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

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  10,039 Ratings  ·  1,498 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
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by Atria Books (first published 2009)
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Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had me laughing out loud every several pages, it's a keeper! I was actually expecting the tone to be quite like "The Book of Lost Things", also from John Connolly, but this one actually felt like a Stroud and a bit of Pratchett (I think these authors are their own genre). Nevertheless, I love these authors, and 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
Jul 04, 2011 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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Carol. by: M.
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
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 30, 2009 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
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams
Recommended to M. 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 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.

“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
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Άλλαξα 10 φορές τα αστεράκια από 4 σε 5 και το αντίστροφο οπότε βάζω 4 αλλά είναι στην πραγματικότητα 4.5/5.

Ο Σάμιουελ περνάει λούκι. Είναι πολύ έξυπνος για την ηλικία του και οι ανορθόδοξες παρατηρήσεις που κάνει στους δασκάλους του στο σχολείο πολλές φορές τον βάζουν σε μπελάδες. Ο μπαμπάς του έχει φύγει από το σπίτι και έχει αφήσει πίσω την πολυαγαπημένη του Άστον Μάρτιν, το τελευταίο οχυρό, που κάνει τον Σάμιουελ να πιστεύει πως κάποια στιγμή θα επιστρέψει. Η μητέρα του είναι θλιμμένη και χα
Richard Derus
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 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
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!!
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
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.
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
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
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  ·  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
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
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Maxine Marsh

4.5* Delightful.
Dec 29, 2013 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
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of deadpan zany humor
Recommended to Athena by: Carol.
This was a terrific read, a great romp of a thing written for the YA audience although it, like most excellent cartoons, crosses easily into adult territory too.

It has accidental hell gates, a stalwart hero and his faithful dachshund, and CERN scientists boldly going where angels fear to tread. If I wasn't 3 months behind on reviews I'd give this a proper write up but that will have to wait for the 2nd read of the book.

Fans of Carl Hiaasen or especially Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series will
Alisa Kester
Oct 11, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2011, ya
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
kostas  vamvoukakis
πολύ καλό και αρκετά κωμικό... έχει μερικές ατάκες που σκοτώνουν... πολύ καλά γραμμένο
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 24, 2014 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
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Casual Readers: The Gates by John Connolly (spoilers) 54 43 Feb 12, 2014 11:27PM  
Reading Buddy Style: October 2013-The Gates-Jakob 1 2 Sep 30, 2013 04:39AM  
What will Samuel do? 1 19 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
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)
“I'm a ghost," said the small figure, then added, a little uncertainly, "Boo?” 29 likes
“You can't prove that something doesn't exist. You can only prove that something does exist.” 26 likes
More quotes…