20 January 2007

Book Review: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Okay, I'll admit it. I avoided this "cult" classic for as long as I could. I like both Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman quite a lot individually, but collaboratively? I was skeptical. In fact, I was worried for them. I would pass the book in bookstores, each volume glaring back at me, taunting me, tempting me, and numerous times I would pick it up and look at the blurbs on the back and put it back down. I was terrified of disappointment from two of my favorite authors. I should have been tied down and forced to read this book 10 years ago. The collaboration I had so feared didn't only bring laughter on every page, but smart jokes and allusions that don't care if you understand them. They assume you're intelligent enough to look it up if you don't immediately recognize it. Even the footnotes (admittedly, some of my favorite parts of the text) are unappologetic.

The concept isn't entirely new--there have been plenty of books and films about averting the apocalypse all done with different motivations and with different outcomes. This book, however, makes the approach of the four horesemen something to look forward to, if only to see how they fair against the very young, very normal, Antichrist and Them. From Sister Loquacious, to the hellhound named Dog, this text pits the reader against the ineffable plan to root for an angel and a demon who have been friends for over 6,000 years and have been tarnished just a bit by their interactions with each other and humanity. After all... Hell has all the good musicians!If you haven't read it, I can't give this a more positive review than to say you're not allowed to borrow mine. I know I wouldn't get it back!


Mad Meg said...

This is one of the few books I've read where I felt the need to read every part of it...prologue, footnotes, everything. I think one of my favorite parts (because it's simply impossible to choose just one) would have to be the prologue (or is it the afterword?) where the authors talk about going on signing tours and all the different books they saw: a person's 15th copy because they read the others to oblivion and even this one is falling apart, a book in perfect condition locked in an iron casket with red silk lining (I think?) and ritualistic symbols all over. Mine is safely tucked away in my drawer. It will stay there. Or someone will die.

D.M. Papuga said...

I did the same thing Meg! In fact there are a few books I feel that way about, Good Omens is obviously one of them, and so is House of Leaves. If you haven't checked it out, go promptly to the nearest bookstore and pick up the book and 4 bookmarks... believe me, you'll need them!

Thanks for the comment, and welcome to the blog!