Monday, May 11, 2020

Review of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (1990, Corgi)

Since the Garden of Eden, Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon, have been living amongst Earth’s mortals, along with the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They have an uneasy alliance doing Heaven and Hell’s work as they wait for the coming battle between good and evil. Now the anti-Christ is coming and by his eleventh year Judgement Day will arrive and the apocalypse will sweep the Earth. Only there’s a mix-up at the birth and the Young’s have been given the wrong baby. Moreover, Aziraphale and Crowley have grown quite fond of the way thing are. Adam Young grows up in an idyllic village with its own microclimate in a loving family with close friends. During his eleventh summer he finds that his imaginative musings are starting to come true; powers that would do enormous harm in the hands of an evil mind. Aziraphale and Crowley call on the witchfinder army to locate their missing anti-Christ before the legions of heaven and hell do battle; but there’s only two of them and they’re not up to much. And a witch is also searching, guided by The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter.

It’s nearly 30 years since I first read Good Omens. It’s as much fun as I remember it. Pratchett and Gaiman spin an amusing tale that plots the potential end of the world, centred on an angel and demon who have messed up big time, a gang of four kids who are always up to mischief led by a boy with mysterious powers, a pair of witchfinders and a witch who are descendants of duel that has lasted over four hundred years, and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The story is very nicely spun, with plenty of action, and engaging dialogue, but what gives it an extra lift is its musings on religion and its role in society. The result is a playful, thoughtful page turner. A wonderful read. 

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