Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Summery: "There is a distinct hint of Armageddon in the air. According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witch-finders are getting ready to fight the good fight, armed with awkwardly antiquated instructions and stick pins. Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. . . . Right. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon -- each of whom has lived among Earth's mortals for many millennia and has grown rather fond of the lifestyle -- are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist (which is a shame, as he's a really nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him. . ." -From Gaiman's website.

I feel bad writing a less then stellar review for this book. It seems like not loving this book will cost me my seat at the "cool kids table". This is the first satire I've read. And while it was funny I found myself so fixated on every line of the book, trying to tie together in my mind why every detail was included, that it took me three times as long to read as it should have. I was told I should "skim it", but I'm a terrible "skimmer". I read for detail and continued story, this book is full of digressions with a slow moving story weaved in. It feels almost like Gaiman and Pratchett got a little too clever for their own good. They took the wit and hilarity a couple steps too far, making the book way longer then it needed to be.

That being said, the book IS very clever. Gaiman and Pratchett obviously did their research and their take on the Apocalypse is original and funny. I particularly liked the interaction between Aziraphale and Crowley. And the hilarious take on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. I really think this book would make a fantastic movie, that way some of the excess incidental stuff could be toned down and the basic story and humor could be seen.

Bottom line: If your looking for an action packed apocalypse, look somewhere else. If you're looking for a meandering, humorous story that takes it's time getting to the finish line, this is the book for you.