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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

The classic collaboration from the internationally bestselling authors Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, soon to be an original series starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant. "Good Omens . . . is something like what would have happened if Thomas Pynchon, Tom Robbins and Don DeLillo had collaborated. Lots of literary inventiveness in the plotting and chunks of very good writing and characterization. It’s a wow. It would make one hell of a movie. Or a heavenly one. Take your pick."—Washington Post According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completelyaccurate 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 amongs…

Good Omens

by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

Overall Book Review:

Good Omens represents the meeting of two great literary minds – Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The novel tells the story of the apocalypse. The whole big planned event goes fantastically off the rails when no one can find the Antichrist. This book brings together Gaiman’s dark sense of humor and Pratchett’s quick wit and sets it in a world that could only be imagined by both writing together.

The novel is full of well-imagined characters, starting with the angel and the demon who are the main protagonists and whose irreverence and innocence, respectively, drive the mood of the whole book as bad company corrupts good morals while perhaps those good morals are rubbing off on the bad company. Several other protagonists and villains share the stage, and readers will find some of them quite relatable. One group of characters that is particularly entertaining and easy to get attached to is a group of children led by eleven-year-old Adam Young. Their antics bring the levity of childhood to the weighty topic of the End of the World, and readers will likely see a reflection of their own young selves in one or more of these free spirits. This book was entertaining from beginning to end with plenty of humor, action, and the plot twists and turns that you expect from good storytelling.

I enjoyed this book on an audiobook which was narrated by Martin Jarvis. His skillful reading and amazing ability to add believability and to make each character even more unique through the use of different voices and accents really brought the book to life. I would most definitely read another book with the same narrator, and I highly recommend this one on audio or in print.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  10 religious exclamations; 33 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 10 derogatory names; 8 scatological words; 1 f-word.

Note:  The following are present but not tallied: Many uses of British profanities, several uses of hell to refer to a place; bitch is used to refer to a female dog once; damned is used a few times to refer to the state of a soul.

Violence/Gore: A few reports of fights; a few verbal threats; a character suffers a mild cut; property damage; massive property damage is mentioned many times, as Armageddon is a major theme of the book; discussion of whether characters will be shot; a vehicle is destroyed; people are devoured by bugs; a vehicle accident with major injuries and deaths; vehicle accident with no human injuries in which an animal dies; a few reports of burning witches; characters discuss whether and how to kill other characters; a massive car wreck, with no details of injuries or deaths given (but some are assumed); mention of cutting someone with barbed wire; a character kills an animal; report of fatal car crashes; a building burns; characters hear a distant scream; a character melts; an implication that a character should commit suicide; a character considers mass murder; car accident with minor injury; a couple of instances of suicide; a character uses a bomb to commit murder; report of a character shot; mention of starving children; a character says that another was “born to hang”; report of someone being tortured; a character is dunked underwater multiple times in a humorous scene; several characters shoot each other; a character licks blood splatter; boys are uncomfortable fighting with a girl; a few reports of property damage; characters threaten each other with guns; rape is mentioned; report of property damage; thermonuclear war  and terrorism are mentioned; two characters are shot and wounded; a window is shot out; description of how a gun could make a bloody mess; an animal is accidentally killed; poem mentions eating human flesh; mention of several past disasters such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island; a minor environmental disaster is caused on purpose; a character briefly considers cannibalism; a fight with serious injuries; mention of racially-motivated violence; report of hanging witches.

Sex/Nudity:  Mention of a local lovers lane; people leave encouraging notes for others about sex; coitus interruptus is mentioned; a character is uncomfortable putting his arms around a woman while on a motorcycle; a few mentions of counting someone’s nipples (non-sexual); a character watches another dress; characters are naked after sex; a male character pats a female employee on the backside; a character’s bedroom is adorned coquettishly, but nothing explicit is described; a man and woman hug; it is pointed out that a man finds a woman attractive; mention of “libido”; report of a character painting nude women; a man is uncomfortable around a woman; a character has “adultery” in his name, and this is the topic of a joke; a character calls another a “harlot” and a “whore”; the words “spooning” and “forking” are used in a subtle sexual reference; a treatment for impotence uses phallic dolls; mention of pornography being sold; a character advertises S&M services by the subtle reference of “discipline exacted” (no details); an ad for intimate massage is mentioned; mention of an orgy; report of people dancing naked; mention of a topless beach; rape is mentioned; men discuss how attractive a woman is; implication that an ad for “nanny” services was actually for sexual employment; a few mentions of animals mating;  the word “faggot” is used in a double-entendre joke; a poem mentions violating virgins; men witness a birth (few details).

Mature Subject Matter:

Extreme reckless driving; bullying; suicide; the end of the world; workplace violence; mention of the following: lesbianism, eating disorders, nuclear war, fraud, torture, rape, thermonuclear war, terrorism, civil war and political unrest, smuggling, racially-motivated violence (historical), slave trade.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Characters smoke cigarettes and pipes; marijuana (mention); mention of athletes taking drugs; character drives under the influence of “caffeine and pills” (unspecified); ale (mention); mushrooms (mentioned in a psychedelic sense); characters drink wine and beer; cigars are handed out at a bir

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My taste in literature leans heavily towards sci-fi, fantasy, and (my favorite) horror, and the latter can present some fairly murky waters for parents to let their children explore. I enjoy novels of both the standard and graphic varieties. Since those genres, and graphic novels in particular, tend to appeal to boys, I hope that I can help other Boy Mommies in their quest to find books that their little video gamers--I mean, future bibliophiles will read and enjoy. When I am not reading, I enjoy tabletop role-playing games, video games, and singing karaoke. I have a wonderful husband who lets me indulge my reading habit by sharing the housework and being a great dad to our genius kids and their faithful hound.