Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

The Gates

John Connolly

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Hodder Paperbacks

Published : 2010

Copyright : John Connolly 2009

ISBN-10 : PB 1-4447-0674-8
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-4447-0674-1

Publisher's Write-Up

A strange novel for strange young people.

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 Avenue.

The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with Satanism. But it just happens to coincide with a malfunction in the Large Hadron Collider that creates a gap in the universe. A gap in which there is a pair of enormous gates. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...

Can Samuel persuade anyone to take this seriously? Can he harness the power of science to save the world as we know it?

'A demonic, darkly comic tale... satisfyingly peppered with science, history and amusing footnotes on everything from St Thomas Aquinas to quantum theory, and will go down well with readers of Eoin Colfer and Lemony Snicket.'

Daily Telegraph

'Brilliant. I loved every word of it. John has found a voice that compares favourably with Stephen King and Monty Python which is not an easy trick. The Gates is delightfully horrific and hilarious and will create legions of fans among the living and undead, who will be bloodthirsty for more.'

Eoin Colfe

'Destined to be another runaway success appealing to both young adults and their parent alike.'

Sunday Independent
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Paul Lappen (180510) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
Set in present-day rural England, this novel is about young Samuel Johnson and his faithful dachshund, Boswell. Samuel is showing initiative by going trick-or-treating three days early. He sees strange things happening at 666 Crowley Road.

Looking in through a basement window, he sees two local married couples, the Renfield’s and the Abernathy’s, dressed in long black cloaks, and with a pentagram drawn on the floor. They got hold of a book of spells, and are playing at devil worship. Things work better than they expected, because an actual gate to Hell is opened. All four are taken over by demons from Hell. Mrs. Abernathy becomes the extremely sexual 'leader' of the invasion of Earth, while the others have become decaying, humanoid things that catch flies with their tongues.

What can Samuel do? His mother doesn’t believe him, and his father walked out on the family months before, and is now living elsewhere, with another woman. Knowing that Samuel is 'the enemy', Mrs. Abernathy sends some demons to take care of him, once and for all, but they are failures. Meantime, the invasion of Earth has begun, with 'minor league' demons coming through the gate, but the townspeople start to fight back.

Samuel recruits a couple of friends, Maria and Thomas, who is pretty good at whacking demons with a cricket bat. The only way to stop the invasion is to reverse the portal, which has now consumed the house. They get some unexpected help from Nurd, another demon who was planning to rule Earth, but had a change of heart.

Here is a wonderful piece of storytelling. It is made to be read aloud to older children (it may be a little too much for younger children). Adults will love it, because it is full of that dry, understated, British-type humour. Either way, this is very much recommended.
Paul Lappen (18th May 2010)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends