How perfect is this? A book by two of my favorite authors which was later made into a TV series starring two of my favorite actors. It’s like a gift from the universe specially made for me. And even better, it’s pretty amazing.
There is a lot going in in Good Omens. We have three distinct story lines following the key players. First, there’s main story of how an angel and a demon are trying to prevent the apocalypse because frankly life in the 20th century is everything they’d ever want it to be and they would rather not see it end.
Then, there’s the story of the boy who is supposed to be the Antichrist and bring about the apocalypse.
There’s also a thread of the story as we watch the four horsemen of the apocalypse organize themselves and set things into motion.
Lastly, I’m going to lump together the characters revolving around the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a book of prophecies which is distinct from other books of prophecies for one reason alone – It’s 100% accurate, this includes the descendant of Agnes, Anathema Device (best name for a character, ever) Newton Pulsifer, and Witchfinder Sergent Shadwell.
We see the book in three main time periods; the events surrounding the placement of the baby Antichrist into a suitable family; the key points of the boy’s growing up when both the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley work to ensure he’s given a proper education so when the time comes for the apocalypse, he’s ready; and then the time when the apocalypse is supposed to happen.
Like I said, there’s a lot going on here.
The one thing that I always find delightful in Pratchett’s books is his use of distinct and likable characters. We see loads of this here. The cast is absolutely massive in this book and yet each character is built in such a way that they walk fully formed off of the page. Take the demon Crowley, for example. He could have been played like a stereotypical villain and not been anything more than that. Instead, we have a man who loves his vintage Bentley (even if every cassette he tries to play in it in time turns into a Queen album), raises houseplants like children (which he sacrifices regularly to threaten the others to grow better, he is a demon after all), and created the M25 just to annoy humans.
Then, we mix all these amazing characters into a story line that’s both so complicated and yet so simple which screams iconic Gaiman.
It’s a hard combination to pull off and yet, for me, was 100% successful in creating an delightful romp through something running just parallel enough to the truth that it can be enjoyed first while reading, but also again as you think about all the bits and how they fit together.
If you’re already a fan of Pratchett and Gaiman you’ll already know that they both love to walk on the edge of the acceptable and explore what is considered right and wrong and why. That said, if reading about the Antichrist as a very real person, and worse, a child, makes you a little squeamish, then this whole book might be a little too much for comfort.
Age recommendations – I’d stick this one to adult readers and the older teenagers they let play. Besides the playful religious overtones ranging into the questionable at times, there only a sprinkling of curse words, I think f*^# is said once, and the violence and romantic content is present but subdued. The reason I recommend older readers is that the story won’t make much sense without context and life experience.
I rate Good Omens 5/5 for its excellent characters, delightful unlikely situations, and the most unusual of friendships.
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