Wednesday, February 22, 2012
By John Connolly
The second book in a series of which the first book, The Gates, has the main character coming up against the demons of hell. The demons came through the gates between the two realms and young Samuel Johnson was instrumental in sending them back to hell and sealing the gates.
Samuel Johnson's main adversary from the first story was a demon called Mrs. Abernathy. Since Samuel's triumph, Mrs. Abernathy has been in disgrace for its failure. So when it sees a brief opening in the gates, it reaches out to snatch Samuel to hell intending to deliver him to the Lord of hell and thus get back in favor with the head demon. But during the process not only does Mrs. Abernathy snatch Samuel (and his dog), it gets a police car (with cops inside), an ice cream van and its attendant, and a van full of dwarfs.
So Samuel and various others find themselves wandering through the strange, frightening and depressing realms of hell without a clue as to how to get themselves back to the land of the living. But then Samuel meets some old friends from the previous novel and together they and the cops and the ice cream guy and the dwarfs will stand against all the dire forces of hell and especially Samuel's old enemy, Mrs. Abernathy.
This was an okay story. It was in the adult section of our library but it is really meant for older children or possibly young adults. It was often funny but clearly geared for a younger reader, with footnotes on how to annoy your parents and explaining things that an older reader doesn't need explained, like what a chancellor is or what truculent means.
There isn't a lot of meat to the story. The humans mainly just wander around experiencing the nastiness of hell. The most interesting part of the story was the power play by the demons who are moving to take over Mrs. Abernathy's position and gain favor with the ruler of hell.
So I did enjoy the humor but found the plot a little light but I think older kids, 12 to 15, would enjoy it.