Customer Reviews


93 Reviews
5 star:
 (37)
4 star:
 (26)
3 star:
 (22)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror for the young at heart
How do you categorise John Connolly, crime writer - yes certainly. Supernatural writer - well yes most of his crime novels have had a supernatural overtone so supernatural crime writer then. What about his book of horror short stories, Nocturnes - so that makes him a supernatural, crime, horror writer. Then there is his fantasy/fairy tale The Book Of Lost Things - so he...
Published on 17 May 2010 by Colin Leslie

› See more 5 star, 4 star reviews
versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To hell with you
What does a devilish summoning ritual, a sleepy little British town and the Hadron collider all have to in common?

Well, according to John Connolly's first book for kids, they're all going to contribute to the impending end of the world, aka the invasion of demon armies from Hell. "The Gates: A Novel" aims to be a quirky fantasy story with Porsche-driving...
Published on 18 Mar. 2010 by EA Solinas

› See more 3 star, 2 star, 1 star reviews

‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horror for the young at heart, 17 May 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
How do you categorise John Connolly, crime writer - yes certainly. Supernatural writer - well yes most of his crime novels have had a supernatural overtone so supernatural crime writer then. What about his book of horror short stories, Nocturnes - so that makes him a supernatural, crime, horror writer. Then there is his fantasy/fairy tale The Book Of Lost Things - so he is definitely a supernatural, crime, horror, fantasy writer. And then there is The Gates, damn it.....tell you what, lets just describe Connolly as one of the finest genre writers working today and lets hope The Gates is the book that lets everyone see the breadth of that talent.

Samuel Johnson and his dog Boswell (ha,ha) decide to get a head start on Halloween by trick or treating a few days early. Among the surprised neighbours to find a small boy dressed as a ghost on their doorstep are the Abernathys. The only problem is this quiet unassuming couple have invited some friends round and intend to open the Gates of hell. Only Samuel, Boswell a couple of friends and a demon called Nurd can prevent this catastrophe.

Quite unlike anything Connolly has written before, although there were hints with The Book Of Lost Things, The Gates is a laugh out loud fantasy. The problem with most comedy fantasy is that it's either not very funny (recent Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals excepted) or it's funny but with a convoluted i.e. not very good plot (are you listening Mr Rankin). Douglas Adams was one of the few writers who could consistently pull off humorous writing. John Connolly is a naturally funny guy, at a recent reading he had the audience in stitches with his observations on the Da Vinci code etc. and thankfully this has come through well in this story.

John Connolly has drawn on recent worries about the Large Hadron Collider and the completely bizarre world of particle physics to create a plot which whilst simple is also clever and well constructed. The footnotes throughout again reminded me of Adams, taking a sideways look at particle physics and explaining concepts in simple and often hilarious ways. The clever nods to horror writers of the past which are scattered throughout are also nice. John Connolly is a man who understands the horror genre.

This is a book aimed largely at the young adult market but one which could be enjoyed by all. At times genuinely emotionally engaging the characters are all interesting and well drawn. The characterisation can be compared with Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and although The Gates has a much lighter tone there are many similarities between the two novels.

My biggest complaint is only that when the book was announced I felt sure we were finally going to get the full blown horror epic that John Connolly is surely destined to write. This isn't it but hopefully the widespread appeal of this book will raise John Connolly's profile and maybe, just maybe that great horror novel is still coming.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 15 Oct. 2009
By 
mutlien "NT" (Warrington, Cheshire UK) - See all my reviews
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved The Book of Lost Things and expected this to be much the same... How wrong I was.

This is basically a simple tale about a boy and his dog who discovers that the neighbours are up to demonic things in the basement and that they have triggered a potential 'End of the World' when all manner of demons and devils spill out.

Then there's the demon 'Nurd' - who is just the best comic Demon with feelings.

At times this is Pratchett meets Python, others it's Blackadder meets...well, you get the idea.

Some of the humour had me laughing out loud on the train into work, and yes, some of this is old in terms of comedy, but hey - it's damned funny and well worth an investment... Especially if you're wondereing just might what happen when the Hadron Collider actually starts to do it's thing - read this book and you'll see what I'm going on about.

