Review: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Title: Good Omens
Author: Gaiman, Neil and Terry Pratchett
Length: 412 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher / Year: HarperTorch / 2006 (originally published in 1990)
Source: I won it from Reading With Tequila
Why I Read It: I won it, and had heard a lot about both authors
Date Read: 29/10/10
I am honestly kicking myself for leaving this on my to be read pile for so long. It was seriously one of the funniest books I’ve read, ever. If not the funniest. Not just snorting or giggling funny, but actual laugh out loud throughout the whole thing. It was so funny, my roommate tells me that I was laughing in my sleep the night after reading it.
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon – both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle – are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist…
OK, seriously, now do you understand? There isn’t really a lot I can say about this book. An angel who owns a used bookstore (not of course because he would actually sell anything, more as a front for his habit of collection), a demon who thinks the Fall was a bit harsh for a first time offense, God obviously has no humor, a witch, witchfinders, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Satanist nuns, and of course the Antichrist all populate this novel.
Not only is the writing itself hilarious, it is full of various notes that are even funnier. For example, on page 298 it says that “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” This of course has an asterisk beside it to mark that there is a note at the bottom of the page relating to that. The note reads: “This is not actually true. The road to Hell is paved with frozen door-to-door salesmen. On weekends many of the younger demons go ice skating on it.”.
The book gives an examination of religion and blame and excuses. Crowley (the demon) and Aziraphale (the angel) have been on Earth together for so long that they’ve become friends. They work together and have a bit of an Arrangement where they keep each other up to date and help each other out. If one is going out of the way to a different area to do a job, they might as well save the other the trouble and do their work while in the area too, right? Ah the joys of teamwork! It turns out the adversary you know and work with might be more like you and have more in common with you than your superiors, they come to find.
Through these two main characters we also see how humans aren’t really good or evil, and how we all do our own thing. Several times Crowley expresses surprise at the things that humans think of, and he really thinks that demons could learn a few things from them. He and Aziraphale often think the same people are on their side, showing how tricky humans can be. It was also hilarious to see how Crowley was so up-to-date on modern conveniences compared to the other demons.
Basically, if the Apocalypse is to rely on these characters, we’re in trouble. Hilarious book that I highly recommend to all.