By John Connolly
Washington Square Press
I love me a little humor with my demons and end of world type books and The Gates delivered on that promise. This is my first Connolly book but I’ve picked them up before thinking that a fantasy thriller might work for me. It did, and now I can say it won’t be my last either.
Samuel Johnson is an enterprising 11 year-old. Instead of waiting for Halloween and having to fight the crowds, he decides to start trick or treating a few days early. Unfortunately for him, his mildly brilliant plan doesn’t work out the way he intended. Instead of loads of candy, he sees something in the neighbors’ basement that makes him believe his neighbor, Mrs. Abernathy, is now a demon. He soon finds himself attempting to convince his mother and friends that not only is Mrs. Abernathy an actual demon but that more demons will be arriving very soon through the portal that now exists in the Abernathy’s basement. No one wants to believe Samuel the end of the world is nearing which makes for an amusing little apocalypse tale.
Don’t pick up this book and think it’s a dark one; it’s actually a really funny take on the usual end of the world scenario and I enjoyed it quite a lot. There’s some slapstick here — even the dog gets in on it at times — and random jokes laced throughout reminding you what you’re reading isn’t serious. And that’s good! I wanted a break from my normal reading which was starting to feel heavy and this came along at the right time. One particularly amusing character in the book is a demon named Nurd who was banished to a flat, deserted world with a little annoying fellow as his only company. Somehow he ends getting sucked into Samuel’s world and befriends him. You see, Nurd is a nice demon looking for a friend to connect with. His little adventures, especially his one driving a Porsche, are a good interlude and I do wish there had been more time featuring Nurd.
What can I say, if you’re looking for a small break in your regular reading pattern, pick this one up. Connolly didn’t disappoint and thanks to this book, I plan to pick up more of his work.