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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

Book Review: Good Omens

February 12, 2007

I wanted to read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett because I felt I needed to read more in my genre, and I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman's writing (American Gods is excellent!). I hadn't read anything by Pratchett, but I knew he was someone I should read. I knew I would love it as soon as I read the blurb inside the cover and the author bios in the back. This was in Pratchett's bio:

"He likes people to buy him banana daiquiris (he knows people don't read author biographies, but feels this might be worth a try)."

The rest of this book did not disappoint.

The most fantastic part of this book, and it's all fantastic, is the voice throughout. I can hear the British accent in my head as I'm reading, and it's wonderful. This is written by two quite talented writers.

The story is about Armageddon, which heaven and hell have been waiting for ages to occur. Agnes Nutter, prophetess, predicted it all. Here's a bit from the cover blurb:

"According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter -- the world's only totally reliable guide to the future, the world will end on a Saturday.

Next Saturday, in fact.

Just before dinner."

Crowley is a demon and Aziraphale, an angel. Each has been on earth just generally hanging out and waiting for the end of the world. Now that it's coming, neither one particularly wants it to end. They've become friends, of a sort, after all those millennium, one couldn't help but to be a bit sympathetic, even to one's enemy, and they've been living it up. Crowley has a fancy car, and Aziraphale collects old books. Neither one is particularly anxious to get back to their respective afterlives.

Adding to this fun is a hospital mix-up, during which we meet the nuns of the Chattering Order of Saint Beryl, Satanic nuns who are under the strictest order to babble constantly (except on Tuesday, when they can play ping pong quietly, if desired). The nuns mess up, and the antichrist is not whom he appears to be. No one realizes this until the hound who is supposed accompany him to the Armageddon doesn't show up as planned.

The antichrist, by the way, is an eleven year old kid named, appropriately enough, Adam.

Unlike The Echo Maker, this novel has a huge cast of characters, with the main ones being the demon, the angel, and the antichrist. Toss in a couple of witchfinders, a long-dead prophetess, a few kids, some demons, some angels, and the voice of god via telephone and demons via whatever the hell they please, we've got so many characters that the authors deemed to include a list of characters, should anyone become confused.

I'm really curious how the two authors wrote this. I can't imagine writing a novel with someone else. I wonder if they alternated chapters, each taking turns which could say why the novel got so ridiculously silly, or perhaps one decided to be "dark" and one "light" and went from there. I imagine that writing a novel with a friend is even more difficult than writing alone because there are bound to be power trips and disagreements here and there. Did Gaiman and Pratchett have arm wrestling bouts to conquer troubled plot twists? Maybe.

All in all, this is a fantastic book, a definite must read for anyone who A) likes both or either author(s), B) likes to read anything silly, & C) is curious about the end of the world. Definitely the best book I've read in the last few months.

Moira at 10:20 AM :: Comments (0) :: ::
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