on July 19, 2004
Think Monty Python meets Douglas Adams' Hitchiker's Guide. Throw in a bit of Dogma (the Kevin Smith film), and you have this book. If you like all three of these, you'll probably enjoy Good Omens. It helps to have a basic understanding of Biblical prophecy and a bit of appreciation for British humor. Without these, you might get a bit lost.
The only thing I didn't like about this book is that I had a hard time figuring out where it was going a lot of the time. It felt like there were a lot of unnecessary scenes. I kept waiting and waiting for the Apocalypse to come around, but it seemed to take forever.
Still, it was worth reading. I laughed outloud at several of the jokes, and the two main characters--the representitves from heaven and hell pictured on the cover were hysterical. It's worth the seven dollars just for them.
on February 12, 2004
Good Omens is an interesting, though sometimes tough read by authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Overall the story is funny, original, and amusing. Most of the time the story moves along well.
The best parts of the story involve angel Aziraphale and devil counterpart Crowley. The way the authors put these two eternal beings into modern human society is the funniest theme in the book. Both beings have grown so accustomed to human society, that they actually dread the day of reckoning long prophesized in every religion. They just want things to stay the way they are.
Well, life staying the same as it had been will be difficult, since the anti-Christ has been growing up (in suburban England of course) for many years and is about to come of age. That is another humorous story in itself. See, there was a mix-up by the devil's agent at the time of birth, and ...
This book would be an even stronger recommendation, if it didn't bog down at times. The story could have been faster paced. Never-the-less, the story rates at an enjoyable 3.75 out of 5.00 stars, rounded up to 4.00. The originality of the story-line, the many, very funnny characterizations, and the way the plot is amusingly wrapped up, make it worth the read. Especially good book to pick up while hanging around airports for the day.
on May 28, 2002
Reading the Prologue alone would make you laugh out loud. But unfortunately, I found the rest of the book to be not as hiliarious as the Prologue. It did, however, make me chuckle throughout though, with it's clipped humour and absurd imagery.
It's the sort of book you can pick up where you left of over many days and read it in bits and pieces as you wait for the public transport. There's no hurry to finish it as the plot isn't intense, and as (i feel) the entire novel, isn't about the plot. It's just something to make you laugh and perhaps give you a quick insight into certain biblical doctrines and how they might prove to be wrong.
There are some interesting ideas introduced, and i liked how Gaiman and Pratchet shaped the horsemen of the apocalypse.
The narrative is a wonderful and engaging, and the images absurd to the point of being undeniable wonderful. Imagine an Angel and a Demon sitting together over tea, talking about the end of the world. It's absurd, and there's something very pleasant about it all as well.
It did seem to lack an X factor though, something to truly make it entirely satisfying. Maybe it was the way the characters weren't built up well enough. Aziraphale and Crowley were well crafted, no doubt, but Adam, or the antichrist, could have done with a little more devling into his psyche since he happens to be the most psychologically complicated character.
on July 11, 2001
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, both distinctive authors in their own rights, combine beautifully into one voice with a novel rich in characters, plot lines that cross delightfully, wry satire, and verbal play.
They weave an antic fable about the apocalypse as the agents of Hell and Heaven on Earth, Crowley and Aziraphale, decide to sabotage the destruction of a world they have come to...well, they rather like the place, that's all. Part of their operation is to find the antichrist child (and his little yipping hellhound) before the four motorcyclists of the apocalypse (along with some mortal tagalongs) find him.
A lot of humor and joy is found in mediocrity. There is a book of utterly accurate prophecies by a witch who, all those centuries ago, didn't quite understand what her visions of VCR's and current events actually meant. There is a motley witch-hunter, and a hellhound embarrassed to manifest as a tiny, domesticated yapper.
As the story turns suspenseful, the narrative can get frustrating. You don't want to miss one word of the exposition and character development - which often includes hilarious footnotes - and there is a feeling of being yanked out of the action as the chase is on and time begins to run out.
on May 24, 2000
What a great zany comedy. Those familiar with the book of Revelations will appreciate many of the in-jokes. Famine is a corporate businessman that sells synthetic food that tastes the same but kills people through obesity And malnutrition. War is a war correspondent that always appears to be the first on the scene to report a skirmish. Pollution is, well, a dirty person that litters a lot. Death is the Fourth, and he is never seen without his dark-visored motorcycle helmet on. Yes, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-Famine, War, Pollution, and Death- are Hell's Angels.
The plot circles around an antichrist (raised by a normal family because of a mix-up with satanist nuns), a witch-hunter (looking for excitement away from his mundane office work by looking at newspapers for triple-breasted occultists), a witch (No comment), and a not-too-good Angel and a not-too-bad demon that happen to be best friends. Together, they create a very funny (albeit a bit cliched, formulaic) screwball comedy. I like this book very much, with few yet compounding reservations. Douglas Adams' writing style is mimiced to the T, but y'know, try something different, guys. The main reason, however, that I didn't like this is, I admit, purely subjective. This is simply that I couldn't read this book without getting the shoddy aftertaste of Dogma, End of Days, Armageddon, or any other roaches I may have stepped on in 1999. If you want to read this book, wait until later. Wait until you forget.
on March 6, 2000
Terry Pratchet has done it again. He has written another rib-tickling novel, as good as his books about the 'Ring-World'. And this time helped by another great British writer, Neal Gaiman, famous for his comic-books and novels published by DC Comics.
