115. The Gates by John Connolly

The Gates by John Connolly (Canada) - (US)
Samuel Johnson vs The Devil, #1

Pages: 296
Ages: 13+
Finished: May 13, 2011
First Published: Oct. 6, 2009
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: YA, humour, paranormal, apocalypse
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

In the beginning, about 13.7 billion years ago, to be reasonably precise, there was a very, very small dot.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: I've always wanted to read this author and this sounded like a fun book to start with.

This is Connolly's first children's/teen book. It can be gross (in a demon/monster sense) and the language is a high level, not written down to anyone so I personally would recommend the book to teens even though the main character is only 11-years old. This book is humour at tongue-in-cheek's finest. Connolly takes stabs and jabs at all concerned and you need to be able to laugh at yourself and not take offense to appreciate this type of humour. Think Christopher Moore, but clean! without the profanity or sex. Seriously, the book is a riot.

The story involves Samuel Johnson who just happens to see his next door neighbour and some friends conduct a ritual in their basement which opens a portal to Hell and brings forth four of The Great Malevolence's top demons who take over the four unfortunate participants' bodies to prepare the way for his arrival to take over the world. What ensues is comic slapstick, witty repartee and just plain silliness, but it is full of demons, death and Hell, so not for the squeamish either.

I love Christopher Moore and got the CM vibe right away as I started to read so settled down for a comedic ride. If you are expecting thrills and chills this is not what you'll find here. The most endearing character is a down-on-his-luck demon named Nurd who has been shunned by the other demons and finds himself mysteriously zipping back and forth between our world and Hell. Once he is here to stay, we find out he is lovable in a stray mutt kind of way and he helps Sam who happens to be targeted for death by Ba'al, the GM's number one in command.

A fun book, which certainly made me smile, and giggle a few times. Not exactly laugh out loud funny, like Christopher Moore, but a good show nevertheless. The book ends obviously hinting at a sequel and a bit of searching shows me that a sequel has been released in the UK this month (May, 2011), Hell's Bells. I'll be keeping my eyes open for it's appearance this side of the ocean.


  1. Oh good! I've got this on my Kindle to read, and it sounds as though I'm going to enjoy it - I like Christopher Moore too, so a great recommendation. Thanks!

  2. One of these days I am going to read him!


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