Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Review by Paul Haggerty
William Morrow Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0060853964
Date: 28 February, 2006 List Price $29.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK /
Good Omens was first published in 1990 and is now back in hardcover. Written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the story is equal parts quirky humor and dark twisted psychology. First we have the end of the world due (next Saturday to be exact), sparked by the birth of the anti-christ; a nice young lad named Adam. Now the hosts of heaven and hell are gathering for the final showdown, and an angel and a demon (who rather like the status quo) are the only beings in the world who stand a chance of throwing a spanner into the spiritual cogwheels.
The demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale have been living on earth for quite some time, each in their own way trying to do just a little Evil or Good to those around them. In fact they've been doing it for so long they've developed and Arrangement to smooth out the difficulties. Being enemies for thousands of years is practically the same thing as being friends when you're in close contact the whole time. So if Crowley wants to do a little mischief over in Manchester, then Aziraphale wasn't going to try and stop him. And if Aziraphale wants to do some good deed in Edinburgh, well that was okay too. After all, it all came out the same in the end, statistically speaking.
Now the anti-christ has arrived, and Crowley is commanded to make sure he's properly trained to do his job. Aziraphale is, of course, tasked to stop him. The only problem is that before they know what's happening, they've both lost track of him...not something they want to admit to the powers-that-be.
But Adam doesn't even know he's a player in this game. He has his friends. He has a dog (actually a hell-hound courtesy of hell) named Dog. And he has what any kid thinks is a good understanding of life. And all the forces of Heaven and Hell combined can't convince him to do anything he doesn't want to do. In other words, he's a typical teenager.
While the story is good and the characters enjoyable, its Pratchetts sense of humor that really carries the book off. From the first chapter where the angel and demon discuss recent events in the garden of evil, to the drunken discussions of free will and God's real goal, there's hardly a page in the book where you don't grin at some odd way of looking at something. It's a hard book to read around others, your giggling tends to get on their nerves after a while.