I loved it - it's a glorious romp, a simple read and one that I will re-visit during the dark journeys to work in Winter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To hell with you, 18 Mar. 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
What does a devilish summoning ritual, a sleepy little British town and the Hadron collider all have to in common?

Well, according to John Connolly's first book for kids, they're all going to contribute to the impending end of the world, aka the invasion of demon armies from Hell. "The Gates: A Novel" aims to be a quirky fantasy story with Porsche-driving demons, an evil undead bishop and a likably eccentric preteen hero, but Connolly is hampered by a tendency to talk down to his readers.

The Abernathys and their buddies the Renfields decide (out of boredom) to try a demonic summoning ritual in the basement (which is fairly inevitable if you live at 666 Crowley Road). Meanwhile in Switzerland, a weird blue particle appears in the Hadron collider and vanishes.

Apparently these two events just happen to coincide, and succeed in opening a doorway to Hell and allowing some demons to come through and possess the bodies of the Abernathys and Renfields. As if this weren't bad enough, the only person who knows about this is eleven-year-old Samuel and his faithful dog Boswell -- and of course, nobody's going to believe him when he says that Mrs. Abernathy is a tentacled servant of the Great Malevolence (aka Satan) and is planning to destroy the world.

And because of what he knows, Mrs. Abernathy is planning to dispose of Samuel to keep him from interfering -- but she hasn't reckoned either with the boy's determination or ingenuity. Samuel and his little band of friends must somehow stop Mrs. Abernathy's plan to bring the Malevolence into our world, even as their town is infested with flying skulls, lizard-women, gargoyles, horned devils, and the evil undead rising from the grave (including an evil bishop who likes to do unspeakable things with pokers). Can they stop the Gates from opening?

I get the impression that in "The Gates," John Connolly was aiming for a sort of Terry-Pratchett-with-a-dash-of-Douglas-Adams vibe. So unsurprisingly, he spins out the entire story with his tongue planted in cheek, with plenty of hilarious dialogue ("Barry! Christopher says the demonic horde are in your rose garden") and some rather unthreatening minor demons who seem to have trouble with basic assignments (they get drunk, hit by trucks, flushed down the toilet, et cetera).

And Connolly tries out a very different style from his previous books, embracing a sort of quirky, twee British style that you usually associate with classic authors like C.S. Lewis or early J.K. Rowling. Despite the mellow humor spread throughout the book, Connolly does conjure some moments of chilling horror when the major demons start arriving ("pale nightmarish visions consisting of little more than legs and bone and teeth"), and the demonic Mrs. Abernathy has a genuinely evil vibe.

"The Gates'" biggest handicap is that Connolly seems uncomfortably aware that he's writing for kids, and ends up sounding very condescending -- he gives definitions of words like "Malevolence," "deity" and "nefarious," as well as a number of painfully precious, pat-on-the-head lectures. These become less common as the book becomes more exciting, but it's very distracting in the first half.

But I'll give Connolly credit -- he does create a very likable little band of preteen heroes. Samuel is an enjoyably odd kid with a tendency to ask impossible questions of his elders, and a a never-say-die determination to stop the evil Mrs. Abernathy. And Connolly clearly had fun with some of the demonic characters, such as the rather downtrodden, car-loving Nurd (also known as the Scourge of Five Deities), or the elephant-eared blob who can't scare anyone.

John Connolly's first fantasy book for a young adult audience is hampered by a tendency to be condescending. But "The Gates" still manages to be a fun little dark fantasy with a distinctly warped sense of humor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hellishly good!, 15 Oct. 2009
By 
Richard Kelly (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I had never heard of John Connolly, but this books sounded a bit like something that Christopher Moore would write so I though I'd give it ago!

The basic story is as follows. Samuel Johnson decides to go trick or treating a few days early and finds one of the families who live down the road (at 666 Crowley Avenue) are not too impressed by his visit. After being shooed away he cathes his neighbour dressing in magical garb and he sees then enact a magical spell that opens a gateway to hell, the original energy for this comes from the Large Hadron Collider which opens a worm hole between there and here! From there we get a wonderfully tall tale about demons trying to take over the world and Samuel and his friends trying to stop them. It's all firmly tongue in cheek and is good clean fun. It is probably aimed at children 10+ but as the father of a 9 year old I also enjoyed it. There are a few scarey moments, but nothing that takes it into the realms of being a young adult book.

