but so beautiful and captivating to experience. This novella is not a proper sequel to American Gods, but it is a new tale and it's, of course, weird and trippy, otherworldly and full of subtleties, it's deeply atmospheric and so, so wonderful to read. If you haven't finished American Gods or you don't wanna know about the fates of a certain characters, I'd say stop reading this. If you know how that story ends, then don't worry, it's a spoiler free review. It follows a new, little, adventure. A battle again not against a God, but against a monster. Not in the new world, but in the old one. The Highlands are the perfect place to find our hero. Shadow Moon is still a troubled man, a little lost, a little sad, a little wonderful and fantastically human in the end. Two years have passed since the battle of the Gods and Shadow's been running away, dealing with grief and loss, trying to find a place in this broken and wonderful world. It is in Scotland where he will find himself in a new adventure, where his dreams will take him once more to fantastical places and where he will be tested again. This story is all about the ambience, it is perfectly placed in the Scottish Highlands, there are dark things, bad people lurking around and what definitely add to my reading experience and the enhancing of the tension and atmosphere that I enjoyed very much in this book were the illustrations throughout the whole novella. This edition, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus is one of the most beautiful books I own and have ever had the pleasure to read. Please, if you are ever interested in reading this, go pick up this hardcover edition, I promise you won't regret it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    YouKneeK

    “The Monarch of the Glen” is a novella set after American Gods, featuring the main character from that story. It was only 62 pages, so it wasn’t nearly as meaty of a story as the book it was based off of, but I did enjoy it. We find out what Shadow has been up to in the months following American Gods, and he once again manages to get himself into trouble. Aside from Shadow, the other characters are pretty much new characters. It was entertaining, but quick, and I’m not sure the story will really “The Monarch of the Glen” is a novella set after American Gods, featuring the main character from that story. It was only 62 pages, so it wasn’t nearly as meaty of a story as the book it was based off of, but I did enjoy it. We find out what Shadow has been up to in the months following American Gods, and he once again manages to get himself into trouble. Aside from Shadow, the other characters are pretty much new characters. It was entertaining, but quick, and I’m not sure the story will really stick with me aside from maybe blurring together with the original book. I don’t think you can get this novella by itself anymore. It’s contained in two anthologies: Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, which contains several stories by Neil Gaiman, and Legends II, which is an anthology of stories by various authors. I really didn’t want to read an entire anthology at this point; I just wanted to read the novella and then move on to the other full-length book in this series, Anansi Boys. So I borrowed Legends II from the library, read just the novella, then turned it back in. If the Neil Gaiman anthology had been available at my library, I might have been more tempted to read the whole thing while I had access to it. I was far less tempted with Legends II, because I think most of those stories are set in established worlds that I haven’t read yet. I’d rather wait and read them as part of the larger series they each belong to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Akash (Turtle)

    A thoroughly enjoyable follow up to American Gods. A short story that follows Shadow and his legacy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sahiba

    If you don't read this after American Gods, the story is incomplete If you don't read this after American Gods, the story is incomplete

  13. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    The Monarch of the Glen was a novella in the back of my copy of American Gods. My relationship with American Gods was a bit up and down – some elements I was really interested in whereas others I didn’t really care about at all. Despite this relationship, I was interested in giving the novella a try. If nothing else, I’m always happy to dive into stories set in Scotland (especially considering I was outside of Scotland when I was reading this). Truthfully, I didn’t really care much at all for thi The Monarch of the Glen was a novella in the back of my copy of American Gods. My relationship with American Gods was a bit up and down – some elements I was really interested in whereas others I didn’t really care about at all. Despite this relationship, I was interested in giving the novella a try. If nothing else, I’m always happy to dive into stories set in Scotland (especially considering I was outside of Scotland when I was reading this). Truthfully, I didn’t really care much at all for this little addition to the American Gods story. I was pretty much content with the ending of American Gods, and The Monarch of the Glen left me with more questions rather than providing me with the something more I’d been hoping to receive. It’s a tale of what happens to Shadow after the ending of American Gods. It is interesting to receive a snippet of the ‘what comes next’, but I do not feel as though it provided me with much. It gives us more detail about the world as a whole, telling us about more than just the Gods of America, but at the same time it didn’t feel as though much happened. I wanted a big bang, I wanted something really powerful, only to be given a story I felt dragged somewhat. In other words, I do not consider this a necessity should you have read American Gods. Whilst it does add a little more to the world, it is not be all or end all read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fonch

