I just couldn’t resist! Anyway, I wanted to reread this before the TV series came out but I didn’t get round to it. Still, it’s never too late to pick it back up.
Now, I knew when I watched the show that this was incredibly faithful to the book but I had no idea it would be this faithful. The vast majority of the book is right there, word for word. There is even a nightingale in Berkeley Square. I was sure that just put in the show. The amount of effort that went into the show to faithfully reproduce this book is just staggering.
Effuse praise of the show aside, the book is absolutely spectacular on its own. Pratchett and Gaiman’s talents are perfectly blended to the point when it’s impossible and a waste of time trying to differentiate which part is whose. They make the effort to build up every bit of the world and every small walk-on character to the point where they all feel real and they never fall into the trap of taking anything too seriously, even with Heaven and Hell. Nothing is overlooked. Every time you read it, you’ll pick up something new so it’s just as much fun to reread as it is to read for the first time. Yes, it can get a bit obscure near the end but the info dumps are blunted by sardonic humour with some very profound messages sneaked in so they’re not a chore to read at all.
F-word! And, the six letter kind! And – Newt! What the Crowley’s-office?! I can see why that got cut! That and Shadwell’s low-key racism towards his Indian landlord. In fact, there are a fair few things that jump out at you as being dated so be prepared for a few little shocks. Especially, the line ‘when everyone seemed to be getting on so nicely’. I think that might be the most dated excerpt of the lot.
Favourite characters are, of course, Aziraphale and Crowley. Every scene they’re together is brilliant and they have such chemistry. If anything, I think they were gay-er in the book than the show. The other characters are good too but those two make this book. Still, I must admit that, when I read Aziraphale and Crowley, I can’t stop myself hearing the voices of Michael Sheen and David Tennant.
Alright that the Bikers of the Apocalypse were cut from the show. They were just a funny little sideshow that don’t raise much of a laugh on the second read and kind of make the journey to Tadfield a bit less exciting. It did get me wondering what my Biker of the Apocalypse name would be. Probably, Team-Building-Exercises. In fact, with a few exceptions I’m about to go into, all the things cut from the show were cut for understandable reasons.
Bit of a shame that the Wasabi, the rain of fish and Aziraphale’s epic diss of TV evangelists didn’t make it into the show. TV evangelists could always do with being taken down a peg and they could have updated it to make the guy more of an Alex Jones figure. It would have been amazing! Ah, well, here’s hoping for a deleted scene.
Loath to admit it but the ending was a bit of anticlimax full of obscure logic problems and the big battle being averted by a wave of the hand with everything going (almost) back to the way it was. The show definitely did the ending better, which is exactly the right way to approach an adaptation. It’s supposed to improve, not imitate, the original.
Enhanced greatly by pieces on what Gaiman and Pratchett thought of each other, along with an interview, when the story’s done. It will tug at your heartstrings and it’s worth picking up the book just for that.