I enjoyed Good Omens immensely, so I found its non-union Irish equivalent pretty enjoyable too, if somewhat forgettable. That may seem like an unfair judgment, as comedic stories about the end of the world are going to share some commonalities, but this really felt like the SAME story. We have demons who aren’t especially fond of hell and are crazy drivers, an innocent young boy who is witness to the gates of hell being opened and his ragtag friends, threatening harbingers of the apocalypse having petty grievances against one another, the absurdity of man being highlighted in their underwhelmed reactions to chaos… it’s all the same story.
But, like with so much else in life, the whole is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a good enough book, but man does it suffer by comparison to Good Omens, and it actively invites the comparison by hitting all the same beats. And while Connolly is a fine writer, how are you gonna try and beat peak Terry Pratchett AND Neil Gaiman? That’s like me, a 5’5” out of shape arthritic mom taking on LeBron James for a game of Horse. Not. Gonna. Work.
We’ll see if the sequel is any better, because I was more or less tricked into buying this when I picked up The Infernals (the second book in this series) and found a footnote on the second page making reference to the previous book. The risk you run when you buy from library sales. That said, I have enjoyed Connolly’s writing, but start with The Book of Lost Things, which expands on general tales and fleshes them out, whereas this did the reverse. And let’s be real. Even Diet Fat-Free Good Omens is only gonna be so bad.