Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

I purchased a copy of this book for my personal reading.

Good Omens as been in my TBR pile for far longer than it had any right to be there for. With the recent release of the TV adaptation on Amazon Prime recently I felt it was the perfect time to dive in to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s comic fantasy novel describing the events preceding the end of days. In the past, I’ve struggled with co-authored books where subtle differences in writing style became apparent throughout. This always broke my enjoyment. On this front I was pleasantly surprised as Pratchett and Gaiman weave a story with no break in the narrative.fantasy6I absolutely loved this book and cannot understand why or how I have waited so long to read what is now a firm favourite book for me. The story follows the prophecies of Agnes Nutter, a witch who has the unusual talent of being the only person to ever predict anything with something close to accuracy. Her prophecies foresaw the end of days and all of the events leading up to it and the coming of the Antichrist. The armies of Heaven and Hell are amassing ready for the ultimate war.

The demon Crowley and meek angel Aziraphale have been on Earth ever since Adam and Eve gave in to temptation and were expelled from the Gardens of Eden. The two have spent aeons on Earth sowing the seeds of evil and good mostly respectively, though occasionally each sowing both for efficiency. Their relationship is built throughout the book developing a millenia-long friendship of two figures who are polar opposites in character.

The cast of supporting characters – Anathema Device, Newton Pulsifer, The Them, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to name a few are wonderfully-well crafted. Good Omens has become one of my very favourite books and I cannot believe I waited so long to read it. The comic timing, the fantasy, the science-fiction, everything about this book has been put together with a deftness of touch the only two of the best fantasy authors could produce. And while I am here, five episodes into the six episode TV adaptation of the book, and what a wonderful adaptation it is too! Yes there are some things in the book not in the series, some things in the series not in the book but nothing story-critical in either camp: both make for fantastic pieces of art in their own rights.

My rating:
goodread

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Friday Face-Off – 31st May 2019

Friday Face-Off – 31st May 2019

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This week’s theme is one I have been looking forward to sinking my teeth into. And as I have been thoroughly enjoying a comedy fantasy I’ve never read though wanted to for some time, this seemed the perfect time. The theme is a favourite fantasy novel cover of my choosing!

For this theme I picked Good Omens by Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A highly appropriate choice today given the release of Amazon Prime’s Good Omens series.

Cover A:

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Cover B:

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Cover C:

fantasy3

Cover D:

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Cover E:

fantasy5

Cover F:

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Cover G:

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Cover H:

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And the winner is… A DRAW!

Cover F features as it is another Joe McLaren cover that I happen to own. Such a simplistic but stunning design, I love it. Cover A is my other winner for the week. I love the duality of the cover that features in the story: angel and demon, good and evil, Heaven and Hell, black and white.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next week’s theme is a cover that makes you think of summer: “One swallow does not make a summer.”

Friday Face-Off – 8th June 2018

Friday Face-Off – 8th June 2018

The Friday Face-Off is a meme originally created by Books by Proxy and now hosted over at Lynn’s Books. The idea is to compare the different covers of a book with each week being a certain theme.

This weeks’ theme is a cover featuring stormy skies: ‘Raining cats and dogs.’

This weeks’ book is Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

Cover A:

sky1

Cover B:

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Cover C:

sky3

Cover D:

sky4

Cover E:

sky5

Cover F:

sky6

Cover G:

sky7

And the winner is… COVER F!

The art style really catches my eye here. The two lone figures stood upon the hill draw me in, I want to know what they are discussing. And the dark clouds and stark forks of lightening give a moody atmosphere to the whole landscape.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my winner, or does one of the others work better for you? Let me know in the comments!

Next weeks’ theme is a book cover featuring a rider or riders: ‘Live in the saddle. Die on the hog.’

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

“Young man” he said, “understand this; there are two Londons. There’s London Above – that’s where you lived – and then there’s London Below – the Underside – inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world. Now you’re one of them. Good night.” – Neil Gaiman


So I felt, as I sometimes do when reading longer book series, that I needed a change of pace from the Discworld. Not because I was bored of them, but because I felt like I needed to try something completely new. A little while back I had been on a mini shopping spree and came back with a few books, all ones I have heard recommended, but by authors I had not tried before. And one of those was a curiosity-piquing book called Neverwhere, by an English fellow named Neil Gaiman. I was already aware of Gaiman – although I haven’t read it yet, I have heard the radio play of Good Omens that he co-authored with Terry Pratchett – so when I heard there was also going to be a radio play of Neverwhere, I gave it a listen. It was good enough that it piqued my interest.
wp-1467722260458.jpg The version of this book that I was reading was a revised edition including element cut from earlier editions. Picking up the book in the shop, the blurb on the back hooked me. Granted, I already knew the story to some extent thanks to the radio play – but how often does the film/audio play do the real book justice? Though I seldom ever read the little dedications from other authors or literary critics on the back, the glowing reviews only heightened my interest in this book. So I parted with my cash and out I walked with the book in hand, eager to read it.

One of the rear cover dedications comes from Gaiman’s friend, Tori Amos, where she opens with “I didn’t ever want this book to end…”. Was this high praise, or slightly over-exuberant review from a friend? I would say it’s fully justified. This might just have become one of my favourite books.

But why? Well the characters are wonderful, well developed and strong. The rollercoaster of fortunes and feelings the characters experience was also felt by me. The narrative of the story is fantastic, and having visited London many a time myself, it really comes through that Gaiman has put in plenty of research to make this book. The story itself is fantastic – it is something different in the sci-fi/fantasy world, while leveraging a lot of real world crossover and referencing.

The main character is Richard Mayhew, a Scot who now lives and works in London, where he has a comfortable life with his high-flying fianceé Jessica. Until a chance encounter with a scared, injured girl by the name Door, changes the course of his life. Upon choosing to help the disheveled girl as opposed to ignoring her and heading to a dinner meeting, Jessica leaves Richard on the spot. Then strange things start happening. A couple of shady characters come looking for their “lost and vulnerable sister”, conveniently knowing where he lives. Then, he finds himself becoming almost invisible to the rest of the world, except for those poor souls that slip through the cracks of the world.

Over the next few days, Richard finds his life literally fading. It isn’t so much the case that people don’t recognise him, but that he is ceasing to have factored in the lives of those around him – almost as if his life is being erased. He still exists on a level only seen and inhabited by those who fall through the cracks in society. And so begins his journey into London Below. I won’t give too much more away on the plot – though some may feel maybe I have said too much already – as the story only gets better from here, in my opinion.
Neil Gaiman’s imagination and creativity turn this fantasy tale into something different. There are no typical fantasy tropes here – gone are the vampires, the witches and the dragons. Not that they are bad things in the fantasy genre, but it is so refreshing to see something a bit different. The research put in, including walking through the Victorian sewers of London, lend the work a real sense of authenticity. And for anyone familiar with London and some of its famous landmarks and tube stations – a whole range of these have been twisted to create colourful settings and characters in Gaiman’s London Below.

The story is strong, the characters fantastic, and I loved the locations. The whole concept could make for an interesting series, one that the author himself has almost hinted at as a minor possibility – of creating Below versions of big cities around the world. Given how much I loved this book, that is something I would really like to see.

My rating:
goodread