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The Gates (Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,374 Ratings  ·  1,310 Reviews
Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween, which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe, a g ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan 17, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nancy by: Will Byrnes
Posted at at Shelf Inflicted

I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy nearly 30 years ago and don’t remember finding it all that funny. I also never cared for Monty Python. Maybe it’s the British humor I don’t get, but Fawlty Towers cracks me up, no matter how many times I see each episode. Humor is such a personal thing, and sometimes I just don’t see humor in things others find funny. And other times I laugh hysterically at things people don’t understand. So I’m cautious about the humorous f
Will Byrnes
Aug 13, 2015 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, comedy-satire
The Gates is a hell of a funny book, yes laugh out loud funny.

A foursome of dark dabblers attempt a summoning. Somewhere near Geneva, the Large Hadron Collider is whirring about attempting to divine the “god particle.” What could possibly go wrong? Before you can say “oopsy” a small portal to you-know-where has been opened, and nasty slithery sorts begin arriving, like unwanted relations, for an extended stay.

Samuel Johnson, this one sans Tourette and any inclination to pen a new dictionary, i
Dec 26, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Neil Gaiman
Shelves: young-adult, blog
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I hate my neighbors. Yeah, I know I'm supposed to love them, but it would be easier if they were just a little more lovable and not so loathable. Between the late night beerfests, the trucks without mufflers, the pit bulls tied to trees, and the Jerry Springer style public arguments (not to mention just a general lack of hygiene), there's not a lot I can be thankful for. Until The Gates. Now I can at least say, "Well, they haven't accidentally opened a gate ...more
Dec 29, 2015 Mimi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams
Recommended to Mimi by: Stephanie Swint
Zany and hilarious and probably one of the best Halloween stories I've read. The narration and footnotes had me laughing out loud every time I picked up the book. As soon as my copy arrives in the mail, I'm gonna post all the quotes that cracked me up.

There isn't much of a plot here though--amateurish Satanists accidentally open a portal to hell with unintentional help from the large collider at CERN, which was in the middle of some Higgs-boson-related work. Then subtle chaos ensues when some o
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.25* of five

The Book Report: Samuel Johnson and his dachshund Boswell are on an early trick-or-treat run, demonstrating initiative by beating out the competition or so Samuel thinks. Boswell sighs a lot. I think he knows. They go to the Abernathys house, and Mr. Abernathy (a miserably unhappy self-help book writer, married to, seriously!) sends them on their way before rejoining his horrifying wife and two of their revolting bores of friends.

They are summoning a demon for fun
The Holy Terror
A high three: enjoyable but it didn't blow me away. Definitely reminded me of Douglas Adams books and Simon Pegg movies, and if you like that type of British-style humor then you'll probably find this funny and worth the read. I never thought I'd see the Large Hardron Collider featured in a book about demons, but it plays a very prominent role, as does quantum physics, which was totally not what I was expecting.

Two things to note; first, this is an adult book and not YA, and many people have it
The Flooze
Do you like Douglas Adams? Robert Rankin? Do you crack up at Shaun of the Dead or Monty Python?

Are you drawn to droll British humor and wonderfully inane commentary? Well, here you are then. The Gates is just the book for you!

Connolly's urban fantasy about a precocious boy, his protective dachshund, and an imminent apocalypse is delightfully amusing. It's a fascinating mix of demonic entities and mishaps of physics, playing on the idea that although scientists may seek the truth of the multivers
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
When I first started reading this all I could think of was the Tom Hanks movie The Burbs!

This book was fun and I am looking forward to reading the next 2 in the trilogy. Sam and his dog, Boswell were great characters that made this book. Excellent story!!
Bookmarks Magazine
Dec 02, 2009 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jan-feb-2010
Critics compared John Connolly to two first-rate children's authors (Eoin Colfer and Madeline L'Engle) and two great satirists (Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams—whom many of us started reading in middle school anyway). The Gates, they said, displays the wonder and wit of the works of each of this impressive quartet while also having a personality of its own. Reviewers were especially impressed with the explanations of quantum mechanics, wormholes, black holes, and the Hadron Collider—which lent ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
ICK!! BAH!! Me no like this book! Terrible!
What a bummer. I so enjoyed The Book of Lost Things and hoped this would be another fun romp. Not to be. This one is just stupid. Connolly tried way too hard to be clever and failed miserably. I gave the book 80 pages before giving up, which is pretty generous for a book I'm not liking at all. So I don't think I was hasty in my judgment. I really wanted to give it a chance to get better. It doesn't.
After reading The Book of Lost Things and feeling a bit let down, I wasn't really in all that much of a hurry to read The Gates, fearing to be let down again. But, while I did have some issues with The Gates, overall I really enjoyed it.

