Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
4 stars – I liked it; it was good
I received this book (a paperback) as a birthday gift from a good friend, along with a pair of bright yellow socks covered in images of socks. This friend, obviously, has an interesting sense of humour, but every time I wear the socks (the most colourful in my collection) I think of her. I’m so glad I finally read this book.
Read: Mar. 20 – Mar. 24, 2023
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A Comedy About the End of the World
The end of the world was Written since the very Beginning, that one day, the Antichrist would bring about Armageddon, then the forces of Heaven and Hell would fight to determine the ultimate winner. However, not everyone wants this. Crowley (a demon), and Aziraphale (an angel), have gained a particular liking for Earth and its inhabitants, so, on the night of the switch, they’ve planned to interfere, to raise the Antichrist themselves. Too bad they chose the wrong boy…
I found an amazing reader on Youtube, channel name: Brentwood Library. It’s still a somewhat small channel, under 600 subscribers at the moment, but I was impressed by his reading. He hardly ever stumbled over his words, and he chose (in my opinion) excellent voices and accents for each of the characters as he read. Again, I sped the videos to 2x speed, but I could appreciate his reading at regular speed as well. He split the book into half-hour to forty-five-minute sections, which made them manageable, bite-size chunks.
Right off the bat, I was blown away by the quality of the writing. It’s so different from what I was reading before (Rick Riordan’s work) and while both are good and enjoyable, the writing in this book was simply exquisite. I really got a sense for the characters and their roles in the story, and I found the organization of the book (and its uncommon chapters) intriguing. The book was enjoyable all around, and I’m really glad I read it. If I didn’t have a whole shelf of TBRs lined up, I would read this book again right now.
The narrative jumps between many characters, but the main groups are: Crowley and Aziraphale, Adam (the Antichrist) and the Them, Anathema Device (a witch), the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse, and others—not mentioned for spoiler and spacing purposes.
Crowley and Aziraphale are a couple of meddlers, though not very competent ones. They’ve pulled a lot of strings despite not being the organizers of everything, and a lot of things happen because of their direct actions (or inactions). I love their dynamic as well, which borders on romantic, but is overall equally friendly and antagonistic; Neil Gaiman does admit that they are in love and wrote them as such. This is due to the fact that they are an angel and a demon, yet are in such close proximity that they feel more connection to one another than they do to those Above or Below.
Meanwhile, Adam is an eleven-year-old boy living in Lower Tadfield, England, and he spends time with his friends—two boys and a girl—as part of a gang known as the Them. They like causing mischief and trouble, hanging around in obscure places, and talking about things they don’t quite understand. Overall, a typical group of preteens. Adam is the leader of the group, but he listens (for the most part) to the thoughts and opinions of his friends.
Also near Lower Tadfield is Anathema the witch, and the witchfinders. They all play vital roles in the story, as do the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse (4HotA). Anathema is the most recent keeper of a book of prophecies from her ancestor Agnes Nutter, which spurs on the plot. She is a confident woman and is determined to figure out how to combat the end of the world with her knowledge of the future. Up until that time, the witchfinders are trying to find witches, and the 4HotA are just around causing chaos—as they do.
Things really ramp up in chapter six, the day of the end of the world, which consists of maybe half of the book (pages 184–369). It’s an exciting ride with ups and downs and many moving parts, all artfully put together by the authors. I’ve already said a lot about the plot of the book, so I’ll cap it off here by saying that the twists and turns were really enjoyable.
As mentioned before, I listened along to this book at 2x speed, and I read this book within the span of a week. That equates to about an hour of reading per day, some days two or three hours. I didn’t find myself getting tired of this book or ever checking to see how much longer a particular stretch of reading would take. I owe this to the suspense built by the authors, as well as the satisfaction of the scenes. It’s a delicate balance, to give a reader enough to look forward to, but not make so much of a mystery that they’re frustrated with a lack of information, and these authors do a wonderful job of it.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and I recommend it to mature audiences (because of the language and some inappropriate themes). It was quite the comedy for a book about the end of the world, and the writing was excellent.
(After writing this review, I proceeded to watch the TV series, available on Amazon Prime. I am also very excited for the second season, which is set to come out in Summer 2023.)
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