Sunday, September 1, 2019

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

★★★+.5 | 12 hours 32 minutes | Adult SFF | Harper Audio | Audio Release Date: 11/10/2009
In this 1990 Sci-Fiction/Fantasy debut novelist Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett tell a satirical story about the end of the world. I went in knowing this book was about an angel and a demon teaming up to stop armageddon, but Good Omens also involves a book of prophecies, a witch hunter, the four horsemen of the apocalypse 11-year-old antichrist.

I have a vague memory of a teacher talking about this book when I was 9th grade but I'd kind of forgotten about it. I was reading a lot of Left Behind books at that time so I can't imagine what I would have thought about this tongue and cheek interpretation of the end days. The only reason I picked it up this year is so I could check out the Amazon Prime show. A show that I was Streisand Effected into knowing about. I had no idea this show was even a thing until the controversy.

I found this book to be imaginative and kind of weird and the humor felt very British. There are a lot of plots threaded into the story and I feel like some of it may have gone over my head. I’m sure this is a book like this holds up well to re-reading, In fact, I started the show and the show is essentially a scene by scene remake of the book and things kept clicking while I watched the show that I hadn’t noticed when reading.

 The audiobook narrator Martin Jarvis does such a good job bringing the material to life and his voice work is outstanding. I don't know if I'm just biased but his Crowley sounded eerily like David Tennant. His female voices left a lot to be desired but everything else he did was so excellent. That said, this book relies a lot on footnotes and parentheticals in a way that didn't always come through as cleanly in the audio version.

Like I said, the show appears to very much be a line by line adaptation (with some added bits here and there) so I don't think you'd be missing anything if you just dived right into the show. Either way, I'm glad I checked this out.

There are a lot of people in YA who pushback against the idea of YA in the 90s being historical. And guys, this book is set in 1990 and it read extremely historical. It's not just about the pop culture references. The way in which computers, young people and technology are talked about made it feel very much of a past time.

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