The book 'Good Omens', is a good way to analyse the professional career of these authors, because the novel has a lot of coincidences with their previous works.
In the case of Terry Pratchet, he continues doing spoofs of others books and films. In the Ring-World novels, he parodies the fantasy books and in 'Good Omens' the horror ones. In fact, the whole book is a big joke about the Armageddon and Judgement Day, because the plot is two friends (an angel and a demon) trying to avoid the End of the World, which will be caused by a ten-year-old English boy.
At the other hand, you can notice the touch of Neal Gaiman in his continuos references to other books or songs (for example, 'Bohemian Rapsody' of Queen is the song which uses the Devil to communicate with his subordinates) and the way the supernatural characters behave, very far from the traditional point of view.
But the book has flaws too. The final chapter is less funnier and good than the rest of the novel and a bit too long.
on July 7, 1998
With Good Omens, historians Gaiman and Pratchett chronicle the Apocalypse with delightful mock-seriousness. The footnotes and constant perspective shifts can be somewhat disrupting, but they are well intended and lead to nice humorous touches; the narrative doesn't so much flow as dance zanily (but purposefully) to the End. In a that vein, I wish the authors had pared down the large cast of characters: the Dramatis Personae lists 27, not including the "Full Chorus of Tibetans, Aliens, Americans, Atlantisans and other rare and strange Creatures of the Last Days." At the beginning of the novel, I became too attached to the duo of angelic Aziraphale and demonic Crowly and was subsequently disappointed when the narrative started to jump around to other characters (though Anathema Device was almost as interesting). By the latter part of the book, four separate groups are racing (literally!) towards the climax. As for the climax itself, well, you can't really call it a deus ex machina. Quite the opposite.
on May 12, 1998
I finished the book a couple of months ago... and had since wanted to know what other readers thought of it because for me it felt like the above title for my review. I finally found the time to come and check... and i found all these gushing reviews with 10 marks all over the place.
Now don't get me wrong. I am a great fan of both authors (I buy the Sandman and have most of the Discworld novels).
Yes the book is hilarious. Absolutely side splitting. In fact 90 percent of the book warrants that full 10 marks. However I was totally devastated with the ending of the book. In one word : lame. The build up was absolutely stupendous... making me wish as i was approaching the end that it would not end. But when i got there... what a fall. It was like witnessing a bird in full graceful flight suddenly drop down to the ground dead. With a thud. What a let down. What a disappointing end. I can't help but wonder if they had let the plot unravel as they wrote ( tell me it ain't so, Terry ) but when they came to the ending they found it totally impossible to tie up all the brilliant work they have done before. They could have gone on and on for two more books wihout losing it... they were having fun doing it. But i am afraid they failed miserably to come up with an ending brilliant enough to match the approach.
The lame ending drags down the whole book. It promised so so much. Visions of fiery showdowns of hellfire and brimstone... by God it's Heaven against Hell..... danced in my mind as the book raced towards its conclusion. I absolutely refuse to believe it can be resolved in a more wimpish manner. The forces of Evil blinked out with various contraptions someones kid brother wouldn't want to be associated with in fear of looking silly. Just standing there watching as one by one they are *destroyed*. The Final Apocalyptic Battle done with on a couple of pages. When the book ended my jaws were hanging and in my head was reverberating the words "what... is that it?!??" What a sorry ending to a! totally brilliant book.
Sigh... there's always the next time.
on September 29, 2001
The book was a very good read...excellent subway material. I really hate to make the comparison between the book and Douglas Adams, as, aside from both being tongue-in-cheek, it's really like comparing apples and oranges...somewhat similiar, but completely different texture and taste. Mixing it together with Gaimen provides a book with the cheeky comments commonly experienced in Pratchett books with the odd characters common to Gaimen's tales...but - I must say - Pratchett retains the largest portion of flavor in the mix, in my opinion.
The main thesis of the book seems to be that through it all, it's the journey and the challenge that means something - the rest is just a label...and doesn't mean anything. It provides a nice context and reflections on western religon - providing an eastern take within the western framework...something more and more common. But it provides something different, and worth a read.
on June 19, 2002
Quite possibly the funniest account of the Apocalypse ever written. If you can buy into the idea that the Spawn of Satan gets mixed up in a baby-switching caper, that the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse are not only alive and well, but among other capers marketing their own diet foods, and that the outcome of the eternal struggle between Good and Evil boils down to an angel and a devil who have more in common than they have different (including an appreciation of the good restaurants in London's West End) - then this book's for you.
I have owned three copies of "Good Omens" up until now, and I have always passed them on, with the stipulation that the recipient do the same when they finished it. It's that sort of book- if it resonates with you, you'll want everyone you know to read it. If it doesn't, give it to somebody else just to get rid of it. Either way, you'll be doing somebody a favor.