Just imagine how terrible it might have been if we’d been at all competent. Terry Pratchett
Like most people I became aware of this book through the newly released Amazon Prime series. I have always known of both Terry Pratchett’s work and Neil Gaiman’s as separate entities but I wasn’t aware of this collaboration (sorry!) but I am very glad that I know of it now because this was an amazing read. For me it is rare to find a book where I don’t find a few parts of it a bit slow and want to put it down for a break, but this book was the opposite, I loved every page and really hated putting it down to go back to work or, you know, sleep.
The main appeal of this book is how easy it is to read, although it is clearly based on specific religious events you need no real experience with them to understand what is happening as it is explained along with the plot, something I appreciated because know little to nothing about Biblical stories. Another selling point is the humour, I’ve found it’s difficult to have humour come across in this way where you are actually laughing as you finish the passage not just briefly smiling. A favourite part of this book is our main protagonists having a drunken conversation surrounding birds (the winged kind), dolphins and the pros and cons to being in Heaven, it was so fluid to read, each line carried into the next without being a rigid conversation you find in other books.
If you didn’t know already this story revolves around the coming Armageddon and the Antichrist who has been sent in as a child to essentially be the one to press “Start”. Our story follows a few main characters to see their involvement with the coming events but we mainly follow an Angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowley. I will say now that their friendship has been beautifully written and comes across so clearly when reading, there was no having to force it in my mind it was very natural and that shows true writing skill, something many can only dream of when trying to establish dynamic relationships in writing. The same can be said for a lot of the relationships in the book between the Them, Anathema and Newt as well as their experiences with the Them.
Characteristics of the main players comes across easily in the writing, we know from the first meeting that Pepper is someone who you would take on in a fight because she’s said something too close to home but she’d make sure she’d win. A powerful woman at 11, that is what I like to see. Something else that came across well was the specific references for the Four Horsemen that you could not ignore, every passage they were involved in there were references to their true nature and even through the pages I was scared of the tall, dark figure in the corner who we all know as Death, his authoritative nature and clear mission just sent shivers through me.
I couldn’t recommend this book enough, there were a few moments when I just wanted to scream at the idiocy that surrounds the Satanist Nuns, I get very stressed watching/reading events take a turn for the worse as a result of a simple lack of communication. Apart from this I can’t fault it, although I suppose without this there would be no story, so, silver lining? I would again, like in my previous post about Murder on the Orient Express, advise reading before watching because although the Prime series has kept relatively close to the main story there are parts that add nothing to it other than some famous faces.