Book 14: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
What can I say about Good Omens that hasn’t already been said (possibly twice)?
It was awesome. I loved it.
The book starts off at the Beginning, with an angel and a demon discussing the Banishment from Eden of you-know-who. At this point, they’re probably cordial enemies. The sort of people who are aware that they’re on opposite sides, but don’t have any personal problem with each other. It reminds me of those war stories you hear sometimes, about the grunts out in the trenches exchanging songs and beers and whatnot at holidays, regardless of what side each happens to be on, as both sides know at heart that the boys across the field are mostly the same as them–drafted and thrown into this against their will.
Fast forward thousands of years to the present(ish) day. Crowley (our demon) and Aziraphale (our angel) are the sort of wary friends wherein the wariness is mostly a disguise both wears to minimize to their superiors just how close they really are. Ostensibly fighting on opposite sides, both of them know that there’s not much difference between them at heart. It’s made clear to the reader quite quickly that both sides lay claim to most of every endeavor and accomplishment humankind has ever gotten to as a win for their side. It’s an eternal war, except for the fact that the world is set to end a week from Tuesday.
The pair has decided (Well, mostly Crowley decided and dragged Az into it through much wheedling and invoking of ineffability) that they rather enjoy Earth as it is, as well as humanity, and they rather don’t want the world to end a week from Tuesday, as it’s ordained to do.
I wish I could do justice to the plot of this book. The demon and the angel are certainly the main characters, although it could argued that Crowley is slightly above Az. However, there are numerous minor players; everyone from the AnitChrist to Satanic nuns to a bunch of mischievous kids. I can’t even quite put into words just how much I loved this book. The style? Oh, it just tickled me to no end. I don’t know if it came naturally to them or if they had to work at it, but this sort of droll, tongue in cheek style is something I will forever aspire to. And I doubt I’ll ever come close. I loved every word of it. I love that I never read this until after seeing Neil and hearing him describe its writing as just something he and Terry did to make each other laugh.
It reminded me a bit of Stroud’s first Bartimaeus book (especially with the footnotes. Dork I may be, but I love me some footnotes. They’re always so silly and out of place); and a bit of something else I cannot for the life of me remember right now. I’m pretty sure, however, that this one was written first, so these books were influenced by Good Omens, and not the other way ’round.
I loved the Satanic sisters. I loved the Them. I loved that the AntiChrist got misplaced and raised by normal folks. I loved the irreverance and the casual, well, blasphemy of it all (and I say that as someone who was raised Catholic, not as someone who actually thought of the book as blasphemy. If there’s one thing I can appreciate, it’s good, well-written blasphemy). I loved how often it made me laugh, or giggle madly, and that it had me grinning like an idiot even more often.
If you appreciate either author and haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend it. If you were raised Christian or Satanic and have an appreciation for things that make fun of your childhood in Sunday school, I high recommend it. If you’re breathing and appreciate humor of any sort, I highly recommend it. Shit, just go read the damn thing if you’ve not already done so.
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Tags: book 14, books, cannonball read, good omens, neil gaiman, reading, review, terry pratchett