1 sentence summary: The end of the world is coming, an angel and a demon band together to stop it and hopefully the antichrist won’t be so evil.
1 sentence opinion: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is quirkily weird but also a really enjoyable and amusing read.
So, the end of the world is nigh (dun dun dun). It was predicted by a bunch of people, the most significant being this witch named Agnes Nutter who wrote The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch. Mostly, it seems like all of the angels and demons are conspiring to fill their part in this grand prophecy, with the exception of two. Those two are Aziraphale (angel) and Crowley (demon).
The book mostly starts with these nuns swapping two similar looking babies so that they can get a hold of the antichrist and hope he’d be raised properly, if only the right things happened. Crowley isn’t wild about this; he likes living in the world, so he begins to conspire to not have the apocalypse happen and joins forces with Aziraphale. Of course, both of them end up getting into a little trouble for not helping their respective demon / angel parties.
There are other characters, like Anathema who, as far as I can tell, is a witch-typed person who spends her days trying to figure out what Agnes Nutter’s prophecies mean before they happen. There is also Newt, a witch hunter. They, and a few others, end up all coming together, including the 11-year-old antichrist whose name is Adam Young.
Good Omens is interesting partially just because it is so weird. The topic itself (apocalypse, war, end of the world, angels and demons) could have been really dark and serious pretty much right away. I sort of felt the book might have had a slight twisted angel but it was mostly just quirky/weird in a silly but sarcastic kind of way. If anything, I thought the whole “let’s stop the apocalypse” approach that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett took was really very amusing.
Honestly, Good Omens was a little bit confusing at first because there are a number of POV characters and it switches between all of them quite a bit while it is building up the story. My suggestion would be to pay good attention to the character legend at the beginning of the book.
I also got the impression that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett were probably having a goo time writing this book. For one, the forward sort of said as much; they wrote it over a summer, they didn’t think it’d be a big deal, etc. (only then it was a big deal and I think people love the book). So in any case, I think they were just having a grand ol’ time writing this book together that sort of had these quirky characters, I got that feeling from their writing in any case.
I was also kind of interested in how a big point in the book was how people could make their own choices. It basically starts with Aziraphale, the angel, feeling like he had to do everything that was ineffable and Crowley, the demon, feeling like he ha to do everything that was evil because “that’s just how it was”. By coming together, it was like they began realizing it wasn’t that simple; they weren’t just aligned with something because *reasons*, they could actually make their own choices and think for themselves on matters of right and wrong vs. just blindly following along with what they thought others expected (or were told by others). The same goes for the antichrist, Adam. I think that if the book hadn’t have been written in it’s own quirky way then the message wouldn’t have come across so well.
Any how, if you haven’t read this book, you really should.
Title: Good Omens
Authors: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Date of publication: May 1, 1990
Publisher: Gollancz (UK), Workman (US)
Page count: 288