Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Summary: The apocalypse is coming, but Aziraphale, an angel of Heaven, and Crowley, a demon of Hell, aren't quite ready for it. They like earth. They attempt to "neutralize" the child anti-Christ with an equal dose of heavenly and hellish influence, but they later find out that due to a baby mix-up, the anti-Christ has been raised normally, with no extraordinary influence at all. An assortment of odd characters, including the Four Horsemen (ahem, Bikers) of the Apocalypse, a prophesying witch, and some witch hunters come together to try to destroy or save the world.

Musings: This book most immediately reminded me of the movie Dogma although the movie came out after the novel was published. The concept of a satiric look on Armageddon in both cases caught my attention, and both works succeeded in delivering a funny and random story that explores some basic assumptions about religion.

The beginning of the book was a little slow for me, and the irreverence was less funny than I had hoped. As the book continued, though, the story picked up steam. I especially enjoyed the comradeship between Aziraphale and Crowley. One of the primary themes of the book is that "good" and "evil" are not so nearly different as they appear, and this message is certainly apparent in the angel and demon's relationship.

The quirky, random moments are the book's funniest, which include Famine's plot to destroy the world through creating fast food that makes a person fat while dying of malnutrition and the Hellhound's reduction to a yapping small dog.

The book has a fast pace and covers a number of different characters, but all the pieces are brought together in a satisfying end.

If nothing else, the book is a great read for lines like this: "He could recall how he and his wife used to go there to spoon, and on one memorable occasion, to fork."

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