The apocalypse is coming. And not just any Hollywood apocalypse, the actual end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, where the armies of Good and Evil fight the final battle for control of the universe. Of all the apocalypse prophets, only Agnes Nutter has ever accurately predicted anything, and if her Nice and Accurate prophecies are to be believed, the world is in for a doozy. Only not everyone’s ready, not least the demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale, who have rather grown to like Earth and would prefer it continue spinning just like it has for the past 6,000 years thank you very much. They may even join forces to stop the apocalypse…if only they could find the Antichrist who is supposed to start it all.
Good Omens: the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved it enough to go out and buy it, and I will never lend it to anyone. It’s delightfully irreverent and hilarious, and re-reading it every once in awhile is like coming back to an old friend. It is difficult to review this book because it is difficult to summarize. Where does one begin? With the angel Aziraphale, who was around when Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden–which is also when his flaming sword went missing–and is still around nudging people in the “good” direction so many years later? With the demon Crowley and his Bentley that turns every cassette it plays into Queen? Or maybe with Anathema Device, professional descendant and the only one of Agnes Nutter’s family line to be around to witness the apocalypse she predicted? And then there’s Adam Young, an Antichrist, and his dog Dog, an adorable little hellhound. There’s also the four horsemen of the apocalypse, or I should say bikers of the apocalypse, real live-ish Hell’s Angels. Then there is Agnes Nutter herself, who saw it all and wrote it down for her descendants to valiantly attempt to figure out. All these characters and their at times ridiculous interactions make this book spectacularly amusing.
I am a fan of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett individually (though I have admittedly read much more Gaiman) but together they are unbeatable. In reading their interview in the book, they are not quite clear how they ended up working together, and they certainly have no idea how their one collaboration became such a successful cult classic, but boy am I glad they did. I have read a few end-of-the-world-books, and seen plenty of 2012 movies, but nothing comes close to this. The character themselves are ridiculous, and the situations they find themselves in more so. The story takes place in England, but I didn’t mind the occasional British-isms, they just added to the amusement for me.
I can’t say enough good things about this book. Just go read it, and you’ll understand. This will definitely be one that lives on my shelf until it falls apart, at which time I will immediately replace it and read it again and again. For a good time, run out and buy Good Omens.
PS – In a barely related note, I recently discovered the band Imagine Dragons. When I was reading Good Omens, I was reminded about their new hit song “Radioactive” which includes the line “This is it, the apocalypse.” This doesn’t really have anything to do with the book, just thought I’d mention a new band I like. Go check them out while you’re reading the book!