It really did remind me of a Chris Moore book (but with the adult scarey bits removed), if you are a bit older you may also enjoy the following books Practical Demonkeeping (Pine Cove Series) and The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror which run on similar themes but with more mayhem.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The gates are opening... mind your backs!, 10 April 2015
This review is from: The Gates: A Samuel Johnson Adventure: 1 (Paperback)
Wow! After the disappointing 'Book of Lost Things' I approached 'The Gates' with a high amount of scepticism, expecting it to be much of the same - a highly rated book that just didn't deliver. But I'm very pleased to have been proven completely wrong! This is everything 'The Book of Lost Things' should have been and I only wish now that I'd read this first.

Samuel Johnson and his faithful dog, Boswell, decide to get a head start by trick or treating three days before Halloween. But Samuel makes the mistake of knocking on the door of the Abernathys' house. An unassuming couple on the surface, it soon becomes apparent that they, along with a couple of their friends, have quite an unpleasant plan up their sleeves; mainly, opening the gates of hell. And so it's left to Samuel, his friends Tom and Maria, Boswell, Samuel's mum (and a demon called Nurd) to try and stop the residents of Hell from paying a (permanent) visit to Earth.

'The Gates' is a fantastic mix of real science, science fiction, fantasy, comedy and high adventure. Connolly manages to cover off themes including the Large Hadron Collider, Hell, the universe and how it works, and comedic encounters with demons. And somehow it works like an absolute dream.

I devoured this book, reading it during every spare moment I could find (and getting slightly irritated when I couldn't or was interrupted whilst reading it). It's aimed at the young adult market but definitely succeeds as a crossover to adult fiction; I know for a fact that my 40+ husband and 60+ father would enjoy it thoroughly. And although I can draw a lot of comparisons to Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys their novels, to do so would be an injustice. Because although there are definite similarities, this is a stand-alone piece. I've never encountered a book which covers so many different topics with such aplomb. And topics that usually I wouldn't find interesting in the slightest (science in all its forms not being my forte) but which kept me completely hooked nonetheless.

I now look forward to reading the next two in the series and finding out just what Samuel plans on doing to make sure the residents of Hell don't become the residents of Earth.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Connolly comes out to play, 13 Oct. 2009
By 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a fan of Connolly's thrillers, "The Gates" came as a surprise. It departs from Charlie Parker and his mysterious, brooding darkness. This isn't Connolly's first departure (see "The Book of Lost Things" and "Nocturnes", to name two), but I think it is his farthest. "The Gates" is almost a children's book, but John Connolly remains the skillful writer that he is, and it can be a book for grown-ups, too.

As his other books do, "The Gates" also deals with darkness and evil, but the protagonist that faces them this time is Samuel, a preteen, burgeoning, thinking geek with friends. And a dog. And a newly single mother. Connolly's tone here is lighter, less serious, verging on comic (if you have a sense of irony).

It is a mark of Connolly's abilities that "The Gates" comes off as enjoyable. The extraordinary things that occur when boredom brings on the beginning of Armageddon (idle hands and all that) -- demons, black holes, a seeming glitch in the Large Hadron Collider, the rising of the dead -- contrast sharply with their setting within an ordinary, quiet town and herald a momentous event (i.e., The End of the World). It is the curiosity, pluck, and bravery of Samuel -- with the help of his friends, his mum, his dog, and a stray scientist -- and the other ordinary townspeople that save the town, the day, and the world.

Read it because John Connolly wrote it, not because it might be another Charlie Parker story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, 4 Oct. 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sci-fi and fantasy isn't really my thing, but I thought this latest book by John Connolly (better known for his crime thrillers) sounded like a good read. It seems to be mainly aimed at children/young adults, but I think any age group could read this book and have fun doing so.

Samuel and his little dog Boswell, visit the Abernathy house to play trick or treat, but several days before Halloween. This is because Samuel is very clever and somewhat precocious and is "using his initiative". This kind of sets the tone of the book. What Samuel later sees in the Abernathy basement is the shocking opening of a portal into hell, through which come numerous demons, some of whom are thoroughly bad, and some who are actually quite nice.

