Good Omens

The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
By Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

GoodOmens25 And the Lord spake unto the Angel that guarded the eastern gate, saying ‘Where is the flaming sword that was given unto thee?’
26 And the Angel said, ‘I had it here only a moment ago, I must have put it down some where, forget my own head next.’
27 And the Lord did not ask him again.

Before Terry Pratchett was Sir Terry Pratchett, and before Neil Gaiman was NEIL GAIMAN!!, the two men were young writers who met, became friends, and wrote a book together.  That book was Good Omens, and Good Omens would alter the course of their careers.  And rightly so.

It follows Aziraphale, an angel with a beloved collection of antique books, and Crowley, a fast-rolling demon who seems to have lost the Antichrist.  The unlikely duo attempt to salvage the situation and locate the Antichrist, but problematically, both of them have grown quite fond of Earth and aren’t too keen on it being destroyed in Armageddon.  Meanwhile, the Devil’s spawn has led a very normal human life in the quiet English countryside.  The young boy and his three friends’ main concerns are riding bikes and pretending to be cowboys, and it is in their hands that the fate of the world rests.

Pratchett and Gaiman give the End Times a sacreligious, snarky, and hilarious makeover, but squahsed between the irreverent and bizarre, Pratchett and Gaiman drop bits of profound thoughts and ideas.  They clearly used the book to bounce philosophies off of each other and hash out ideas about the world and its inhabitants.  Whether you agree with their conclusions or not, the ride there is certainly entertaining.  And although the story’s pacing seems to lag in a couple spots and the vingette-style of storytelling sometimes makes it difficult to completely immerse onself in the book, these flaws pale in comparison to its overall delightfullness and humor.

Since Good Omens’ initial success, Pratchett and Gaiman have gone on to become kings (dare I say gods?) of fantasy and sci-fi satire, and their popularity is no surprise.  Good Omens may not be perfect, but it is full of two young authors’ blossoming promise.  There are some popular books that leave a reader scrunching his brow and wondering what all the fuss was about.  Good Omens is not one of those books.  It will leave you smirking and wondering which book of theirs to read next.


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