Friday, August 16, 2013

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

The beginning of the end is upon us and two ancient beings are at the center of it. Enemies by nature, friends by choice, the fate of the world lies in their hands. One, a demon, whose job is to make sure the world literally goes to hell. The other an angel whose job is to ensure that good prevails. With an intricate plan set in place, the Antichrist is unleashed upon the world. As we all know, even the best laid plans can go awry, and in this case, they most definitely do. The question is what: will the outcome be? You see, the Antichrist has been misplaced for years and without any prominent outside forces to influence him, the two will have a devil of a time predicting what will happen as they desperately try to find the boy who is at the center of everything. With the Antichrist coming into his powers, things are about to change.


This book was written before Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett became well known for their writing. The two spent a summer together creating this story, and it's an excellent example of the brilliant intelligence and humor these two possess. As I was reading, I could just imagine these two sitting back, drinking a couple of beers and discussing what they'd do all the while laughing themselves silly as they tried to see who could make the other one laugh more. The book is laced throughout with enough inside jokes and creative puns that you could reread this book several times and still find something new you hadn't noticed the previous times you read it. I don't think I've ever read another book like this. It's truly one of a kind.

From the very first page the authors set the tone for the book. We are introduced to an angel and a demon. We find out Crawly is the demon who took the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge. We learn he doesn't like his name because he feels, "Crawly was not him." The authors don't tell us he's changed his name, but in the next chapter they start referring to a demon named Crowley who is described as having serpentine qualities..."he was wearing snakeskin shoes, or at least presumably he was wearing shoes, and he could do really weird things with his tongue. And, whenever he forgot himself, he had a tendency to hiss." Immediately we see the humor in a barely visible name change.

Aziraphale is naturally the opposite of Crowley. He's an angel who owns a bookshop, but discourages customers from buying from his private stock.The funny thing about Crowley and Aziraphale is that they seem quite comfortable with their lives and have open dialogues throughout the book discussing good and evil and their day to day jobs. It seems the two have combined forces to make their jobs and, thereby, lives easier.

As I mentioned before, there is a subtle humor woven into the fabric of this book. Some examples would be the nunnery that is actually satanically backed that runs team building seminars. Hey, didn't you always know those things were evil by design? *smirk* Then there's the character named Newt which I thought was such an odd name for a character until it was later revealed that he falls for a witch and I just cracked up realizing she'd caught the eye of Newt. Get it? lol How appropriate. Additionally, Gaiman and Pratchett added footnotes, but these are not your average footnotes. Oh, no, not with these two. These are notes to the readers which make those of us reading them feel like the authors are sharing inside jokes with us. Like they're confiding in us. So don't skip them. They're hilarious.

Overall, I gave this 5 out of 5 roses. A very fun read that had me laughing and grinning. I read this book with my Goodreads bookclub and I think that made it even more fun because we were trying to find the jokes within it together. One of the members, Katie, mentioned that The Top of the Sixes was at one time a real restaurant. It went out of business back in 1996, but I managed to find some pictures from it on the internet. They're not my own. Yelp had the full building picture and someone was selling a copy of the post card (last picture) and another individual was selling the menu. I snagged the following photos from the listings. I'm not sure, however, where the first picture is from. I tried searching for it again, but couldn't figure out where I'd first come across it. :(

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