Though I haven’t read much of either, I’ve been a fan of Pratchett since I read the first Discworld book, and Gaiman has come into my searchlight the last few years since the release of the show based on his American Gods book. When I saw that the show based on this book was developed – and thus realizing that they had written something together – I knew I had to read it.
I like to not know too much about books that I’ve decided to read, so I basically went in blind. I knew it had to do with the end of the world, and that there was an angel and demon teaming up for some reason, but other than that I knew nothing. And that’s often best – sometimes the hype and excitement around an older book ruins it for me.
Good Omens is first, and foremost, fun. In short, it’s about an angel and a demon, teaming up to stop the end of the world, because they like hanging around on Earth. To do this, they attempt to track down the son of Satan after he was swapped for another child when he was born 11 years ago. There’s also a couple of witch hunters (one of which is mad), a girl who reads prophecies, oh, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Everything about this book has that typical feel of British fantasy-comedy you might recognize from works like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’ll say it again – it’s fun – and its strengths lie in the quirky characters and the interactions between them. The main plot kind of takes a backseat to everything else – sure, we know it’s there and that the end of the world is coming – but I found myself not really getting caught up with that.
What was fun was to read about Aziraphale and Crowley, about the Anti-Christ and his friends, and about the insane witch hunter. It’s light, it’s humorous, and it’s excellent entertainment. I didn’t care so much about where they were going – more about what they were doing to get there. And it was a hilarious road to travel with them.
When they finally get to the end, I wasn’t too impressed, honestly. The ending isn’t really an ending, it’s more of a full stop. Sure, it makes you think and it has some of the best dialogue in the book and I’m not saying it’s not all worth it – it just a bit… meh. After all, you’re expecting the end of the world – the end of all ends. That’s my only issue with this kind of book – you’re led to believe that there’s a mystery, that there’s some big final conflict to look forward too, only to realize it’s not about that at all. Not that’s a bad thing – like I said – it definitely makes you think.
If you’re looking for a book that’s genuinely fun – written by two of our time’s greatest authors – look no further. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I think I might just have to now. And I definitely need to find time to pick up more books by both authors.