    Hello i have just realized that this book i had read when i read a George R.R. Martin book The Sworn Sword in the year 2013 for this reason i checked the mistake. I came back to read the 20th of october of 2019 and my rating is three star. I liked it, although i have not read yet American Gods (I was very interested in Neil Gaiman, because he was very influenced by G.K. Chesterton and reading this anthology Fragile Objects i realize he is aware of the worst and the best i will write the review o Hello i have just realized that this book i had read when i read a George R.R. Martin book The Sworn Sword in the year 2013 for this reason i checked the mistake. I came back to read the 20th of october of 2019 and my rating is three star. I liked it, although i have not read yet American Gods (I was very interested in Neil Gaiman, because he was very influenced by G.K. Chesterton and reading this anthology Fragile Objects i realize he is aware of the worst and the best i will write the review of Fragile Object). Hola me di cuenta de que este libro lo había leído junto antología de libros que incluía un relato de George R.R. Martin "La espada leal" y un relato de Robin Hobb. Por esta razón he retocado esta crítica, y corregido este error. Este relato lo volví a leer el 20 de octubre de 2019 y me gustó aunque menos que la vez en que lo leí, quizá se deba a que todavía no he leído "American Gods" (el interés que tuve en 2013 para leer a Neil Gaiman se debía a que era uno de los pocos escritores actuales influídos por G.K. Chesterton, y como leí en sus antologías Espejo y Humos y Objetos fragiles es capaz de lo mejor y de lo peor, ya escribiré la crítica de Objetos Fragiles, si Dios quiere).

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Velo

    Monarch of the Glen takes us exactly 2 years after the events of American Gods. We find Shadow lurking about and backpacking all through Europe, searching for something he's not quite sure what. All he knows is he hasn't found it yet. He ends up in Scotland and meets a stranger asking him if he'd like to be employed as a security guard (very similar to Shadow meeting Wednesday in American Gods) for this high-end party about to take place only to find out he's being asked more than just to be a s Monarch of the Glen takes us exactly 2 years after the events of American Gods. We find Shadow lurking about and backpacking all through Europe, searching for something he's not quite sure what. All he knows is he hasn't found it yet. He ends up in Scotland and meets a stranger asking him if he'd like to be employed as a security guard (very similar to Shadow meeting Wednesday in American Gods) for this high-end party about to take place only to find out he's being asked more than just to be a security guard. As a novella of American Gods, we are once again introduced to other gods and mythologies. And although I enjoyed reading this, I don't think it really adds significance to the overall plot of the American Gods series. I think it's an enjoyable and easy-read side story but not really a vital part a reader would miss out on.

  16. 5 out of 5

    NaTaya Hastings

    This was a fantastic novella. I read it years ago when "Fragile Things" first came out, but honestly, I had forgotten about it. (Which, considering I wrote my thesis on "American Gods" and all the versions of it that came after the original, seems kind of implausible.) However, it is the truth. I forgot about this story. I forgot how much I loved it. I forgot how perfect it was. So I read it again last night to remember. And now, I will read the next installment, which I have NOT yet read... "Bl This was a fantastic novella. I read it years ago when "Fragile Things" first came out, but honestly, I had forgotten about it. (Which, considering I wrote my thesis on "American Gods" and all the versions of it that came after the original, seems kind of implausible.) However, it is the truth. I forgot about this story. I forgot how much I loved it. I forgot how perfect it was. So I read it again last night to remember. And now, I will read the next installment, which I have NOT yet read... "Black Dog." I am so very excited, and I'm not one to get excited about many things.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marin Sophia

