Armageddon is coming. It's a shame someone has misplaced the antichrist.
This book, in a lot of ways surpassed my expectations. It truly is a rather unique and engaging book. There were a few problems I had with it, however, which prevent me from giving it the full five stars.
My first problem was the eclectic point of view switching. We were jumping from main character to side character to sort-of-important character to very-important character. I know this was the books 'style' and one of the major features of it, but I can't stand it when I'm suddenly in someone else's head with next to no fanfare. I suppose I should be grateful for the linebreaks in the text, as they at least gave some clue.
Oddly, this book has no chapters, so I basically read most of it in one sitting as I wasn't really sure where to stop.
My second problem with this book was the climax. It felt rather vague and offhand. Maybe I wasn't reading carefully enough, but I'm still not entirely sure what happened there. It was like one in the morning when I got there, anyway, so maybe it's my fault. It'd be interesting to reread in the future and see if I understand it better.
There were a lot of things I did like about this book, however.
Firstly, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are the first authors for a LONG time to make me care about an animal point of view character (ie. Dog). It was realistic (well, as realistic as a hell hound can be) and sympathetic, and I actually enjoyed the bits in Dog's point of view.
I also loved the intertextuality in the novel - that is, the references to popular culture. I am glad I watched The Omen a couple of years ago, for example, or I probably wouldn't have understood a lot of the jokes in the early book. There were probably a lot of references in the novel I didn't
understand, but they would make a careful reread quite fun to do! :) Satires often make use of popular culture, and this novel does it extremely well.
And, you know what, this book was actually kind of funny. I'm not really a person who finds intentionally humorous books funny, so I was happy when this made me smile or laugh. (I prefer books when they are quite serious but have light moments mixed in, rather than books that are meant to be funny throughout.)
I also feel that the characters were developed extremely well. I loved Dog, as I mentioned earlier, and I also enjoyed the Four Horsemen, Crowley and Aziraphale. The Them, not so much, but that's probably because I didn't really like the sway Adam held over them (being the antichrist and all, it's not really his fault). Newt and Anathema were wonderful too, and several characters I haven't mentioned. Even the random minor charactrs were developed with masterful strokes of the literary brush.
Also, this is religious satire, but it's not malicious. If it had been malicious, I don't thikn I would have enjoyed it as much. It is almost affectionate in the way it satires Christianity. Great job, guys. I'm really impressed with the way it was all handled.
I haven't read any Terry Pratchett before, and only one Neil Gaiman novel (Stardust
), but this collaboration certainly inspires me to seek some out.
Overall, I highly recommend that you give this book a chance, unless even affectionate religious satire would really offend you (because, you know, it might).