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No Omens like Good Omens

In short, the end of the world is coming, as predicted by Agnes Nutter, Witch. The Antichrist is among us, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are preparing to ride, and a duke of hell is trying to stop it all with his best friend, an angel. Thousands of years have gone into planning this event, and still the most crucial parts manage to go wrong. The Antichrist is accidentally placed in a normal family (instead of a Satanist family), and his raging Hellhound turns out to be a small mongrel dog named Dog (and is starting to like it that way). It would all be a bit easier if people could decipher the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter before they came true.

"We hear the world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner. Unfortunately, Sister Mary Loquacious of the Chattering Order has misplaced the Antichrist. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride motorcycles. And the representatives from Heaven and Hell have decided they actually like the human race..." - Good Omens (back cover)

Title: Good Omens, the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Authors: Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Corgi Books (1990)
My Personal Rating: 9.8 / 10

There are many characters in this book, all of which establish relationships with the reader so that you are always looking for ways to get more personal with them. Starting with Crowley (because you have to start somewhere) and Aziraphale, they are a Duke of Hell and an Angel respectively. Their unique relationship is fun to see develop; they are natural enemies, but turn out to be best friends because they only have each other over the centuries they spend on Earth. Strictly they are still on opposing sides, but are on an "agree to disagree" based relationship and get along very well.

"But after we win life will be better!" croaked the angel.
"But it won't be as interesting."

The Antichrist, at least by birth, not by upbringing, turned out to be a normal boy called Adam in a small town with his own little gang of friends. The Hellhound is a little mongrel named Dog. If anyone had the slightest idea about the coming of Armageddon, and enough people did, it wasn't Adam. He has more important things to do, like starting the English Inquisition.

"Fancy me holding the Antichrist," said Sister Mary. "And bathing the Antichrist. And counting his little toesy-wosies..."

There are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, led by Death, familiar to those who've read a few Discworld novels, ride motorcycles. They have gained a few extra members, tag-alongs from the last biker bar they stopped at, but unfortunately it will only be the original Four that complete the ride.

"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH." (You will always know Death in Terry Pratchett's books as the one who SPEAKS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS)

The descendant of Agnes Nutter, Anathema, is trying to interpret the prophesies and find the Antichrist with Newton, the descendant of the witch-hunter who initiated the burning of Agnes Nutter. Agnes knew all of this, naturally, and made sure none of the people who were there watching her burn at the stake survived.

"That's how it goes, you think you're on top of the world, and suddenly they spring Armageddon on you."

I think Good Omens is a good read for readers of all ages. It's packed with big and little jokes, puns, and parodies relating to other literature and life mostly. I have great respect for an English teacher who makes this book a required one for his or her class, either in high school or university. It enriches the reader in culture, history, psychology and so much more. It's been long enough where we hear the same side of the same story, Good Omens is the best other side of the end of the world, you shouldn't pass this one up.

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Comment by Antonius L. Zubeck

Posted on 16 September, 2008
Crowley 's not a Duke!

Comment by Ralph van den Berg

Posted on 16 September, 2008
True, I'm reading the book a second time now, and Crowley is indeed not a Duke of Hell. He's not even a councilor...

Comment by Ralph van den Berg

Posted on 2 October, 2008
There are the 'other' bikers of the apocalypse- the ones who didn't make it into the book of revelations due to big piles of aquatic life mysteriously blocking the highways. The names are as follows (some changed names several times): Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH for short), Embarrassing Personal Problems, Cruelty To Animals, Aswerphones, Things Not Working Properly Even After You've Thumped Them, Really Cool People, No Alcohol Lager, Treading In Dogshit, All Foreigners Especially The French, and People Covered In Fish.

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