Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
“It was a nice day. All the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn’t been invented yet. But clouds massing east of Eden suggested that the first thunderstorm was on its way, and it was going to be a big one.”
An angel, a demon, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse walk into Lower Tadfield.
Good Omens was a collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Although it was Gaiman’s first-ever novel, Pratchett was already well known for his Discworld series which he had started almost a decade previous. Published in 1990, the novel is a comedy based on the son of Satan and the end of the world.
It was an instant success and won numerous awards, ranging from ‘Most Anticipated Book’ to being a nominee for the ‘World Fantasy Award’. In 2019, it was adapted into a popular Amazon Prime show, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant.
The story has multiple plots and subplots and side arches, all of which combine to form the End. Beginning with the demon Crowley as he delivers the Antichrist, the Plan quickly spirals out of control. The babies get mixed up, the devil’s son is given to the wrong family, and Crowley and the angel Aziraphale attempt to sabotage the wrong child. There’s only one week until the Apocalypse, the Four Horsemen are hitting the road, and the great great great great great great great great great great-granddaughter of the only accurate prophet to have ever lived is on the case. What could possibly go wrong?
Good Omens is without a doubt one of the best novels that I have ever read,
- It’s hilarious. End of. It’s comedic, amusing, witty, and whatever other humourous adjectives you can think of. It has everything from the M25 motorway being a demon’s invention, to raining dolphins and fish, to Freddie Mercury himself singing from hell.
- Incredibly, once you look past the quick jokes and witty banter, this novel is actually incredibly serious. It deals with profound philosophical issues, covering everything from religion, good versus evil, free will, and war.
- Although there are numerous characters and subplots, it could arguably be said that the main two characters are Crowley and Aziraphale. And despite Gaiman and Pratchett’s reluctance to lean either way, it can be said with 90% that neither character is straight. Two LGBT+ leads? Yes, please!
- Because there are so many characters and plots, it can get some bit confusing. For readers who prefer straight forward plots and ideas, this is definitely not the book for you.
- Some of the ridiculous things are just that bit too ridiculous. A research ship attacked by the Kraken for killing whales? I didn’t know research ships were whalers on the side. There are perhaps half a dozen stupid moments that seem to have only been written for the authors own amusement.
- There are quite a few long rambling bits, everything from characters’ thoughts to scenery descriptions. It’s best to just lightly skim these in order to get back to the main story.
Good Omens is one of my top ten novels (which is an incredibly difficult list to get on) and is undoubtedly a book everyone should read.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. It’s fun, it’s witty, and it’s addictive. It ticks off every single checkbox about what makes a good story.
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