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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Book Review

Write on: Thu, 30 Apr 2020 by  in Jed's Reviews Read 1380

This book couldn't have come at a better time. At the time of writing this, it's been just two hours since I saw Neil Gaiman give an incredible talk at the Perth Concert Hall. As fate would have it, he spent most of his talk answering audience questions, which we'd written on small cards before the show. Towards the show's end, we were far over time and none of my two questions had been answered. I didn't really mind, because the other questions were incredible. Then, however, Neil picked a card at random out of the pile, said, "This will be the last question", and - to my stunned amazement - it was mine!

My question was this: What is the best writing lesson you learned from Terry Pratchett?

His answer: that you don't need to know the end to your story before you start writing. So long as you know what you need to write today, and maybe tomorrow, you will eventually make it through the fog of your story and discover the ending.

This may seem unrelated to Good Omens, but I bring it up because:

A) I'm still stunned and so grateful that he answered my question (it was a sold-out house of 1500 people, with about 100 questions taken by Neil onto the stage, out of an even larger pool of other questions)

B) Neil and Terry co-wrote Good Omens. It was an incredible book, more so for the exquisite combination and complementation of these two amazing authors.

There was Neil's dark and bittersweet sensibilities of myths walking amongst men; there was Terry's absurdly hilarious humour that distracted you enough to slip profound and affecting truths into your mind. Then there were things that didn't feel like either author's work. Things that felt like both. Something new and exciting, a literary love child that made me laugh, made me care, and made me walk away from the story as a better person.

Good Omens is a book about armageddon, and the angel and devil who conspire to stop it. But it's about so much more than that. If, like me, you struggled to get into the TV show, I can say that the book plays far more to the story's sensibilities (at least in my opinion). There wasn't a dull moment. Highly, highly recommended.

Overall Ranking: 4.5/5

Jed

Jed Herne is a fantasy author from Perth, Western Australia. His books include the #1 Amazon Bestselling fantasy novella, Fires of the Dead, and the epic space fantasy novel, Across the Broken Stars. His short stories have been published in The Arcanist, Scarlet Leaf Review, Flintlock, and more.

Outside of writing, he hosts The Novel Analyst Podcast, where he extracts writing lessons from his favourite books, and interviews authors to pick their brains on the craft of storytelling.

When he's not reading or writing, you can find him falling off walls in a bouldering gym.