Saturday, June 6, 2009

"Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

The Antichrist is born. The Apocalypse is nigh. Angels and demons furiously ready their plans to vanquish their foes. The only problem is...the Antichrist has been "misplaced." "Good Omens" is an admirable collaborative effort by two well known authors. It's filled with two characters that stand out from the rest, and a plethora of supporting characters. Crowley is a demon. Aziraphale is an angel. Their relationship with each other is quite unorthodox compared to what you'd normally expect. They tolerate each other for one. They've reached an arrangement where they've agreed to not interfere with each other's jobs. Crowley, being a demon, attempts to bring out the bad qualities in humans. He does this mainly by tying by the Central London phone lines and...bringing about Armageddeon. Aziraphale, of course, does the opposite. Here's where it gets interesting. Crowley and Aziraphale are both discovering that they don't want to end this world. They like it. The problem is, Crowley's in charge of setting it all in motion.

The writing is sharp and well done. There are many moments of clever humour and amusing side characters. At times, it seems like the authors are suffering from ADD as they jumped from a climactic moment in one character to a random character study of another. In the end, it makes sense as those characters play a more important role. It's an interesting ride that doesn't disappoint. There are a few passages that drag on a bit. Also, I didn't find the second half nearly as entertaining as the first. I'll be leniant because, while I knew how it had to end, I wasn't sure how the book would be able to reach that point. Another aspect that I particularly enjoyed was choosing which character I liked the most. Crowley or Aziraphale? The demon or the angel? It reminds me of an open-world videogame where you can choose whether to do good or evil. Of course, whichever character you favor, it (obviously) doesn't affect the ending of the book. Although, that would be interesting now wouldn't it? It added another level of enjoyment that I experienced with "Good Omens." I award it 4 stars. ****

Review by Alisa Heskin

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