If this book was a person, it would have been conceived and raised thus:
Conception (biological parentage) - Christopher Moore & JK Rowling
Raised by (adoptive parentage) - Douglas Adams's spirit

Christopher Moore's swimmers supplied the most dominan
Adam Light
I read this with my eleven year old daughter. We both had a devilishly fun time with it, and we are looking forward to the next book in the series. Connolly proves he can write for anyone with this book.
Stephanie Swint
Oct 23, 2015 Stephanie Swint rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Recently, I requested of the Blogverse some recommendations of good Halloween books. ‘The Gates’ was recommended, and I am indebted to Ashley at readfantasybooks for doing so. This is a delightful tale of a precocious eleven year old boy, Samuel Johnson, who takes initiative to start trick-or-treating with his dachshund Boswell on October 28 to get a head start. Initiative, in this case, being something everyone says they want but don’t actually like when being used. Connolly is humorous. He spr ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is a good book...of course the fact that I gave it 5 stars probably gave away my feelings on that score.....

I have only read one other book by Connolly, "The Book of Lost Things", which I also liked greatly, but I really think that this one could be rated, "more enjoyable" at least in some ways. It's not so "deep" as the aforementioned "other novel" but neither is it quite so "down". And this might be considered odd for a book about the gates of Hell opening into a small English town foresh
Maxine Marsh

4.5* Delightful.
Mar 31, 2010 Brandon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2010, ya, connolly
Once again, I find myself reviewing another Connolly novel (this being the 5th novel of his I've read - only 7 more to go).

Departing from his signature character Charlie Parker for only the 4th time in his career, Connolly offers up a tale of Hell on earth. The story follows that of ambitious 11 year old, Samuel Johnson of Biddlecombe, England as he attempts to beat the crowd and go trick or treating 3 days before Halloween. While moving door to door, Samuel stumbles upon 666 Crowley Drive (a b
Jan 24, 2011 Brooke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2011
How DOES it work that I just recently read a book about the history of the search for the Higgs Boson, only to pick up a John Connolly novel and find out that its plot revolves around the Large Hadron Collider? Having read 11 John Connolly books before this one, that's the last thing I expected from him.

The Gates was a cute diversion from Connolly's darker Charlie Parker novels. I saw another review compare it to Good Omens, and it did remind me a lot of Terry Pratchett in style, right down to t
Sep 10, 2015 HBalikov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Phantom Tollbooth has been around for over 50 years and it seems a lot of people reading The Gates find some resonance with it. It can't be the precise setting, which has more in common with Harry Potter. Nor, can it be the illustrations, because it lack Jules Feifer or any other illustrator. But there may be a certain vibe in 11 year old Samuel Johnson that others are channeling.

This is a contemporary fantasy that should appeal to Samuel's age set as well as older teens and some adults. Con
Jan 26, 2014 Monnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After I read all of J.K. Rowling's beyond-wonderful Harry Potter books, I said to myself, "Self, no one could possibly top these as young-adult fiction, at least not in the fantasy realm."

T-h-h-hat's my story and I'm stickin' to it. But tell you what: John Connolly gives her a darned good run for the money. This, the first in a fantasy thriller series featuring 11-year old Samuel Johnson, conjures up visions of things almost more frightening than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or any of the other obst
kostas  vamvoukakis
πολύ καλό και αρκετά κωμικό... έχει μερικές ατάκες που σκοτώνουν... πολύ καλά γραμμένο
Melissa Chung
Jul 29, 2015 Melissa Chung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, ya-horror
This was a fun read. The Gates, is a middle grade story, about an 11 year old boy named Samuel Johnson, who is highly inquisitive and who is also very odd. It is also about a brave dachshund named Boswell that may or may not be too smart for a dog.

