A Fair and Balanced look at Armageddon
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.
By Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
With so many one-sided versions of pre-creation, creation, the original schism and the on-going fight for human souls that is to end with the battle for the title of Ruuuler - of the Earth; it is refreshing to read a story that takes both sides into account. We are given this unique perspective through the eyes of two agents from opposing regimes stationed on earth with Agnes acting, through her book and descendant Anathema, as the fulcrum of the events while an 11 year old boy and his friends turn out to be more able than any of the adults.
This story is a rare event. Two authors with very different styles have blended their work so well that it is often difficult to tell where Sir Pratchett ends and Mr. Gaiman begins. If I were to advance an opinion that I can not prove, it would be that this balance was struck so deep as to effect individual sentences.
While being terribly funny, it also manages to bring life to some very true ideas about humanity including our ability for both amazing grace and shocking evil that so often resides within the same person. It also cleverly advances the idea that humans would have more opportunity to reach our full potential if mythological beings were not 'messing us about'+ all of the time. It adds to this that such a 'caring' being giving his, her or its divine help would actually make matters worse. The idea is crystallized in my most quoted line "People need to learn if you kill a whale, you get a dead whale"+. All the while making cultural jokes between the English and Americans.
A great book that gets better over (read: every) time. Re-reading highlights new jokes or ideas that were previously out of focus.
(World was given 4 out of 5 stars because it was not quite as wholly created as, for example, Harry Potter)
+Any inexact quotations of this book are purely accidental. The writer is married and her books often get mixed in with his books preventing her from finding them to verify exact language.