★★★☆☆, Book Reviews

Book Review: Good Omens

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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
★★★☆☆

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According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes NutterWitch (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 . . . (Goodreads)

Let me start by saying I really wanted to love this book. I really, really did. I’ve heard so many people talk about how great it is, and I adore both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, but the thing is I seem to adore them a bit less together. I’ve never read a book that was co-written by more than one author before, and it really threw me off, especially since Pratchett and Gaiman have very different writing styles. It made it really easy to pick up on who wrote which part, which brought me pretty far out of the story at times.

The story itself… could have been better. It’s a curious concept, and I enjoyed some parts of it, but I feel like there was just too much going on, to the point where it was hard to keep track of what exactly was going on and who was doing what with who and why. There were a lot of bits that seemed almost pointlessly random – aliens that pop up for a page or so and then disappear for the rest of the novel, to give one example. I get that there’s supposed to be crazy things happening because it’s the end of the world, but the alien bit (there are other examples, but this is the one that stuck out most to me/irritated me the most) just seemed to come out of nowhere, and it really changed the whole feel of the book for me.

The characters were interesting and diverse, but again, there were so many to keep up with. Minor characters were introduced and then forgotten about so many times, and with all the separate story lines to keep up with already, this just made it more of a frustrating read than anything. There’s Adam and the Them, Aziraphale and Crowley, Anathema Device and Newt Pulsifer, Madame Tracy and Shadwell, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse, a number of demons/Dukes of Hell, the Satanic nuns, Warlock, Dog, etc., etc., etc. And nearly all of them get their own section(s) focusing on their P.O.V. It’s like watching an entire television series’ worth of plot and character drama in a few hours. It’s exhausting. I feel like it would have been better if each character (or group of characters) would have gotten their own chapter, but with the way the book is set up (separated by days rather than individual chapters), it’s just so much to handle, and it tends to be overwhelming at times.

All in all, I’d say it’s a decent read, especially if you’re a lover of Terry Pratchett and/or Neil Gaiman, but it’s definitely not their best. Maybe it would have been different if they had more similar writing styles, or if they had decided to make a Good Omens series rather than trying to stuff everything in one book, but as it is now, I think I’ll just stick with solo Pratchett/Gaiman works.

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