Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Gates by John Connolly

Hodder & Stoughton

I forgot to buy the nephew a pressie!

Fear no more, my child, your fairy godmother is here, and the present you need (*pouff*) is The Gates, by John Connolly, a magical tale that will scare the hell out of the poor child.
Don’t want that, do I?
Ah, but it does it in a cosy, reassuring, Englishy kind of way, and on the road to redemption the little one will learn lots of physics.
Do tell
You know the way many boys and girls love abstruse facts? This is riddled with physics stuff, told in exactly the right confiding whisper.
And is there a story?
Indeed there is. The Large Hadron Collider and Satan have got together, in the unlikeliest pairing since 50 Cent said he wanted to take Susan Boyle clubbing.
Or one of the Evil One’s other trade names. Unfortunately, as the residents of 666 Crowley Avenue dance in a pentacle at the same time as the Hadron Collider is doing its thing, there is a watcher.
Our dashing hero?
Exactly. Young Samuel Johnston and his trusty dachshund Boswell are peering through the window, having received a cold refusal while trick-or-treating.
How young?
Eleven; young enough to have a babysitter, the unspeakable Stephanie. Lots of evil in this story. Including the ex-residents of Number 666, who have been gobbled up and replaced by decaying versions of themselves.
Eee - don’t want to give the nephew nightmares
If he’s a delicate, nervy child, steer clear. If he’s the usual gruesome-loving little boy, go for it. Adult thriller author John Connolly struck the Dahl note in this kids’ book.
How does it end?
That would be telling. I can reveal that Johnson is a misunderstood hero in the tradition of Camus, and that a secondary demon, Nurd, is sulkily ready to thwart the plots of the Great Malevolence (alias Satan).
Worth buying?
I’d give you 666 to 66 that the nephew will love it.

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