Review: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry PratchettGood Omens by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett
Published by Random House on November 22, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

'Ridiculously inventive and gloriously funny' Guardian

What if, for once, the predictions are right, and the Apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

It's a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon, now find themselves in. They've been living amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there's the small matter that someone appears to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

What readers are saying about Good Omens:

***** 'A superb recipe for disaster. I didn't stop grinning from beginning to end.'
***** 'Both Gaiman and Pratchett are great authors and they complement each other brilliantly.'
***** 'Superbly enjoyable read. Seamlessly co-written.'

Thanks to my annual Read Your Own Damn Books Challenge, I’ve read quite a bit from Neil Gaiman’s back catalogue over the past couple years. Although it pains me to admit it, I’d never read anything from beloved fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett…until now.

With Good Omens, Gaiman and Pratchett have crafted a fantastical version of our world that heavily draws on Christian writings and history. This is the Antichrist as you’ve never seen him: the leader of a biker gang. Well, a group of four eleven year-olds with bikes, anyway. Thanks to the incompetent scheming of Heaven and Hell, this bossy but mostly good-hearted boy has no clue what power he has. Toss in some Satanic nuns, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and an angel and a demon odd-couple, and you have a hilarious look at the end of the world.

Pratchett and Gaiman are a dynamite duo, delivering snappy dialogue, strong characterization, and witticisms galore. What impressed me the most about this story was how well they balanced the complete absurdity of the story with an insightful examination of contemporary society, religion, and the age-old question of nature vs. nurture. Good Omens is widely considered a classic of the urban fantasy genre – and I can see why. Clever and thoughtful, absurd and at times chillingly realistic, this is brain candy with substance.

Reader beware: you'll find a sprinkling of the "that didn't age well" trifecta of ignorance about race, sexuality, and women.

 Most urban fantasy published even a decade ago feels hopelessly dated, but despite its 30 year history, Good Omens holds up. Admittedly, you will find the usual ignorant comments on race, sexuality and women that typically fall into the “that didn’t age well” category. I would’ve appreciated a few more women in the cast of characters, but I noticed there are five times more than I’ve come to expect from Neil Gaiman. I think I can safely attribute that to Pratchett’s influence. Which begs the question…where should I start my journey into the world of Terry Pratchett? The DiscWorld universe is immense. If you have advice, do share it!

I listened to this book on audio, and frankly I think it’s a big part of why I enjoyed it so much. Martin Jarvis delivers a great performance with pitch-perfect delivery of the wry jokes littered throughout. The production value of the audiobook is really high and there are even some small musical interludes that have been included at key moments. 

Recommended (especially the audiobook).