Friday, March 18, 2011

CR3 #22: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I wanted so very badly to like Good Omens. Many people for whose opinions I hold great respect think this is a great book. They find it funny and interesting and a 4 or 5-star read.

Unfortunately, I was just this side of hating it. I am pretty sure this is not due to Neil Gaiman's involvement, since I enjoyed the book of his that I've read. I have come to the conclusion that despite my best efforts, I do not like Terry Pratchett. This is hard for me to admit. One of my very dearest friends, Sacred Cow, loves his work. In all other things I bow to her expertise, but on Terry Pratchett I am afraid we shall just have to disagree. I find his work desperately wacky...not dryly wacky (Douglas Adams) or whimsically wacky (Ellen Raskin) but more like Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair or the work of Christopher Moore--wacky for only wacky's sake.

The plot of Good Omens concerns Armageddon. A small mix-up at the birth of the Antichrist results on a case of mistaken identity. Two representatives of of Good and Evil, Aziraphale and Crowley, are trying to make things right before it's too late. There's also two witch-hunters, a young witch, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, some demons, the Antichrist, a fortune teller...to be honest, there is simply too much going on. I enjoyed some of the characters--the interactions between Aziraphale and Crowley in particular were really terrific--but there are just too damn many of them. There are POV sections from far too many people which do nothing but distract. If the authors could have settled on perhaps three or four characters and stuck with them, I might have enjoy this more. However, all the bouncing around combined with the aforementioned desperate wackiness did nothing but give me a headache. There were bits that I enjoyed, and some things that were very clever--having the Four Horsemen as bikers, with War as a war correspondant and Famine as a diet guru was pretty cool. I was delighted any time Crowley came on the scene, since he was such an interesting and funny character.

I wish I could have enjoyed this book more, but instead I just kept finding myself checking to see how much more I had to go. I can't say whether I recommend this or not, since I seem to have a very rare opinion of it.

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