Reading level: Adult
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Release Date: May 1st, 1990
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Swapped through paperbackswap.com
Rating: 4/5 stars
I am a huge Gaiman fan and somehow I had never read this book. I was eager to read it since I used to read Pratchett’s Discworld series and enjoyed the humor in that too. Overall this was a good book and fairly humorous. I thought the humor went a bit over the top at points; but overall still liked it. Think of this book as kind of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Apocalypse; it is written in that type of style with lots of footnotes.
When Crowley, original Crawley the serpent from Eden, gets the Antichrist he makes a mistake. The babies are switched out and Crowley and his arch-enemy Azrael spent a good portion of their lives trying to influence the wrong child. All you have to do then is get the Four Horsemen involved, a young woman who is a descendent of Agnes Nutter (the most accurate phophetess history has ever known, and a young man who is a witch hunter in the story and things begin to get out of hand. The real Antichrist, aptly named Adam, is making a bullocks of things using his unholy power to save whales and make nuclear power safer. General chaos ensues, legions of angels and demons prepare for war, and the world as we know it may or may not end.
This was a pretty good book. Given it’s cult status I was expected it to be hilarious and to be blown out of the water by it. I really wasn’t. The book switches viewpoint a lot, making it a bit hard to keep everything straight in the beginning. There are a ton of footnotes throughout (which I am not a huge fan off because they interrupt the story), and while some of them were funny, some of them were just plain silly and rambled on a bit too much.
The story takes a while to get going and I struggled to stay interested initially; but as events build to the final Apocalyse the pace picks up and the book is much more engaging. The characters are interesting but never really personable because you don’t get to spend much time with them. I am thinking this book may be a bit dated and was more unique and original when it was written. To be honest this book reminds me a lot of the movie Dogma and in writing style, of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, books.
In general I have mixed feelings about this book. There are some funny parts and some excellent irony, some very creative ideas and characters. The story takes a bit to get going through and constantly switches viewpoint so it was hard to really engage with any of the characters. The humor got a bit campy at parts and some of the footnotes rambled on way too much. I thought it was missing the wonderful classic story structure and tone that most of Gaiman’s books have.
Overall I am glad that I read it but it was not my favorite Gaiman or Pratchett book. It was a bit too campy for me and a bit too scattered. There are some funny parts though and the story itself is very ironic. If you like Christopher Moore or Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxay, or religion spoofs (like the movie Dogma) you will probably enjoy this book.