Review: The Infernals: A Samuel Johnson Tale

Editorial Review - - Joe Hartlaub

THE INFERNALS establishes that John Connolly is writing another series besides his wonderful and addictive Charlie Parker novels. THE GATES, Connolly's previous work, was about Samuel Johnson, a young gentleman on the cusp of adolescence who thwarted a plot hatched in Hell to invade Earth. It was variously labeled a fairy tale for adults, a horror story for young adults, and all sorts of other ... Read full review

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In the novel The Infernals by John Connolly, a sequel to the novel The gates, the title is the name of all that inhabit Hell, explained by the author as a dimension where the souls lost to sin go after death, condemned there for the rest of their immortal being. It also obviously relates to the meaning of the word infernal, referring to hellish, fiendish, and diabolical beings. But underneath the obvious there is the conflict of whom the true infernal are, and the need for evil still lays in the two dimensions: Hell and Earth.
The story begins where we left off in the small town of Biddlecombe, England, where the memory of the recent attack of all hell’s inhabitants, is slowly fading away. Told in the second person point of view, Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are pushed into the reader’s attention. Samuel is an engaging character, in which you find yourself feeling sorrow towards. Since the town of Biddlecombe seems to blame him and his, rather to aware of being a dog, Boswell - and quite frankly is not enjoying it- for Hell’s recent interest in trying to take over it. Although the story veers towards Samuel, the author explains the misfortunes of the demon Nurd, whose connection with Samuel is stronger than with his own parents, causing Nurd to open his heart and discover new traits about his self and others.
The book is an easy read for advanced readers and a highly motivated one for proficient and reluctant readers. For the mix of horror, humor, and engaging characters this book ranks a 5/5 for teens. For adults the comical remarks of both author and character will be a vague reminder of the works of Stephen King, along with the conflicting views of faith and science discussed incessantly in both story and footnote. Keeping the adult reader asking the question of, “who am I really?” In the book Nurd is asked how he had gotten so clever, and he replies by saying, “Because I realized I wasn’t as clever I thought I was before.” This is something that both teens and adults can mull over, are we really as _______ as we thought. Will we come to a revelation to better ourselves, or will we lives out our lives in a false identity?

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