I’ll try not to give away too much about Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, because you’ll have a lot more fun if you find out on your own. I will tell you, however, that the plot involves the coming of the End Times. Specifically, the book involves an angel and a demon who’d rather the Apocalypse not happen just yet, an eleven-year-old boy who has no idea he’s the Antichrist, and a rather dull but strangely accurate book of prophecies written by Agnes Nutter in the 17th century (just so she could get a free author’s copy).

I found the plot of Good Omens got a bit convoluted, though I think that’s inevitable in a book with so many characters and so much going on (it is about Armageddon, after all). That my schedule sometimes led to my going a few days without picking the book up didn’t help much, either. Whatever kept me from thoroughly appreciating the plot of the novel, however, didn’t keep me from seeing how entertaining it is. Pratchett and Gaiman take a lot of centuries-old ideas about supernatural beings and the Apocalypse and put incredibly clever, modern twists on them. Aziraphale the angel and Crowley the demon are not what you’d normally expect from such characters; both are quite attached to the material world after living on Earth since the Beginning, and each has his complaints about his side in the eternal conflict between Heaven and Hell. The authors’ take on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse provides some smart commentary on the modern world, and the book’s answer to the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin provides one of the funniest passages I’ve ever read in any novel.

Good Omens is a terrific blend of fantasy and comedy. While the novel is most obviously a parody of apocalyptic films and literature, Pratchett and Gaiman find plenty of room to poke fun at the occult, historical treatment of witches, the everyday absurdities of human life, and well, human beings themselves. While I’m sure I might have missed a few references in the book that would’ve made it even funnier, this is still one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read. It’s more than just a fantasy novel; it is a brilliant send-up of a genre that often takes itself so seriously that it ends up being unintentionally funny. This book was my first experience of both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, but from what I already knew about them, I’m not at all surprised that they succeeded in making the premise of a funny Armageddon work so well.

I’ve always hated when someone gave all the jokes away before I got to read or watch something, so I’ll leave it at that and let you experience this fun read for yourself. Just one more thing: do NOT skip over the footnotes. They are just as funny as the rest of Good Omens, if not more so.

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