Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Book Review 30, Apr

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!

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett 02, Jul

"Notoriety wasn't as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity."

Good Omens is a modern, humorous and unique take on Armageddon and the events leading up to it. Despite being published in the 1990s, the cultural references and problems depicted still feel incredibly current, making this appear as a timeless read - the book is thought provoking to any modern reader. I recently watched the Amazon adaptation of the book and that was also very good. They are very similar to each other, with only slight differences of focus that were not monumental.

The prose is irregular and unique, often going off on tangents. This was sometimes hilarious and at other times mind-boggling. Whichever way it was, the book was easy to read and flowed wonderfully, as one would expect when written by these two esteemed authors. It was a very different style that took a while to acclimatise to, but once that had happened, I found it to be entirely excellent.

The characters were diverse and great! In particular the partnership between the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale. They were absolutely brilliant together, with a depth crafted from 6000 years of experience with each other. This was definitely a strong point of the novel, and their interactions with each other formed my favourite parts of he plot. 

"Hell may have all the best composers, but Heaven has all the best choreographers."

The world depicted varied widely, from London, to a rural town, to a hospital, and each was described vividly with interesting aspects that made them natural and carried on with the humorous atmosphere of the book.

The plot was not a prominent nature of the book, as the story revolved more around the characters and humour, but that made the story no less interesting. The stakes were as high as they could get, being the world and all of mankind! Armageddon taking place with angelic and demonic forces preparing themselves for the war to end all wars. Even though the stakes were as high as it can get, the humours leaks from every page, with so many wonderfully memorable lines. One of my favourites involved a confused Hellhound.

"Dog was starting to doubt himself."

So Good Omens was an exciting and interesting read that was eventful and just hilarious. I soon adjusted to the irregular prose and ended up loving the style of the writing. I loved its unique take on Armageddon and the subtle and thought provoking cultural references. I recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed the programme, and anyone in the mood for a light-hearted read that nevertheless tackles thought-provoking themes.



Pillars of the Genre: Good Omens and Neuromancer 01, Sep

Pillars of the Genre: Good Omens and Neuromancer Video review


In this special series, I'll take a look back at the seminal works in science fiction and fantasy.