On, October 28th, Samuel the ever intelligent, decided he would get a head start on Trick or Treating and proceeded to his first house number 666. This house belonged to a couple, the Abernathy's, who were not only uninteresting and dull, but not very
Jun 06, 2010 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I've only read one of John Connolly's books before and have no recollection of what I thought about it. That generally means it wasn't interesting enough for me to pick the rest of the series. Still, I found this on sale (in the Hosptal University book shop, which is turning out to be a nice little shop) and was enraptured with the cover. It's brilliantly designed and captivating enough as a premise to grab my interest.

I started off not liking it though. My main issue being I couldn't figure out
Doug Beatty
Nov 22, 2009 Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about this book? It was fantastic and the humor was spot on.

Samuel Johnson and his Dachshund Boswell were out walking when they noticed something strange happening at 666 Crowley Road. It seems the Abernathys (who are not bad people, just bored) have decided to draw a pentacle on the floor and call on a nasty demon. Unfortunately, as the same time elsewhere in Europe, scientists are testing the new super collider and it happens to create a spark that opens a passage to the underw
Jan 01, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2013
4 Stars

I really enjoyed The Gates by John Connolly. This really is not a surprise for I am already a fan of the author. I love anything and everything that is related to Hell or Christian horror as long as it is not cheesy romance. And, finally I love dachshunds. My little weiner dog is my little buddy like Boswell is to Samuel Johnson.

Samuel Johnson is one amazing little boy. He really carries himself as an old soul. I love his fearlessness and his sense of right and wrong. He is the perfect pr
Perhaps I should have read this before The Book of Lost Things, because I just can't help but compare the two. The Gates simply didn't have as much depth, nor was it nearly as creepy. It wasn't bad ~ I loved all of the science and physics touched upon in this book. And I appreciated the humorous bits. But this simply wasn't a novel that I could get really absorbed in. Multiple story lines and points of view ~ while entertaining ~ took away from the main story involving Sam.

While reading this, I
Oct 12, 2009 Lis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated to give John Connolly only one star. Seriously, the man can write! But here he's trying to write like Neil Gaiman, and Connolly is not Neil Gaiman. When Gaiman writes a book like this one, it's brilliant. When Connolly does, it's just too, too precious. And twee. And I couldn't past the second chapter. I did flip through it and read a few random sections (just to be sure it wasn't only a horrible beginning) and it's all bad.

Just forget this one and read some Neil Gaiman instead.
Nov 20, 2015 Priya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, owned
Trust John Connolly to make the kid in you jump with joy but at the same time fascinate the teenager you are. This book has the perfect balance of humor, science and fantasy. Every single page left me wanting more from this story and its characters, who might I add, are the most wonderful part of this book.

Samuel Johnson was the perfect protagonist, and you fall in love with him from the second he starts talking about angels on pins. His wit and sense of humor are one of the many things that kee
Wanda Hartzenberg
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read, the footnotes, sometimes informative always hilarious had me in stitches. The book about an 11 year old boy who sees the gates of Hell open a few days before Halloween knows he has to alert somebody of what is on it’s way. The problem is, nobody listens to a little boy. In fact, only his friends listen but they do not believe him. Good thing he has made friends with a not very demony demon. Together, he, his friends, his little doggie and his m ...more
Lee Thompson
May 25, 2012 Lee Thompson rated it liked it
3.5 stars. You can tell right away that this novel is meant for ten-year-old boys and had I been a ten-year-old still I would have absolutely loved it and rated it higher. It's a quick and easy read that's also a lot of fun. I really enjoyed Samuel and Nurd. Great quirky characters. Looking forward to the second book The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale
Jan 10, 2010 Trin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once again, it’s Good Omens Lite! Connolly achieves a sort of affable English—or Irish masquerading as English—good humor in his tale of the apocalypse (averted). But there’s not much there there, really. I read most of this book on Halloween, which was nice. But I’d still rather read Good Omens (again).
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John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper ...more
More about John Connolly...

Other Books in the Series

Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil (3 books)
  • The Infernals (Samuel Johnson, #2)
  • The Creeps (Samuel Johnson, #3)

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“I'm a ghost," said the small figure, then added, a little uncertainly, "Boo?” 26 likes
“He had never really speculated about this before, since demons came in all shapes and sizes. Indeed, some of them came in more than one shape or size all by themselves, such as O'Dear, the Demon of People Who Look in Mirrors and Think They're Overweight, and his twin, O'Really, the Demon of People Who Look in Mirrors and Think They're Slim When They're Not.” 23 likes
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