Kristen's Reviews > The Gates

The Gates by John Connolly
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's review
Aug 01, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

You wouldn't expect that a story about the gates of hell opening and attempting to destroy the earth and every human on it would be screamingly funny, and highly entertaining and clever, but it really is!

Eleven-year-old Samuel Johnson is trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating three days early, (which should make clear immediately that he isn't your typical eleven-year-old English boy and that this will not be your average coming-of-age story).

Because he rings the wrong doorbell on the wrong evening, Samuel and his little dachshund Boswell are the first to discover that the gates of Hell are about to open, which will lead to a great deal of rude unpleasantness in the lovely small town of Biddlecombe.

Samuel decides to do something about the unpleasantness, and quickly becomes embroiled in an adventure of epic proportions, involving incompetent - but polite! - demons, his two clever young friends, a lot of ingenuity, an Aston Martin, and, of course, faithful Boswell.

This is a crackingly wonderful book from start to finish! Although I'm not certain that this was written as young adult or children's fiction, as long as the child in question isn't easily frightened, this could be a wonderful story to demonstrate that children can be resourceful, brave and clever. Samuel is the hero of this story, and throughout all the unbelieveable things that happen, he stays just himself while attempting to save the world.

That isn't to say that this is not an enjoyable book for adults as well, because much of the humour is clearly directed to the adult reader, and the sly, smart-aleck asides, many done as footnotes to the text are laugh-out-loud funny!

The characters in the story are all wonderfully inventive and the cheeky humour that author John Connolly infuses into absolutely every page of the book is delightfully off-centre, and reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's somewhat twisted version of reality although Connelly certainly has his own unique style that stands on its own merit.

The story is a very fast and easy read, but the intelligence and creativity of the book, combined with the evil humour from start to finish makes it a must-read if you like smart-assed, intelligent and very, very funny fiction. Highly recommended!

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