Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Good OmensGood Omens by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A comedic book about Armageddon written by two of the funniest, cleverest fantasy writers out there. Surprisingly, considering how awesome that sounds, when I picked this book up for the first time a few years ago, I could not get into it. But I was determined to try again and this time selected the audio version read by Martin Jarvis. Not sure whether it was listening to it or just being in the right mood for it, but this time I understood the many charms that folks rave about when talking about this book.

At the centerpiece of this narrative is a book of prophecy (The nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnus Nutter) and the unexpectedly friendly relationship between a demon (Crowley) and an Angel (Aziraphale). Crowley and Aziraphale have been in the world of humanity since Adam and Eve ate the apple and somewhere along the way they became rather fond of the world and its inhabitants. So when the Antichrist is born and Armageddon looms they decide to defy their natures and try to divert disaster with a little help from Agnes' surprisingly spot-on prophecies.

It's not perfect. It is occasionally a little jumbled and rambly and it does sometimes feel like they are trying to hard to poke fun at this or that. It also has roughly thirty-seven endings. But most of those complaints are nitpicky and overall its a delight.

Most importantly, it has a heart. Comedy is always more engaging for me if it has a heart and isn't just a series of jokes wrapped in a thin storyline. Good Omens ends up being a joyful celebration of the ridiculousness and utter inanity of humanity and of being human. For me, this elevated it above the common light read.

The audio is really excellent. Martin Jarvis has a great voice and gives all the humor just the right touch and all the characters just the right voice.

3.5 stars.

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