Thursday 3 October 2013


The Gates by John Connolly
Read by Jonathan Cake
Book 1 of Samuel Johnson series
Genre: middle grade urban fantasy
Format: hardback & audiobook

About The Gates:
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 Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...

Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

Bursting with imagination, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.

John Connolly manages to re-create the magical and scary world of childhood that we've all left behind but so love to visit. And for those of you who thought you knew everything you could about particle physics and the universe, think again. This novel makes anything seem possible.
Source: Info in the About The Gates was taken from GoodReads at on 21/10/2012.

Narrative Evaluation:
As a middlegrade book, it demands that the reader suspend disbelief a great deal more than normal adult fantasy books. And the story telling style is obviously of middlegrade tone. I can cope with all that because the author also gave it a satarical flavour with humour which makes the book enjoyable to read and listen to even to a non-middlegrader like me.

I usually listen to this book while I am driving to work or driving home from work. At the same time I was also reading Cold Days by Jim Butcher at bedtime. Both books have "gates" theme in their story as the central conflict in the plot. At first I thought I've been reading too many urban fantasies that I now got things all mixed up in my head (which I probably read too much urban fantasy anyway)... but when I stopped and thought about it, it wasn't just me reading too much urban fantasy, but it actually read like both Jim Butcher and John Connolly were copying each other's idea, but, giving each book a distinctly different flavour, each in their own way. I don't mind them not having too terribly original an idea, it's the way the story was told that tips the balance towards me buying the books. However my opinion is not without bias as I am a die-hard fan of both Butcher and Connolly. It is therefore unsurprising that middlegrade tone or not, I would continue following this series until the series gets intolerably middlegrade-toned or until the series ends.

Empirical Evaluation:
Story telling quality = 4.5
Character development = 4
Story itself = 3.5
Ending = 4
World building = 3.5
Cover art = 3
Pace = (7 hrs and 27 mins listening time)
Plot = 4
Narrator = 5

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 cherries


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