Friday, October 14, 2011

Book Review - Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Published by: HarperTorch
Publication Date: 1990
Format: Paperback, 412 Pages
Challenge: Horror and Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★
To Buy
Crawly and Aziraphale have quite literally been there since the beginning. Man, woman, garden, snake. Crawly was the snake. But nowadays he has the car and the suave clothes that befit his side while Aziraphale collects books. What else is there to do when you're waiting for the world to end? The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch predicted it all back in 1655. And that's not the nice that indicates the end of the world next Saturday is a good thing, it's the other, more "precise" kind. It's going to happen. Everything has been put in place, the "horsemen" are assembling, the time has come for the uprising of evil. If only there hadn't been that little mix up with the son of Satan a few years back... because if things had gone to plan it would have been nice and smooth, instead Crawly and Aziraphale aren't sure whose side they're on because they rather like the world as it is, even if any tape left overly long in a car will start blaring Freddie Mercury and Queen. Can you go up against a witch who always knew what was going to happen? Or can you thwart the omens?

While you can see how this book has developed the cult following it has, it still just wasn't it for me. I felt hollow after reading it, most likely due to my inflated expectations. I've read Gaiman and Pratchett at the top of their game, and I just didn't feel this was it... of course, this was before they where GAIMAN and PRATCHETT. Their styles where not yet formed, but I will say they worked well together. They claim that they can't tell who wrote what and they think that perhaps the book started writing itself at some point. I agree with this, not with the book writing it's own text, but who knows, but the bite about who wrote what. The book had a cohesion that made it feel that it was written by one person. The ideas where melded together into one perfect vision and did not feel like two competing minds, which is often the case when two writers collaborate.

More than any gripes I have with plot or character, which I don't really have except that I really thought that Satan's son shouldn't have been such a boring twit, my problem was that it felt so dated, so 1980s. Ansaphones? Really? Ok, I mean, sure they have been referenced on Dr Who recently, as well as being part of the common vernacular of England, but it still made it feel past it's day. Which brings me back to these authors at their current prime. They don't feel dated! Pick up any Discworld book, it feels fresh and now. Grab American Gods before it becomes mainstream with the HBO series. These are classics. Maybe in a few more years the dated will become nostalgia and I'll like. Every book changes every time you read it. I can see why people have wanted an adaptation or a sequel for years, because there is so much you could do now to update this and make it relevant. So many avenues you could explore. As for the original... not my favorite. But as for the Queen joke, it was worth buying the book. That was priceless.


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