Good Omens (Book Review)

Terry Prachett and Niel Gaiman double team fiction fans with a dose of metaphysics and comedy. Of course you can dispense with the metaphysics entirely and just dive straight into the comedy. That’s my preferred method.

The premise is, surprisingly, the end of the world. Specifically, it’s The End as described in the biblical book of the apocalypse. This being a satire, the manner in which we reach The-end-of-All begins with the slightest of detours. Then it gets hopelessly lost. The reader ends up on a funny and irreverent road trip.

Imagine the four horsemen of the apocalypse on motor bikes ripping up the British countryside. Imagine the anti-christ getting switched with another baby after delivery. Then add on witch hunters, witches, an accountant, a gang of rowdy kids and an angel and demon who don’t exactly hate each other. It’s a big cast, but somehow Gaiman and Pratchett manage to fit them all into this story.

Normally, I imagine a movie whenever I read a book. I had a hard time imagining this as a movie because of all the characters involved. The book felt hectic. Instead, I decided to think of it as a mini-series. Somehow, that helped me overcome the sense that I was trying to pay attention to too many things. I suspect that effect was intended. There is a race between those who want the end to come and those who don’t. A frenetic pace and harried environment heightens that mood.

If you don’t mind getting your religious beliefs bruised, Good Omens make for good reading.

My favorite bits:

My favorite characteristic of this book is the sheer irreverence towards all sorts of things. The natural target is belief systems whether religions or just preconceptions. I got the most laughs from those lines that extolled common sense such as one witch trusting her self defense not to spells but to a rather lengthy breadknife tucked into her belt.