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Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Review: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

| On 03, Aug 2015

I had heard a lot about this book before I started reading it, from friends, from critics, from the Internet, all talking about how good it was, how clever it was, how it could make you well up with emotion and start laughing in the same sentence. And yet, it still took me years to pick up the book, and to get past the fact that it was co-authored.

Now that I’ve finished Good Omens, I can see what all they hype was about. Writing in the fantasy genre, an area I’m not usually too keen on, Neil Gaiman and the late, marvellous Terry Pratchett have created a masterpiece of comedic fiction. The humour ranges from subtle jokes you might miss if you’re not paying close enough attention to a few occasions of slapstick that were just as funny as the more refined jokes. Amongst the gags, they’ve also written an incredibly dynamic, interesting story that had me wishing there was more to read after I finished the final page.

In the opening of the novel, the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have become very comfortable with their life on earth. Though they are both representatives of Heaven and Hell respectively, they’ve grown quite fond of humanity, and have settled into their own almost-human lives. So, when it’s announced that the Apocalypse is set to begin, they are both a bit disappointed.

Woven in alongside subplots of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Antichrist, and a book called The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the story of Aziraphale and Crowley is full of Gaiman and Pratchett’s sharp humour and their snide (and frequently accurate) insights into humanity. Though there’s a large cast of main characters throughout the novel, they are each entirely important in their own way, and the authors don’t rely on any cheap tricks to get you engaged with the novel.

Overall, Good Omens is a triumph. I regretted having to put the book down every night so I could go to sleep at a reasonable hour, just because I was so enamoured with the characters and so fascinated by Pratchett and Gaiman’s way with words. The story is engaging, the writing impressive, and the characters lovable, right down to Death. It’s an interesting exploration of the Apocalypse and a humorous take on some pretty dark subject matter, but Gaiman and Pratchett triumphed with Good Omens.