Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Humor | Fantasy
Published by William Marrow
Released May 1, 1990
Goodreads | Amazon
I’m furious at myself for not reading this book sooner! It’s been on my TBR for years, and despite Neil Gaiman being one of my favorite authors, for some reason unknown to me, I never found time to read it. I was finally prompted to pick it up since the Amazon Prime series based on it, starring David Tennant, is premiering on May 31st.
This book is hilarious. If you are a fan of funny, absurdist, fantastical novels such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you will absolutely adore this novel.
The synopsis itself is intriguing: Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel) are both living on earth and enjoying themselves. As they’ve been there for literal ages, they have reached a pact to let each other do what they will without interference from the other. Eventually, the Antichrist is born, but he is misplaced due to a botched baby-switching. The rest of the story is Crowley and Aziraphale trying to locate the Antichrist to stop the Apocalypse from happening.
There are other characters as well: the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; Newton Pulsifer, a modern-day witchfinder, along with his Witchfinder Sergeant, Shadwell; Madame Tracy, a medium and “painted Jezebel;” and Anathema Device, who is the descendant of Agnes Nutter, who wrote the only accurate book of prophecies. These characters are all bizarre in their own ways, but their stories weave together wonderfully.
Despite the absurdity of the novel, there are bits of wisdom scattered throughout, such as this statement by Aziraphale:
“Evil always contains the seeds of its own destruction. It is ultimately negative, and therefore encompasses its downfall even at its moments of apparent triumph. No matter how grandiose, how well-planned, how apparently foolproof an evil plan, the inherent sinfulness will by definition rebound upon its instigators. No matter how apparently successful it may seem upon the way, at the end it will wreck itself. It will founder upon the rocks on iniquity and sink headfirst to vanish without trace into the seas of oblivion.”
The novel is a fun adventure and there were so many times when I caught myself laughing out loud while I was reading it at work, which isn’t something that happens often. This is one of those books that I know I’ll be able to read over and over again without getting tired of it.
If you like the style of either Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett on their own, chances are you’ll enjoy this.