So last week, in my review of The Night Circus (you can check that out here, if you missed it) I said that this week’s book review would be something a bit different, and surprise! It’s my review of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.

Good Omens - The Nice and Accurate Book Reviewby Odd Socks and Lollipops - Front Cover of Book on Bookshelf

As a long time fan of Discworld I had no doubt that I would love Good Omens, in fact I am wondering why I hadn’t read it before now. It was my third read of 2018, and a total change of pace from Everless and Girls Made of Snow and Glass.

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Title: Good Omens

Authors: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Blurb: According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . . 

Pages: 412

Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Humor, Urban Fantasy.

Publication Date: 28th November 2006

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I literally laughed my way through this, it was just such a fun read. I really love Pratchett’s writing style (Discworld etc) and I had no idea how much I had missed it (as it has been a while since I have visited Discworld). And as a result of reading this I have now moved a few Neil Gaiman books further up my TBR list  – Neverwhere and Norse Mythology – both books which I own but haven’t had the chance to read yet.

“Most books on witchcraft will tell you that witches work naked. This is because most books on witchcraft are written by men.” Good Omens quote

I love the conversational deadpan style of Good Omens, it also reminded me of the voice of the narrator and his little notes in Nevernight and Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, which I read last year. The Nevernight Chronicles are a lot darker than Good Omens but Kristoff uses the same deadpan humour in the notes to give the reader a lot of back story to the world and it really added to the worldbuilding. The same is the case in Good Omens, little asterisks dot the pages and we get wonderful snippets of information. So if you have read and loved Good Omens then the Nevernight Chronicles might be worth a read.

Well it seems I have gone off on a tangent of my own! But the main point is that I adore the writing style of Good Omens!

Good Omens - Title Page and First Page

The story itself is, as you might have guessed, about the apocalypse and it follows the stories of a few small groups of people in the run up to the big event. The ‘main characters’ are Aziraphale and Crowley, an angel and a demon respectively, who are trying their hardest to make sure it doesn’t happen. I love Pratchett and Gaiman’s take on how these two have not only been here from the beginning but also seem to have absorbed humanity in different ways.

“You don't have to test everything to destruction just to see if you made it right.”

The characters which stood out the most for me were, perhaps unsurprisingly Adam and the Them. The Them are his three friends – and the four of them have the most direct control over the plot it seems. Their conversations and ideas are reflected in the events which unfold. I found the discussions between Adam and the Them to be such engaging reading and I felt that Pratchett and Gaiman have really captured the essence of childhood through the way that these conversions flow as well as the dreams and opinions of these four 11 year olds.

“It's like you said the other day," said Adam. "You grow up readin' about pirates and cowboys and spacemen and stuff, and jus' when you think the world's full of amazin' things, they tell you it's really all dead whales and chopped-down forests and nucular waste hangin' about for millions of years. 'Snot worth growin' up for, if you ask my opinion.”

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are another thread of the book – and the lives of these four figures offers a rather stark commentary on modern day life. War, Famine, Pollution (Pestilence has retired apparently) and of course Death change the world in very interesting ways – War as a journalist and Famine working in the food industry where particularly poignant. There is a lot of discussion in the book, across all of the various threads, about the nature of good and evil and people. And while we are offered things to think about we are not given any answers, we are left, as we should be, to make up our own minds.

“Hell wasn't a major reservoir of evil, any more then Heaven, in Crowley's opinion, was a fountain of goodness; they were just sides in the great cosmic chess game. Where you found the real McCoy, the real grace and the real heart-stopping evil, was right inside the human mind.” Good Omen Quote

Whilst the Four Horseman act as vehicles for social commentary, the Four Other Horsemen offer this commentary as well as some wonderful comic relief, and I just couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read about them. We also follow the adventures of Newt, Anathema and Shadwell – I have a soft spot for Newt and Shadwell they were simply marvelous characters and towards the end of the book I loved how Pratchett and Gaiman weaved the stories together. Good Omens is filled with wonderful, engaging, unique and odd characters and I loved all of them!

“You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don't you?”

Characters aside, Good Omens is a wonderful book, the pacing is perfect, the humour is fab and the mix of that humour with some rather pointed social commentary makes Good Omens a fantastic book. I have already bought another copy for my mum (as I know she will love it) and Good Omens is most definitely on my to-be-re-read-list.

I am sure that upon rereading Good Omens I am going to discover lots of wonderful things which I totally missed the first time round. I think it’s one of those books which will yield something new each read no matter how many times you have read it in the past. If you fancy a hilarious and thought provoking read then I would definitely recommend Good Omens.

In fact the only negative thing I have to say is, that I am disappointed in myself that I hadn’t discovered Good Omens* sooner!

Like the sound of Good Omens? Why not pin my review for later?

Good Omens - The Nice and Accurate Book Review by Odd Socks and Lollipops - sharing my thoughts on Good Omens