Samuel Johnson is the kind of clever young boy that baffles and frustrates adults. He stumbles upon a demonic plan to jump-start the apocalypse and it’s up to him and his faithful daschund companion Boswell to stop it. They are occasionally joined by exiled demon Nurd, who enjoys his time on Earth when he’s not getting sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. The big bad here (besides Satan, who keeps threatening to make an appearance) is Mrs. Abernathy, a nasty woman, who is taken over early on by an even nastier demon. Then there’s the assortment of other demons and demonic-powered entities that start showing up, including: a Monster Under the Bed who is so endearingly incompetent its easy to forget he would eat Samuel Johnson if he’d ever agree to get out of bed; an unpleasant undead bishop, who is irked that he is trapped in a tomb; and a host of gargoyles who are saddened to realize that stone doesn’t fly, it falls.
It’s the kind of cheeky story that I think is a specialty of British humor. It’s funny and clever and Connolly continues to prove he is quite a talented writer (which I discovered after reading his dark fairytale The Book of Lost Things)....more
Points to Han for making it a truly beachy read. The present timeline and flashbacks really do invoke the hazy summer days of childhood, when you hadPoints to Han for making it a truly beachy read. The present timeline and flashbacks really do invoke the hazy summer days of childhood, when you had nothing to do but goof off and hang out and basically live in a swim suit. And it was a very fluffy and a fast read.
On the other hand:
(a) Belly is the stupidest nickname ever (up there with “Baby”) and I respect Bells less for not trying to shake it.
(b) I did not care for this love triangle. Both brothers sucked. And there was no chemistry. I think Cam (who Isabelle met first at a Latin competition then again at a bonfire) was great (smart, confident, cute, good at Latin(!), clean cut and clean living but not judgy, etc.), but sadly he was just a placeholder until the Fisher boys finally came around. I hated the Fisher boys when they were huge jerks to Cam out of jealousy. They make fun of him for everything, every chance they get. Grow up, Fisher boys! You suck! Conrad was the worst – moody, bad-boy-wannabe. Jeremiah was supposed to be the nice one, but he can’t be a man about anything. Belly deserves such a rotten love triangle! And Cam is lucky he got far, far away from this madness. Go find a nice girl who deserves you, Cam! ...more
Glad that Maguire left his weird at home for this one. This is a lovely story for an original tale that is perhaps the most tragic “fairy tale” of allGlad that Maguire left his weird at home for this one. This is a lovely story for an original tale that is perhaps the most tragic “fairy tale” of all. The Little Match Girl terrified and angered me as a child.
There is still tragedy, but Maguire focuses on the hope aspect of the story. It's a quick little fable and a good read to go into the holiday season with....more
Books about heroes in retirement are tough. They have everything they wanted (stability, family, safety) but they get a little antsy. Cue evil villainBooks about heroes in retirement are tough. They have everything they wanted (stability, family, safety) but they get a little antsy. Cue evil villain returning and throwing things in turmoil, and the hero having to step back up.
That's basically what happens in this book. Cadel finally has a real family, is in university and is still friends with Sonja. Then suddenly Prosper English comes back on the scene and everyone Cadel cares about is in the line of fire, starting with Sonja.
I find this part of the hero's journey less interesting for some reason. Maybe because the hero has gotten his happily ever after and I resent the fact that he still has to fight for it? Maybe because heroes in retirement are just not quite as badass as when they were still in the thick of things?
I don't know, but this book feels less awesome than the second one. Maybe the problem is really that Cadel is pretty much on his own for so much of this book. While others try to help him - and he uses some people - for the most part, it's Cadel fighting Prosper English and Fiona/Sonja/Saul are only bit players. I like Cadel best when he is with his support group. He is not as compelling when he is trying to solve everything by himself.
Still, this was a great series and I'm glad I stayed with Cadel until the end....more