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The Gates

(Samuel Johnson #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  12,041 ratings  ·  1,744 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 ga ...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published 2009 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,041 ratings  ·  1,744 reviews

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Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to carol. by: Mimi
I probably should not describe a book about the gates of Hell opening as ‘cute,’ but here we are:

It was cute.

I haven’t read any Connolly before, not even the famous The Book of Lost Things, so I didn’t know what to expect–besides the fact that friend Mimi liked it. Turns out it was a quick little read that was clever and entertaining.

Samuel Johnson is avoiding Stephanie the Babysitter and her bossy tendencies when he and his faithful dog, Boswell (the constant companion), witnesses the new neigh
Will Byrnes
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

John Connolly - image from his site

Samuel Johnson, this one sans Tourette and any in
Jul 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book had me laughing out loud every several pages, it's a keeper! John Connolly just earned himself a fan.

In "The Gates", Samuel Johnson and his dog, Boswell, have stumbled upon a portal to hell when his neighbors unleashed demonic forces during a ritual gone wrong. With the help of his friends, a pair of misfit scientists and a demon, Nurd, Samuel must repair the rift between earth and hell to keep the Great Malevolence from taking over the world and destroying humanity.

The book is punctua
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Ɗẳɳ 2.☊ by: carol.
In Which We Learn about “The Gates” and the Subjective Nature of Humor, None of Which Is Entirely Helpful

And we’re off! With such a massive stack of horror books to work my way through this year, I wanted to get a jump on the seasonal festivities. And, thanks to Carol’s sage advice, this book made for a terrific jumping-off point. So much so, that I’ve already purchased a copy of my own to lend to my fifteen-year-old nephew. Here’s hoping he has as much fun with it as I did 🤞 . . .

The story begi
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Neil Gaiman
Shelves: blog, young-adult
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
Richard Derus
Rating: 3.25* of five

The Book Report: 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 gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some p
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this very much but let me say straight away it is nothing like any of his other books. Not the ones I have read anyway and that is nearly all of them:) This is really a series for older children and it is written in that light, entertaining way where, even when the world is filling up with beings from Hell, you just know nothing bad is really going to happen. Samuel, who is about eleven years old and definitely idiosyncratic, manages to repeatedly escape death by demon by luck not judg ...more
Sep 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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

“I'm a ghost,"
Said the small figure, then added, a little uncertainly,

I laughed a lot with this book. Dialog and footnotes are both so funny sometimes I ended up having tears in my eyes.

Samuel Johnson lives with his dog Boswell and his mother in a village. He starts Halloween earlier and when he stops at his neighbor house, the Abernathys, something terrible and horrifying happens. In their basement there is an explosion and after that some strange creatures emerges from a blue fire…
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
I loved everything about this one. Had a real Gaiman-esque feel to it.

Samuel and his dog Boswell, Nurd, the Scourge of Five Dieties, Shan and Gath the warthog demons getting hammered on Spiggit’s Old Peculiar beer and the very gates of hell opening in the quaint little town of Biddlecombe.

5 Stars and Highly Recommended.
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 dominant ch
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 Irish (or even 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
Jamie Stewart
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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!!
Apr 05, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
DNF at 80%

This is cute and fun, but it was starting to feel like a chore towards the end there... Made the choice to forcing things and just put it down.
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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.
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 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, halloween
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
Bookmarks Magazine
Dec 02, 2009 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
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, sci-fi-fantasy
Such a funny, quirky read. Perfect for adults who enjoy a little whimsy and irony, especially for a lighter Halloween pick. I really enjoyed this.
B.J. Richardson
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Imagine a sciency type fiction book, add some British humor, and make it a "children's" book that isn't really for children.

That is what I was told to expect when this book was suggested to me as some light Halloween reading. What I got instead? Poop. Yes, one big heaping steaming pile of poop.

Using the physical energy produced by the Large Hadron Collider and the spiritual energy (?) created by a few amateur dabblers in the dark arts, a portal between hell and earth is cracked open a slight bit
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Caro the Helmet Lady
I would probably enjoy this book much more if I was 12 years old. I would probably find it brilliant, extremely funny and inventive, and I'd suggest/insist to read it to all my reading friends. What a pity that I'm not twelve any longer. Still, it was worth reading and quite fun and it's more like 3.5 than just 3 stars. ...more
Dana-Adriana B.
Oct 24, 2019 added it
Shelves: own, dnf
Hard to believe it's a book for children. The story is strange and quite complicated, the characters are strange. It is hard to keep focas. Maybe another day I will try it.
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Cute. A children's version of Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, with heaping measures of “Harry, Ron, and Hermione,” and a strong hint of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in its narrative voice. While I did enjoy this, Connolly leaned a bit too hard on the juvenile humor for my taste, returning, for example, to the humorous idea of sticking things up people's bottoms far too many times. And, while I understand that for a juvenile audience the threat can't a ...more
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Casual Readers: The Gates by John Connolly (spoilers) 54 44 Feb 12, 2014 11:27PM  
Reading Buddy Style: October 2013-The Gates-Jakob 1 3 Sep 30, 2013 04:39AM  
What will Samuel do? 1 20 Jul 18, 2012 12:13PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Samuel Johnson (3 books)
  • The Infernals (Samuel Johnson, #2)
  • The Creeps (Samuel Johnson, #3)

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