    Meh.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Omar

    I just finished reading the wonderful American Gods novella, The Monarch of the Glen, by Neil Gaiman. It picks up smoothly from where that novel left off, without missing a beat, and Shadow traversing the wilds of Scotland, having understandably left America following his death, resurrection, and a bloody cataclysmic war between the gods. I loved this little story, because though short, it felt mythic and grand in scope; it achieves this effect because Gaiman steeps his work in history, in fable I just finished reading the wonderful American Gods novella, The Monarch of the Glen, by Neil Gaiman. It picks up smoothly from where that novel left off, without missing a beat, and Shadow traversing the wilds of Scotland, having understandably left America following his death, resurrection, and a bloody cataclysmic war between the gods. I loved this little story, because though short, it felt mythic and grand in scope; it achieves this effect because Gaiman steeps his work in history, in fable and legend. It should go without saying that it is beautiful, too. Normally, considering its length, I wouldn't feel the need to comment on it, but on updating Goodreads, I saw a few reviews that seemed to miss the mark entirely, so here I am. A lot of people don’t seem to understand Shadow; that’s okay, Shadow barely understands Shadow. And it is this central question which the novella begins to answer. For those who didn’t gather as much, however, let’s go over some of it. He lacks agency, you say. He is empty. Yes, he is, and that’s the point. He is the empty container through which the forgotten fable, the invisible local legend, snags and is briefly caught, briefly known again. He is the mirror held up to the landscape, dredging up its secret stories. Shadow has no real interest in this world, and is therefore the perfect medium through which to interact with it. To absorb it. Such interactions take their toll, of course. As with every fairy tale, there is a price, and it is this question – how much? – which the story begins to answer. You need only read the very first line to know. The best short stories set up a question in the first line; granted, it is seldom this literal. “If you ask me,” said the little man to Shadow, “you’re something of a monster. Am I right?” The little man, a man all of grey, is Dr. Glasker, and he hires Shadow to act as security for a party occurring in the coming weekend. Something about it all doesn’t seem right, but Shadow finds himself accepting. Partly because he’s adrift, and partly because the world nudges him to do so, as it always does in these situations. There is a scale that needs balancing in the universe, a question of gods, and Shadow is the feather providing the measure. Before the party swings round, Shadow walks the countryside, and meets the people he needs to meet, whether he knows it or not, and before you know it, it feels almost as if we’ve always been in Scotland, and as if we’d never leave. Gaiman’s skill is not in making his stories beautiful – anyone can do that – it is in granting them a sense of permanence by drenching the fantastic in the dust of ordinary details, in the ambiguity of memory. Sure, he’ll tell you about the time he met a woman who wasn’t quite a woman (or was she?), a creature of the fey, but he’ll be sure to mention too, the quality of the cup of coffee he had that morning. “Dr. Glasker kept saying you were a monster,” she said. “Is it true?” “I don’t think so,” said Shadow. “Pity,” she said. “You know where you are with monsters, don’t you?” He never lets you forget the purpose of it all, though. Later, once Shadow’s discovered the truth behind his trip, behind this job, he stands face to face with this question. “It’s patterns,” he said. “If they think you’re a hero, they’re wrong. After you die, you don’t get to be Beowulf or Perseus or Rama anymore. Whole different set of rules. Chess, not checkers. Go, not chess. You understand?” “Not even a little,” said Shadow, frustrated. Shadow – and by extension we – comes away from that encounter with an answer, or at least the outline of one. Why do I say that? Because much as it stands on its own, in as much as anything can when it takes place in a continuing world, this story is also a stepping stone. The full weight and meaning of the answer will be given the time and space it most assuredly needs in the next novel, the true sequel to American Gods. And it can’t come soon enough, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t realise just how much I’d missed that voice, that character and world, until I was immersed in it once again. Gaiman’s writing has that sing-song quality I just can’t get enough of, and it is that element he’s mastered which sets him apart from other fantasists, from other writers. As a poet, it is the quality I prize above all else, the tide which guides my course: rhythm. He’s writing moves, and you with it. Naturally, there’s a whole lot more I could’ve said about this piece, and far more directly too, but as with the poems I recommend, I try to leave enough out that it isn’t spoiled for you. Now as with those, so too with this: go forth and read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    Set two years after the final chapters of American Gods , in the Highlands of Scotland, this novella follows Shadow Moon, who apparently still hasn't learned his lesson about taking odd jobs from mysterious old men. I first read this story in Fragile Things, a couple of years ago, and I was left quite cold then. I think I appreciated it more this time around, but I still have my issues with it... (view spoiler)[like the revelation, out of nowhere, that Shadow is supposed to be Baldur. That doe Set two years after the final chapters of American Gods , in the Highlands of Scotland, this novella follows Shadow Moon, who apparently still hasn't learned his lesson about taking odd jobs from mysterious old men. I first read this story in Fragile Things, a couple of years ago, and I was left quite cold then. I think I appreciated it more this time around, but I still have my issues with it... (view spoiler)[like the revelation, out of nowhere, that Shadow is supposed to be Baldur. That doesn't make any sense from what we know about his ethnicity and mother from American Gods. (hide spoiler)] What's wonderful about this edition are the stunning illustrations by Daniel Egneus, of which there are a lot more of than in the illustrated American Gods edition (understandably—this volume is much slimmer). With that said, I think this particular story would be forgettable if it weren't part of the American Gods series. In fact, I could hardly recall a single thing about it. I recommend it if you've read and enjoyed American Gods, and want to know what became of Shadow Moon after the epilogue—but you'll probably be hopelessly lost if you read this as a stand-alone.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Logan

