Review: ‘Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I’m pretty much a complete novice to the fantasy genre, and had never read anything by either of these authors before – this is definitely something that will change in the future.

Although it took a while to get into, ‘Good Omens’ was wickedly funny. It made me laugh out loud, think philosophically about the state of the world, retribution and blame, and – most importantly – have a fiendishly good time reading it. As I said, it took a while for me to settle into this, and I was doubtful I would because the characters and situations are introduced so quickly and in such a complex riddle of words that it’s all a bit much to digest: in this respect, it is worth starting this when you have the time to devote to engaging with the first chapter/day, in order to get your head around the muddle of characters and situations.

However, once past this barrier this book is difficult to let go of: each story seamlessly weaves into another, until events come to a thrilling climax, with each plot detail linking intricately back to earlier moments to bring the novel full circle. What was difficult to deal with were the couple of tangents that events went off at in places – the introduction of aliens and rogue Tibetans partway through seemed a bit false, which is quite something in a fantasy novel! The focus was diverted unnecessarily, which slackened the pace and left the reader running to catch up with the focal events.

It is Aziraphale and Crowley I want to focus on though: proof that the boundaries between good and evil are practically non-existent, and each intersects the existence of the other, for better and for worse. I loved how these seemingly contrasting figures – a wonderfully eloquent angel and a stereotypically demonic lord of hell – were clearly bonded beyond the text on the page. Their relationship was inherent in their actions and their coexistence, illustrating that fighting is pointless when the aim is unfounded. Besides this rather philosophical view, they were so much fun to invest in – never have I laughed out loud at a book as much as I did with ‘Good Omens’! In this way, they pretty much represent Gaiman and Pratchett – two similar men, collaborating for the benefit of mankind (which might be stretching it – for the good of their readers at least!).

As such, this is a definite must-read for anyone wanting to dip their toe into fantasy, as well as die-hard fans of the authors. A book that, quite literally, won’t spoil the ending for us…

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