The demon Crowley (initially Crawly, the snake who tempted Eve) and the angel Aziraphale have known each other since the creation of the universe. They’ve developed a friendship, even though outwardly they would seem to have, and perhaps should have, different views on life. However, they have come to enjoy the life they live on earth, and they aren’t looking forward to the Antichrist coming of age (age 11) and bringing about Armageddon.
Most of the novel is set in the few days leading up to when Armageddon is supposed to happen. We’re introduced to a variety of characters, most of whom will have something to do with Armageddon in some ways, whether it’s trying to stop it or support it. I most enjoyed the time spent with Crowley or Crowley and Aziraphale together. Many of the other characters didn’t resonate with me or interest me as much, especially Adam (the Antichrist) and his friends.
There were plenty of good observations about humanity, particularly how horrible we are to each other: “Oh, [Crowley] did his best to make [humans’] short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves.” As Armageddon approaches and a variety of weird events occur, aliens briefly visit earth and tell one of the humans they encounter (based on environmental observations they have made), “You do know you could find yourself charged with being a dominant species while under the influence of impulse-driven consumerism, don’t you?” Boy, did that hit hard. 30 years after the book was written, and that’s still a major issue. Kind of depressing, actually.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel, but it wasn’t quite what I was hoping it would be. Maybe I’ll check out the TV show, though.