Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman (Goodreads Author)
Amy Caudill‘s review
This irreverent look at good and evil, angels and demons, and the oft-predicted end of the world features the work of two masters of fantasy and mayhem in a humorous yet horrifying story that screams about human nature and the state of the world as we know it.
A demon, Crowley, and an angel, Aziraphale, have been on Earth since the time of Adam and Eve, (in fact it was Aziraphale who wielded the Flaming Sword in the Garden of Eden, and Crowley, then called Crawly, was the serpent who convinced Adam and Eve to sin.) Since the pair have few colleagues/enemies who have shared so much time and history with them, they tend to gravitate toward each other. That is, they meet for drinks, and more or less stay out of each other’s way while they carry out their assigned duties/a.k.a. intervention into human life.
Crowley is charged with delivering the infant who will become the Antichrist; though through a series of events involving bureaucracy and human blunder the child goes home with the wrong family, growing up without either divine or evil influence. Adam Young is to all appearances an ordinary human boy, unaware that both sides of the divide anticipate the events that are prophesied to culminate on his eleventh birthday.
Crowley and Aziraphale decide that they like Earth as it is, and are not in a hurry to return to Hell/Heaven, where things are too boring, predictable, and unvaried without human creativity and influence. They attempt to find the child Antichrist before he destroys the world, but are hampered along the way by Witchhunters, traffic jams, and a host of roadblocks.
In the end, though, the Angel/Demon duo is helpless to do anything but watch as Adam Young comes into his own, and decides the fate of humanity. Or is it really just a part of some Ineffable plan that neither demons nor angels have been informed about? And does a sixteenth century convicted witch named Agnes Nutter really have all the answers?
I was familiar with the book long before I actually read it, thanks to the popular series it has spawned (but I have yet to watch,) so I was able to imagine the television actors in the role of the two main characters. For me, this made the book even more enjoyable. The satire is so relevant and so in keeping with human nature, which in Pratchett and Gaiman’s world would naturally infect both angels and demons.
I award this book four stars, it would be five but for someone who is not British, some of the slang and local references are really obscure to the point that parts of the book required re-reading and numerous references to the included footnotes to get the jokes. Still, it is a good read, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a satirical fantasy that doesn’t take itself at all seriously.