About Books #5: Good Omens
I’m finally doing another book review! And let me tell you – Good Omens isn’t just any book.
I first read this one over a year ago, in spring 2015. I’ve wanted to own my own edition ever since (the one I read was my sister’s) so when I came across this in the Brussels Sterling Books shop, I just knew I had to get it!
Of course, I’ve since reread it – because I don’t have anything better to do, obviously. Anyways, I then realised that a) I hadn’t written a review in a good while and b) I somehow hadn’t written a review for this book yet.
And now here we are!
Armageddon only happens once, you know. They don’t let you go around until you get it right.
The Goodreads summary reads as follows:
“According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter,Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.
So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .”
Now, I wish I could somehow summarise the story better than that, but quite frankly – this book consists of just so many elements that it seems somewhat impossible. Basically – I’d just advise you to read the book yourself because, quite frankly… It’s impossible to really bring across the story and do it justice!
(obviously, I bought more than just this one – consider it a present to myself for the start of school 🙂 )
One thing you should know: this book kind of takes bits and pieces of the Bible and runs a mockery with them. So if you feel like you might easily be offended by that, or would not appreciate it – this might not be the book for you…
So how to describe the characters?
First things first, there’s the two ‘actual main characters’.
The angel Aziraphale has a passion for rare books and will on occasion let that passion get in the way of his ‘job’ – being an angel.
The devil Crowley was at one point the Snake at Eden and apparently “did not so much Fall as Saunter Vaguely Downwards.”
The craziest bit? These two get along quite well – and they’re both very happy with the way the earth is currently running itself.
Aziraphale. The Enemy, of course. But an enemy for six thousand years now, which made him a sort of friend.
It allows for quite a bit of time enjoying their hobbies, and not too much spent worrying about what God and Satan want.
Eleven years ago, they managed to somewhat misplace the Antichrist – and now that the end of the world is near, they’re sent out by their respective ‘bosses’ to rectify that situation. Along the way, coming across the great-great-great-…-great-grand daughter of Agnes Nutter, Witch, who wrote the world’s “only totally reliable guide to the future”: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.
I promise you – the story gets more crazy than that.
Now, these two ‘actual main characters’ are very, very sarcastic. They also truly don’t want the four Horsemen of the Apocalyps to do their job, and spend quite some time just bantering back and forward.
Add in a hell hound that isn’t entirely sure whether it wants to be an ordinary dog or not (yes really), a witch hunter that falls in love with a witch, and the Antichrist and his friends (described as ‘Them’ and really just a bunch of annoying, but well-meaning brats) and you have just about the entirety of this book.
Also: the Antichrist brought us this gem:
I don’t see what’s so triffic about creating people as people and then gettin’ upset cos’ they act like people”, said Adam severely. “Anyway, if you stopped tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.
It might have caught your attention by now, but this book revels in sarcasm, cynism, irony and just general “let me take the mickey out of this”.
In doing so, however, the authors showcast some amazing writing. The tempo is high, the authors change pens seamlessly and as some of the quotes I’ve mentioned already can show: it’s funny.
In case you needed more proof, though, have some more.
DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH
About the famous angel and book sellers:
Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours – he was incredibly good at it.
About people in general:
Potentially evil. Potentially good, too, I suppose. Just this huge powerful potentiality waiting to be shaped.
By now it should probably be obvious that I quite enjoyed this book. After rereading it just recently, however, I came to appreciate its humor even more. I’ve always loved any book that uses historical, or biblical facts and then sort of goes all counterfactual on it.
Through the humour, though, there’s some serious questions being asked. From the purpose of putting all your money on the after-life, to some serious philosophical questions about life, death, and everything in between.
Obviously – I loved it, and I’d definitely recommend it to anybody!
PS: What better way to end this review, than with this quote from the end of the book:
Something told him that something was coming to an end. Not the world exactly. Just the summer. There would be other summers, but there would never be one like this. Ever Again.
Better make the most of it, then.