    For me this has many of the virtues of American Gods and none of the drawbacks. It is a complete, self contained story. Knowing who Shadow is and what he has been through might add a little, but my memory is rubbish and I'm pretty sure one does not need any background to appreciate this story. Set in a Scotland which has wildness and secrets and accepts this is true it has a lot in common with the atmosphere of "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" and. Fair bit in common with "Instruction For me this has many of the virtues of American Gods and none of the drawbacks. It is a complete, self contained story. Knowing who Shadow is and what he has been through might add a little, but my memory is rubbish and I'm pretty sure one does not need any background to appreciate this story. Set in a Scotland which has wildness and secrets and accepts this is true it has a lot in common with the atmosphere of "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains" and. Fair bit in common with "Instructions". This is the story of a traveller and of the secrets and the magic that just might, even today, sit just to the side of the world most of us see every day. It is a very short story and interestingly presented. A quick read and a good read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Egbert

    I did not read this one in the proper order of the American Gods series but I am actually quite grateful for that fact. I miss Shadow and I love Gaiman and it is a rainy afternoon and so there is nothing better than a creepy story that invokes the Norse myths, Beowulf, and the "legend" of Sawney Bean. Talk about the perfect storm. I couldn't help but give it four stars. I did not read this one in the proper order of the American Gods series but I am actually quite grateful for that fact. I miss Shadow and I love Gaiman and it is a rainy afternoon and so there is nothing better than a creepy story that invokes the Norse myths, Beowulf, and the "legend" of Sawney Bean. Talk about the perfect storm. I couldn't help but give it four stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nilab

    It was a fun story, but didn't really add anything. It was a fun story, but didn't really add anything.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J. Taylor

    What was that? It was just pointless and made not a lick of sense.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Suad Shamma

    Another great short story that follows the wanderings of Shadow Moon way after the events of American Gods ended. Two years after, to be specific. This story takes place in Scotland, where Shadow is seen visiting different places around Europe and ending up there to view the sights, except nothing is ever that simple with him. While sitting at the bar getting a drink at his hotel, he is approached by a strange man, who makes a strange proposition to him. He keeps referring to him as a "monster" Another great short story that follows the wanderings of Shadow Moon way after the events of American Gods ended. Two years after, to be specific. This story takes place in Scotland, where Shadow is seen visiting different places around Europe and ending up there to view the sights, except nothing is ever that simple with him. While sitting at the bar getting a drink at his hotel, he is approached by a strange man, who makes a strange proposition to him. He keeps referring to him as a "monster" jokingly, not aware how that word resonates with Shadow. He offers him a job for the weekend, for good money, as a security guard for a very private event. A bartender he meets, Jane, warns him later that he should have turned down the job. That it wasn't a good idea. Shadow secretly agrees with her, but a part of him wants to find out what this rich people's party is all about. She tells him that at any point he needs help, he should call to her. As the day approaches, he begins to realize that he has been asked to the party for a yet untold reason. Upon arriving at the big castle/mansion, he sees the amount of security that already exists and that feeling is confirmed. Really good story with the usual Gaiman twists and mystery and mythical creatures involved. I didn't think it was as great as Black Dog, and I don't think it is required to have read American Gods in order to read this story and enjoy it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    I probably wouldn't have read this "American Gods novella" if I didn't get my hands on it by chance. I didn't really enjoy American Gods, mainly because of the blandness of Shadow as a character, and sadly this fact didn't change in The Monarch of the Glen. I just can't warm up to Shadow, he just seems so unresponsive to everything that's happening to him. He is so stoic and unemotional that I just can't grasp what Neil Gaiman intended to portray with this character. Maybe it's just the way I pe I probably wouldn't have read this "American Gods novella" if I didn't get my hands on it by chance. I didn't really enjoy American Gods, mainly because of the blandness of Shadow as a character, and sadly this fact didn't change in The Monarch of the Glen. I just can't warm up to Shadow, he just seems so unresponsive to everything that's happening to him. He is so stoic and unemotional that I just can't grasp what Neil Gaiman intended to portray with this character. Maybe it's just the way I perceive him, maybe it's just that I need more from the main character that leads me through a story to really enjoy the story itself and be captivated by it. I have to say though that I'm really intrigued by the world Gaiman has created and the mythology behind it. The storyline of this short novella was interesting and it made me curious. Gaiman does write well and from time to time I am captivated by his narrative. Combined with the beautiful edition I got to read with illustrations by Daniel Egnéus I give this novella 4 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jim C

