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Fans of John Connolly's Charlie Parker series don't need to be told what a gifted writer and storyteller he is, but The Gates will come as a delightful surprise. The Parker novels examine the very nature of evil in men and its insidious roots in the human soul, giving life to villains so twisted that one has to wonder at the inner workings of the mind that created them. The Gates doesn't answer that question, but it does provide a peek at the side of Connolly that allows him to wander around freely without someone trying to lock him up just in case there's any part of him that is what he writes.
The hero is 11-year-old Samuel Johnson, an odd and inquisitive boy living in the quaint English village of Biddlecombe. The fun starts when the neighbors at 666 Crowely Rd., looking for something to do on a boring evening, open The Gates of Hell. Not intentionally of course, but these things can happen if you bring home odd, old books from the used book store written in languages you don't recognize, dress up in black robes and mutter incantations.
Meanwhile . . . on the other side of the world scientists in Europe are tinkering around with the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator designed to smash protons together with the hope of discovering the existence of other dimensions. Something goes horribly awry and the two events coincide to threaten to "end the world as we know it." Samuel happens to be peaking in the basement window when the Gate emits its first blue twinkle of evil and charges himself with the task of shutting back up the Gates.
The witty, wry prose is brought vividly to life by gifted narrator Jonathon Cake, whose portrayal of Connolly's imaginative cast of quirky (and mostly incompetent) demons, monsters and townsfolk sets a perfect stage for wonderful theater of the mind.
This book will delight both children and grownups and I thank Mr. Connolly for reminding me of the child inside that can still giggle out loud.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
A little bit cute, a little bit silly, a little bit LOL. This missed a fifth star by just a few giggles. Up until John Scalzi I did not believe I liked Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Humor books. Kurt Vonnegut and Douglass Adams had turned me off to such books. I like Terry Pratchett a little better, but not enough to keep me buying his books.
This stars an eleven year old and if your child is good with R.L. Stine, then I believe he/she will enjoy the book. I am not saying it is a children's book and I believe all ages will enjoy it. One of the side characters is Boswell the dog. Putting a dog in a story always makes the whole story better. Boswell is a great character in especially that he does what a dog does and nothing else. There are several side characters and a lot of them are demons. I really like the demon under the bed. The heroes of this book are the kids and a demon.
I first meet JC when I read The Book Of Lost Things and that is still my favorite JC book. I did not like so much The Unquiet or The Reapers, but this book has made me want to explore his writing some more.
If you like Fantasy with humor and if you like when Good beats Evil, then you will really like this book.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful