I think one of the hardest genres in fiction is the comedy. Easy to mess up, hard to get right. So when you find a book that makes you laugh out loud consistently, embrace it like a long lost dog. Good Omens is one of those books.
The apocalypse is coming. It has been foretold by God and, coincidentally, by self proclaimed witch Agnes Nutter. The demons of hell and the angels of heaven are amassing for the final showdown. There’s only one problem, a demon named Crowley has lost the anti-christ.
Well, he didn’t lose the anti-christ. Just misplaced him. And now his plan to use the angel Aziraphale to thwart the apocalypse has just come crashing down.
Like all great literary comedies, Good Omens is exceedingly British. But it’s written in such a style that even if us dumb Americans don’t completely get the joke, we can see why it’s funny. The book is a constant litany of subverting expectations. And that’s just the prose. The dialogue and interactions between characters (ESPECIALLY Crowley and Aziraphale) are gut-bustingly funny. If you loved Hitchhikers this is the novel for you.
That said, there are some things I didn’t love. One, there should be moreeeeee please. (Which there won’t because Terry Pratchett has passed away.) But there seems to be a lot of angles that could have used a little more exploration in further novels. Two, some characters are not so funny or enjoyable to spend time with i.e. the Them. The group of whippersnappers that are friends with the anti-christ. We spend a lot of time with Them instead of with Crowley and Aziraphale.
I went back and forth on this rating a lot. But in the end I went with four stars because I think everyone should read this book. It’s just too fun not to have it in your life. And there’s a mini-series based on it coming out with David Tennant.
4 out of 4 stars.