Book: Good Omens
Authors: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Martin Jarvis
BECHDEL TEST: FAIL-Anathema Device is really the only main female character of significance, Adam’s friend Pepper has a role but the pair never really interact.
Content Warnings: Racism, sexism, animal abuse, blood, reference to slavery, snakes, starvation, violence, war, death, mild gore, insects
I only really became aware of Good Omens after I watched and loved the TV miniseries when I watched it with my mum last year, which yes, I realise is quite late, but in my defence it did come out before I was born! Anyway, after watching the TV show, I became interested in reading the book, and got around to it in November/December of last year. Sadly, this is one of the rare cases where I felt I enjoyed the TV show more than the book, I felt like the book plot was kind of confused and hard to follow. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.
So I’ll start with my main issue with this book: the plot was super confusing. And this is coming from someone who had seen the TV show first, so I already knew the plot! But the TV show definitely streamlined A LOT, there are a lot of tangents that the book goes off on that aren’t massively relevant, and it honestly stretches what could be a pretty solid novella into a full length novel with a plot that has very little direction. There are plot threads introduced that seem to be completely forgotten about (like what on earth the not-Antichrist is doing during in all this) and characters who are seemingly irrelevant that are brought up before being quickly dropped again. Honestly if I hadn’t watched the TV show, I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on.
The chapters are also WAY TOO LONG. I mean Saturday, which is the apocalypse chapter is over SIX hours long! That’s half of the entire book. By the time you get to the end of the chapter, it’s honestly difficult to remember everything that happened! The pacing is also super off, they cover eleven years of story in one chapter: NO!
The narrator did do a great job though, I think that was actually the highlight of the book for me, Martin Jarvis’ performance was excellent and he was very good at capturing all the different voices.
The relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale, much like the TV show was the highlight of the book. However, I felt like it wasn’t really focused on enough? They had such an interesting dynamic and I would much rather have seen more of the pair of them than Adam and his friends (know in the book as the “Them”). Aziraphale owning a bookshop, but not wanting to ever sell a book is definitely a mood.
It was mildly amusing, but it seemed like it was trying too hard? Like the authors were constantly laughing at their own jokes and expecting everyone else to find them funny as well? It’s not a terrible satire, but a lot of the humour just didn’t particularly land for me.
A lot of it probably came from the fact that the humour relied on a lot of sexist, racist and homophobic observations that were probably commonplace in the 90s when this book came out, but feel incredibly dated now (and obviously shouldn’t have been tolerated then).
Being that the book came out in the 90s, all the technology mentions also feel super dated, like I get that desktop computers and landlines would have been impressive in the nineties, but reading it in the 21st century? Not so much.
The character development was kind of lacking, aside from Aziraphale and Crowley, the other characters all felt super flat.
I wasn’t a fan of footnotes, and especially in an audio format, they felt really strange.
I was really expecting the apocalypse to be more action packed, for what is essentially the climax of the book, it was actually fairly pedestrian! I also thought that the whole chapter that followed was kind of jumbled and confused.
I did however love the idea of a hellhound being a tiny dog!
Overall, this was a fairly disappointing read, for such a well loved book, it was a bit of a mess of a plot and the characters felt fairly flat. I definitely preferred the TV show for this one which is strange for me to say!
My Rating: 2/5
My next review will be of my last read of 2020, Kingdom of The Wicked by Keri Maniscalco.