[Review] Good Omens - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Title of Book: Good Omens
Author: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Format: Hardback
Pages: 424

There is a hint of Armageddon in the air. According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (recorded, thankfully, in 1655, before she blew up her entire village and all its inhabitants, who had gathered to watch her burn), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. So the Armies of Good and Evil are massing, the four Bikers of the Apocalypse are revving up their mighty hogs and hitting the road, and the world's last two remaining witchfinders are getting ready to Fight the Good Fight. Atlantis is rising. Frogs are falling. Tempers are flaring, and everything appears to be going to Divine Plan.
Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not particularly looking forward to the coming Rapture. They've lived amongst Humanity for millennia, and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle. So if Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the AntiChrist (which is a shame, really, as he's a nice kid). There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him.
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's brilliantly dark and funny take on mankind's final judgment is back, in a new hardcover edition which includes an introduction by the authors.


Good Omens is a comedic fantasy book set in a modern world. It’s a collaboration between two big authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. It follows an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley as they form an unlikely team to stop the end of the world. The Antichrist was already born which means the apocalypse is near. Though coming from different sides, Aziraphale and Crowley have known each other for a long time and they grow fond of their life on earth. Not wanting to see it destroyed, they agreed to work together to prevent the apocalypse by raising the Antichrist away from ‘bad influences’. However, a group of nuns who are part of a satanic cult misplaced the Antichrist when they tried to swap the babies. From then on, their plan to stop the apocalypse is falling apart.

Just by reading the premise, I knew that Good Omens will be a fun read. How could they misplace the Antichrist? Though considering the name of the convent, I’m not surprised. I mean, they called themselves Satanic Order of Chattering Nuns. One particular nun got so excited she suggested ridiculous names to the supposedly parents of the Antichrist. Honestly, I was afraid that I won’t get the jokes because I assumed that they will be strictly British (which they actually are). I’ve tried British comedies before and I didn’t get them. However, with this book, the jokes are kind of hit-and-miss to me. Sometimes they’re corny and unfunny but it still manages to make me chuckle here and there. 

“For every mad scientist who’s had a convenient thunderstorm just on the night his Great Work is finished and lying on the slab, there have been dozens who’ve sat around aimlessly under the peaceful stars while Igor clocks up the overtime.”

Although it seems like this book mainly follows Aziraphale, Crowley, and the Antichrist, there are actually many side characters with their own side stories. It all may seem too much and confusing. In the end, we’ll see how they connect to each other. So be patient.

First we have the witch hunters and the witch herself, then we have the four horsemen of apocalypse. The four horsemen is another set of characters that I found funny and interesting. Instead of the majestic beings with horses they were originally written in religious texts, they are depicted as four beings who bring about the apocalypse by riding motorcycles. This version of the four horsemen of apocalypse consists of War, Famine, Pollution (Pestilence is retired after penicillin is invented), and death. 

One thing that bothers me sometimes, is how they wrote the conversations. They used phonetic spelling in the dialogue. Since this book is set in the UK, so the characters speak with (what I assume) thick British accent, especially the one named Shadwell. It is quite difficult to understand if you’re not familiar with it. For example, ‘ye’ll pay yer ane petrol. ye say?’ which translates to ‘You’ll pay your own patrol, you say?’. That sentence would be the easiest example. There are some that went over my head and I just let it go without trying to comprehend more.

The keyword that keeps appearing in this book is ineffable. Aziraphale often mentions this word to explain why things the way they are. Referring to the dictionary.com, ineffable means incapable of being expressed or described in words. I think Aziraphale uses the word to define God’s plan. Nobody knows what it is or why except God. It’s indescribable, cannot be explained even by supernatural being like Aziraphale.

This book has been adapted into a miniseries which consists of six episodes. Aziraphale is portrayed by Michael Sheen while Crowley is portrayed by David Tennant. I haven’t watched the series yet. But after reading this book, I’m interested to see how this book translates into another media, especially the four horsemen. I think it would be entertaining. Overall, Good Omens is an enjoyable read. Even if you don’t normally enjoy British humor, try reading this book because you might end up liking it.

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