Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is quite an interesting twist on the genre of devil and demon literature. Collaboratively written by two of the biggest names in fantasy, Good Omens is a humorous tale of the apocalypse starring an angel, a demon, a witch, a witchhunter, and the Antichrist. It’s been on my to-read list for quite a while, as I’ve long been a huge fan of Gaiman and have been meaning to read something by Pratchett. Once again, finding the audiobook in my library helped me to knock this one off my list.
The story starts when a couple of Satanic witches misplace the Antichrist. Unaware of the mix-up at the hospital, the angel Aziraphale and his sworn-enemy-turned-good-
Adam Young grows up with a normal human childhood, free of divine or infernal influences and unaware of the hellish powers growing inside him. He spends his days with his hellhound puppy and three neighborhood friends thinking of new games to imagine and trouble to get it. Meanwhile, a young witch has moved into the neighborhood. Anathema Device is the descendant of the prophetess Agnes Nutter, whose book of prophecies referenced in the subtitle has accurately predicted events for the past three hundred years, including the impending Reckoning. Elsewhere in England, a young man named Newton Pulcifer takes a job under Witchfinder Sergeant Shadwell, and seems to be the only one noticing the troubling trend of apocalyptic phenomenon. Around the world, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (who have adapted to the modern era in amusing ways) are presented with their weapons and summoned. As the book progresses, all of these characters descend on the small English village of Lower Tadfield, some desperate to stop the apocalypse and others hell-bent on starting it.
I enjoyed this book even more than I expected to. I’m not usually into absurd and surrealist humor, but much of the humor of this book–though bizarre–was grounded in clear satire of the real world (although I’ll admit that much of the British stuff went over my head). The profusion of demonic characters in the story meant that much of the humor was rather dark, adding a sharpness to the whimsy of the story. And the memorable banter between Aziraphale and Crowley has made these two characters iconic. I definitely recommend giving this one a read if you haven’t already. If you have read it, let me know your thoughts in the comments!