Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Review by Ryan Lawler
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch is a contemporary and comedic fantasy written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in 1990. The collaboration between two of the finest fantasy authors of our generation is nothing short of brilliant, and while they both shared everything equally and did it for fun, Pratchett has said they wouldn't do it again for a big clock.
The antichrist has been born, the four bikers of apocalypse have gathered, its the end of the world as we know it and its all happening in the small english suburb of Lower Tadfield. This is not the news the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley had been hoping for as they have become quite accustomed to their lives on earth and are starting to have second thoughts about the whole Armageddon thing. Despite being mortal enemies they decide to work together to help raise the antichrist in the hope that when it comes time for the apocalypse, the antichrist might just decide not to carry through with it. If only those meddling satanic nuns hadn't got to him first...
Good Omens is by far one of the funniest works of fiction I have ever read. Pratchett and Gaiman have managed to create a story that weaves together large doses of satire, cynicism, slapstick and wacky unconventional humour into a cohesive yet suprisingly accurate observation of human life all over the world. The characters, one of the biggest strengths in this book, bring a lot charm and humour to the book by managing to be both unique yet stereotypically British at the same time.
The side plots are are another strength of this story that despite being seemingly random and independent stories are actually laying a solid foundation for the main plot by providing lot of relevant background information and support. This is a fun story that uses these side plots to make light of what can be some very serious and topical themes. While the side plots themselves are a strength, the haphazard way in which they are a told is a slight weakness as they can sometimes be confusing and hard to follow, especially if you haven't picked up the book for a few days. Also there are a few side plots and characters in there that do not really add a great deal to the story and feel like they are just there to grab a few cheap laughs. In the bigger scheme of things these are very minor gripes and do little to detract from what is well thought out, well paced and enjoyable story.
The description above barely scratches the surface of what is a very broad yet complex array of characters and plots because I needed a limit to prevent my nice and accurate review from becoming an overwhelming and unwieldly beast. There is so much going on, so many little details to keep track of, and yet it still manages to come together quite nicely to form a great story about what it means to be human.
Karen from England
Can't remember how long ago I first read this but it still has the ability to make me laugh out loud just thinking about some passages... read it, if only for the bit about Death, the four bikers, the motorway cafe, the quiz machine, the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the joke about Elvis (no, really.)
Katerina from Germany
Concerning the 'extra characters who do not add much to the book' - I disagree. On the first read-through, it's true that one find oneself craving more of the stage-stealing Azi and Crowley, but the presence of all the human characters in particular is essential in a book that is *about* humanity and how important it is. Those scenes are needed to give context to the main characters' decision to side with them at the end. Excellent review, however. :)
Dave from NYC
READ THIS BOOK! Even if you are not a fantasy fan you will enjoy this book. This book is a combination of the best these two great authors have to offer. Gaiman is an incredible plot weaver who is able to temper some of the obviousness of Pratchet's puns. The main characters are hilarious and you can't help but love this quirky cast.
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