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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman Book Review | SFReader.com
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman Genre: Fantasy Publisher: Harper Paperbacks Published: 2007 Review Posted: 2/3/2009 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: 10 out of 10
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Book Review by Ben Essex
Have you read this book?
There's no reason the apocalypse shouldn't be a laugh. od Omens is a book about Armageddon. Not some wishy-washy new age Generic Demon/Alien/Washing Machine Invasion Armageddon- this is good old fashioned Biblical stuff. Fire and brimstone, Angels and Demons. The Four Horsemen are mobilizing. The Anti-Christ is on Earth and soon to come of age. He is prophesied to bring chaos and ruin.
He is destined to bring the End.
Nobody has bothered to actually ask him how he feels about this.
Because Adam Young is just an ordinary eleven year old boy- and, due to an unfortunate mix-up in a Satanic Nunnery, he has no idea of the supernatural conflict coiling around him. He resides in a quiet patch of England, enjoying childish games. And it's fair to say that when he finds out about his so-called "destiny," the good-natured little Anti-Christ might have a thing or two to say about things.
od Omens is a collaborative effort by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. This should be all the motivation one needs in order to buy the book. Really. Stop reading this review and go get it. I've told you everything you need to know.
on. I can wait.
Right. Now that you're back and presumably holding the book, I won't bother spoiling it for you. The plot unfolds at a delectable pace- beginning with the Garden of Eden, flashing to the birth of Adam (and subsequent confusion) and going from there to the End. Gaimen's dark style meshes surprisingly well with Pratchett's carefully thought-out absurdest humor, and the pair has all sorts of fun with the tropes of religion and theology. Of important note is just how respectful they are to the above. God is not, at any point in the novel, violently killed off. Nor for that manner is the Devil- indeed, both of the above conspicuously fail to make an appearance. Thus, the book avoids coming across as either particularly theist or anti-theist. In fact, Gaimen Pratchett offer a fascinating perspective on the plans of ineffable being that, surprisingly, has yet to start a major religion on its own.
The two best characters stand out as the odd-couple pairing of Azriphale (an Angel) and Crowley (an Angel who has not so much Fallen and Sauntered Gently Downwards), and the novel's biggest disappointment is that they don't get enough "screen" time. Entire books could be written about this pair. Through them, Pratchett and Gaimen explore the unique idea of the buildup to Apocalypse as a sort of Divine Cold War, with agents from either side exploring Earth and subsequently going a bit too "native" for their own good. Crowley may be the one doing the sauntering, but Azriphale certainly has the capacity to stroll.
Coming of age is a well-handled theme, and the authors somehow manage to make scenes with a gang of prepubescent children bearable and enjoyable- no easy feat. Ancillary characters are gradually introduced and fleshed out in the form of a couple of feeble witch-hunters, a somewhat less feeble witch, and a biker gang of particular significance. Said witch's ancestor, incidentally, displays an innovative solution to being burned at the stake.
Fans of the Discworld books might also be interested in the appearance of Death- or rather a Death, for his behavior is quite in contrast with Pratchett's current portrayal of the Disc's Grim Reaper.
As expected, a hilarious and rewarding read that is well worth every penny, every word. Highly recommended. It even manages to turn its final pages into a gentle but insistent thumb-in-the nose of 1984's bleak, depressing end. I have to say, much as I enjoy George Orwell... I'd take a sneaker over a boot, any day.
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