Lea's Reviews > Hell's Bells: Samuel Johnson vs. the Devil, Round II

Hell's Bells by John Connolly
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's review
Apr 30, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: acquired-2011, books-i-own, read-2011, reviews
Read from May 05 to July 19, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This continuation of the story begun in John Connolly's The Gates finds young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, once again fighting the legions of hell. This time, Samuel and Boswell have been pulled into hell itself by the demon Ba'al, who now lives as Mrs. Abernathy (having taken a liking to doilies, flowers and kittens while living as a woman on earth in the previous book).

Mrs. Abernathy has fallen out of favour after having her plans thwarted by Samuel and his friend, the demon Nurd, and she will stop at nothing to redeem herself and restore her position as second to the Great Malevolence.

Samuel, however, isn't completely on his own -- Mrs. Abernathy has also pulled several other people into hell with Samuel, accidentally; a van full of malignant (but oh so funny) little people, two policemen, and an optimistically upbeat ice cream man. Along the way, he also reunites with some old friends from The Gates.

There is a lot of great humour here, especially if you enjoy British humour.

I'm not sure I would consider this a kids' book, though. This is much darker than The Gates, and there are several very frightening parts, especially as Samuel wanders through hell. Connolly has taken the opportunity to make several observations about life and human nature, which are all wonderful, but probably difficult for children to grasp completely. (Some of the images are strong enough that they might cause nightmares.)

The story is resolved nicely, although the final chapter seems to indicate another book in this series is probably on the way.

I would recommend this for adults, especially for those who enjoyed the previous book, but I think it would only be suitable for older children.
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07/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Jake (new)

Jake Kerr Seems very positive for only three stars!

message 2: by Lea (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lea 3 stars = I liked it!

And I did like it -- I just didn't love it.

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