    This is a novella that takes place two years after the events in American Gods. Shadow is in Scotland when a stranger asks him to be a bodyguard for a weekend. Shadow accepts but gets more than he bargained for. This is a short, quick read that takes us back into the world that was created with the first book. I strongly recommend reading that one before this one. Once again we come across fantastic creatures and gods. Once again Shadow gets sucked back into this world. This was a nice book to co This is a novella that takes place two years after the events in American Gods. Shadow is in Scotland when a stranger asks him to be a bodyguard for a weekend. Shadow accepts but gets more than he bargained for. This is a short, quick read that takes us back into the world that was created with the first book. I strongly recommend reading that one before this one. Once again we come across fantastic creatures and gods. Once again Shadow gets sucked back into this world. This was a nice book to continue with Shadow and his demeanor. As for the overall arc I believe it doesn't add much and one can probably skip this novella and be fine. I am enjoying the world that the author has created. This was a step down from the original novel but part of that is that the first novel was terrific. I would only recommend this novella to readers who have knowledge of the world that Neil Gaiman has created.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pluska

    Shadow continues to be a one-dimensional character who's life is inexplicably more exciting than he actually is. It's hard to grasp why he'd so foolishly take the job or, really, do much of anything he did in this novella considering everything that happened in American Gods. I do love the narrative and the world that this mythos takes place in, but I wish Shadow was a little more charismatic and had a reason and purpose why gods and other unsavory types would be attracted to probably one of the Shadow continues to be a one-dimensional character who's life is inexplicably more exciting than he actually is. It's hard to grasp why he'd so foolishly take the job or, really, do much of anything he did in this novella considering everything that happened in American Gods. I do love the narrative and the world that this mythos takes place in, but I wish Shadow was a little more charismatic and had a reason and purpose why gods and other unsavory types would be attracted to probably one of the most bland protagonists ever written. Neil Gaiman does have an engaging writing style and an interesting take on old beasts, but the novella fell short of furthering or ushering in anything regarding American Gods.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashish Iyer

    So, two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow is roaming Europe, searching for a cause. While he's in Scotland, he meets a man who offers him a job as a bodyguard. I did not enjoy this book. Shadow was still the same boring character. But unlike in American Gods where the plot managed to keep me interested, there was nothing in this novella that I enjoyed. So, two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow is roaming Europe, searching for a cause. While he's in Scotland, he meets a man who offers him a job as a bodyguard. I did not enjoy this book. Shadow was still the same boring character. But unlike in American Gods where the plot managed to keep me interested, there was nothing in this novella that I enjoyed.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer B.

    I actually read this as bonus material in my edition of the "American Gods" book, but thought it deserved its own review. This is a delicious little novella, deeply atmospheric, and perfect for reading on a late summer evening, as the sun goes down, while drinking a glass of wine and listening to the melancholy cry of seagulls, as I was lucky enough to be able to do. I actually read this as bonus material in my edition of the "American Gods" book, but thought it deserved its own review. This is a delicious little novella, deeply atmospheric, and perfect for reading on a late summer evening, as the sun goes down, while drinking a glass of wine and listening to the melancholy cry of seagulls, as I was lucky enough to be able to do.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Yórgos St.

    I was really glad to visit the cosmos of American Gods one more time and hang out with Shadow. Probably the best story in the Fragile things compilation. Solid story for sure!

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