Throughout the book, John Connolly makes the reader smile, whether with the story itself which is farcical to say the least, or with his footnotes, describing certain words or happenings in the story. He also endeavours to explain a lot of the scientific parts of the story, which helped me a great deal to understand a little more about portals, Hadron Colliders, etc.

Because of the genre I have only given it a score of 3 out of 5, but I think that most readers will get more out of it than I did, and I recommend this book to anybody who likes sci-fi and fantasy, but also anybody who likes a good comic novel.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Patchy but Promising, 14 Nov. 2009
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is Connolly's first outing for children and I hope there will be more because this one shows great promise. The story of Samuel Johnson, an eleven year old who finds out that his neighbours have opened the hell mouth in their basement and are about to unleash the devil onto an unsuspecting world, it is funny, exciting and sharp.

The excessive use of footnotes to make amusing meta comments on the text is reminiscent of Terry Pratchett, and quite funny, but as with Pratchett, I do find it a bit wearisome at times. It all gets a bit too arch and knowing. It does allow on occasion for some very funny comments though, so I would not like them to be removed entirely. Less is more with the footnotes though.

I loved the way he intermingles modern events such as the switch on of the Hadron Collider and current astrological and scientific thinking such as string theory and what the universe tastes like. It really lifted it out of the ordinary, run of the mill, kids versus demons thing, which without, it would have been. I feel it was a bit uneven and there were times when it did settle for the middle of the road, done it all before option, and times when it soared into arenas where I felt he really was forging new ground.

As such it showed great promise. More please.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Hell of a Giggle, 15 Dec. 2009
Imagine you are just out walking your dog at the end of your street and there is some huge bang coming from number 666. You go to investigate and find that some of your neighbours have been a little bit bored one afternoon and decided to open up another dimension and the gates of hell? What on earth do you do? This is the situation that school boy Samuel Johnson finds himself in three days before Halloween when he goes out `showing initiative' to do some early trick or treating with his sausage dog Boswell.

As no one believes him it seems that only Samuel can save the world from the evil Mrs Abernathy, or what has possessed the body of the originally not too nice Mrs Abernathy, and her mission to bring `The Great Malevolence' and all his followers to turn earth to ash and dust. Fortunately the portal also brings up the demon called Nurd, who has been banished from several parts of hell for not joining in with evil doings, who becomes an unlikely comrade for Samuel and a very funny one.

Whereas John Connolly's previous fantasy (I use that term loosely) novel `The Book of Lost Things' was an adult book that teenagers could enjoy `The Gates' is very much a book aimed at teenagers that will love it and adults who will love it even more so.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious and patronizing - in equal measure, 3 Oct. 2009
By 
still searching (MK UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Gates: A Samuel Johnson Adventure: 1 (Paperback)
What’s hot at the moment? Ah yes, children’s books featuring ghosts, goblins, spells, witches, wizards and all manner of demonic doings. What time of year is it? Ah yes, almost Halloween. What’s the zeitgeist - what’s so ‘it’ that you couldn’t possibly leave it out of an ‘it’ book? Ah yes, the Large Hadron Collider and quantum mechanics! Right let’s lump all of that together and throw in some suitably horrible, irritating and expendable adults, a cutesy dog and his impossibly precocious 11 year old owner; give them pretentious names and there you have it – a rival to The Time and Space of Uncle Albert. But then I forgot to add that it needs to be cliché free, footnote free and, above all, if you’re going to try to tackle an almost impossibly difficult and subtle scientific concept, free from misconceptions: as Richard Feynman once famously said, ‘if you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics’ one thing, the author should have borne in mind before foisting this on an obviously impressionable public. Oh, and another thing – when writing for kids – don’t talk down to them!

I’m admirer of this author’s Charlie Parker novels – but he’s seriously missed the target with this one!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 210 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Gates: A Samuel Johnson Adventure: 1
The Gates: A Samuel Johnson Adventure: 1 by John Connolly (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
£6.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12
The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12 by John Connolly (Paperback - 1 Jan. 2015)
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291)   
Buy new£3.85
In stock

The Book of Lost Things
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (Paperback - 5 April 2007)
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153)   
Buy new£5.59
In stock

A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 13
A Song of Shadows: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 13 by John Connolly (Hardcover - 9 April 2015)
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146)   
Buy new£7.00
In stock