Name: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Number of Pages: 384 (Paperback)
Published: March 5th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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 . . .
Apparently 2019 is the year of my discovering new-to-me authors whose works have been around for a while and then wondering how on earth I’ve missed out on them for so long.
I picked up Good Omens after watching the new tv series; I wanted to see if I would enjoy the book as much as I’d liked each colourful, bizarre, entertaining episode of the show, and it turns out… I did!
Would I have picked this one up had I not watched the series first? In all honestly, possibly not, the story may have sounded a bit too bizarre, but once I started reading, I found it difficult to tear myself away from the world of Crowley and Aziraphale. So, how to describe Good Omens?
The end is nigh, but years previously there was a mix-up involving a group of chattering nuns and a certain demon which resulted in an epic mistake… the Antichrist is missing. It’s a problem because the demon in question, Crowley, and his heavenly counterpart Aziraphale, have come to enjoy their existence on Earth and their Arrangement which sees neither good or evil triumph completely and keeps things ticking over quite nicely so they can enjoy all this world has to offer and each other’s company at the same time – unlikely as it may seem, the angel and the demon have formed a solid friendship over the many years of their existence.
So, neither of them really want the upcoming apocalypse to begin, and set out to locate the Antichrist and see if they can put a stop to it all.
I love these two central characters and their companionship. They’re so different yet they work so well together and balance each other out. I enjoyed every page of them together, whether it be trying to discover the location of the missing Antichrist, or planning to go for lunch at the Ritz.
There were so many little moments in Good Omens that made me smile, so it’s probably the first impending-apocalypse novel to achieve that. It’s a quirky, fun, bizarre caper of a novel with all manner of randomness – aliens, a 30-ft-tower of fish on the M6, the Bikers of the Apocalypse, a unique approach to team building exercises and Crowley’s poor Bentley, eventually willed on by nothing more than his own imagination. I laughed a lot throughout this book.
The characters, aside from the angel and the demon at the heart of the story, are so varied. There’s Anathema Device, descendant of the witch/creator of the Nice and Accurate Prophecies… and Newton Pulsifer, descendant of the Witchfinder Major behind Agnes’ eventual demise, and a group of kids, the Them, who live in the idyllic Tadfield, growing up alongside Adam, who is more than he realises. Oh, and a hellhound called Dog.
And that’s before I get to Shadwell and Madam Tracy, who make an unlikely team and get involved in averting the end of the world as we know it.
Good Omens is certainly one of the most unique books I’ve read recently, and I doubt I would ever have picked it up had I not checked out the tv series first. What a treat I’d have missed. Plots, sub-plots, random moments of laugh-out-loud humour, colourful characters and imaginative situations, Good Omens has all this going for it. Can’t wait to check out other books by these authors in the future.