28 May, 2015

Good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Part satire, part parody and completely irreverent, Good omens  a joint project between prolific English authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman  is a clever and crazy speculative novel.

According to the incredibly accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, just before dinner, to be precise. But plans for the armageddon go awry when a scatterbrained Satanic nun misplaces the Antichrist in a complex baby swapping procedure. Soon, the armies of Good and Evil start to amass, predicted omens manifest and the Four Horsemen ride their motorbikes with purpose, leaving the suave demon Crowley and the somewhat stuffy angel Aziraphale to save the world they have grown rather fond of without letting their respective sides know.

The characters are hilarious in their stereotypes yet still manage to take on a life and shape of their own that is refreshing, while the writing is easy to digest, funny and sharp with snarky prose that is characteristic of British humour and a plot that unravels like a puzzle. 

Despite its appearances, this book is surprisingly insightful. Buried beneath all the zaniness are complex themes that inspire thought, like: what is the ineffable plan for mankind? Is there only Good and Evil, or rather, just grey? Does the Antichrist have free will? Do foretold events remain predetermined even if one actively turns towards a different outcome?

This book surprised me. Despite both being highly recommended, I hadn't read much from Pratchett or Gaiman. So, while I went into Good omens expecting good things, I wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea. 

Boy, did it deliver. I ended up staying up at night to finish just one more chapter. I lugged it (it's a pretty thick book) to university so I could read it on the bus, all the while trying to keep from grinning too widely in front of strangers. I'm even considering buying a copy for my personal collection. 

If you enjoy the mysterious, the magical, and the sometimes topsy-turvy, check out Good omens.

Title: Good omens: the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch 
Author: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Recommended by Sucheta R, Grey Lynn Library

Sucheta R is based in Grey Lynn Library. When she doesn't read, she has an overflowing shelf full of books and an ever-growing to-be-read pile. When she does read, it’s two or three books at the same time: a few chapters here, a few chapters there and a few more somewhere else. Sucheta likes dystopian sci-fi, contemporary fantasy, satire, young adult and the occasional classic.

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