Published: Oct 11, 2011
Number of pages: 309
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: fantasy, mystery, apocalypse
Verdict: 4 owl hoots out of 5
After a demonic attack from Hell, things are quiet again in the small town of Biddlecombe. Samuel and his dachshund, Boswell are living back to their normal lives with their friends and family, although Samuel can’t help but miss Nurd since he left Earth to save it from an apocalypse. But things don’t always continue to be normal for Samuel and his dog as they are pulled away through a portal sending them to Hell with the infernals. Unlike last time, the boy and dachshund aren’t alone as they’re accompanied by a band of Mr. Merryweather’s evil dwarves.
Another thrilling adventure for Samuel and Boswell as they go where no human has ever gone before: Hell. Poor Samuel, first he asks a letterbox to go on a date with him, becomes a laughing-stock at school, and now he’s stuck in the least part of the universe he wants to be. Fortunately Samuel and Boswell aren’t alone as they discover that an unlikely group of elves I mean, dwarves are trapped with him, along with an ice cream man and his van, and a pair of clueless policemen.
I enjoyed reading this sequel as John Connolly gives us a detailed description of the many parts of Hell including the Mountain of Despair and the dangerous Void that turns things into nothingness. My favorite parts were the battle scenes with an appearance by the dreadful infernals as Satan and Mrs. Abernathy continue their siege on Earth. Even in Hell there are these strange and colorful demons that are harmless including Shan and Gath who possess a liking to Old Spiggitt’s beer and are immune to its dangerous side effects. And then there is Samuel’s best friend, Nurd who unlike other demons doesn’t want to take over anything but rather find a place for himself and with his companion, Wormwood.
I find the friendship between Samuel and Nurd to be charming. Nurd, no longer the Scourge of Five Deities sees the goodness inside of him, and rather chooses to protect him from Satan’s allies. Ever since their first meeting, Samuel and Nurd have been inseparable, and it is this shared bond that they both find each other in the most depressing place of the universe.
The narration is clever as the story is told in third person, but in a way as if someone is directly telling us the story. Even the footnotes are cleverly written, as we’re educated with facts of history, science, and pretty much anything of relevance. Some of these footnotes are detailed and long, and there are few that take up half the page. Other than that, I love the narration and the colorful character dialogue. And the dwarves are hilarious as they remind me of a twisted version of the seven dwarves from Snow White, but with more attitude and mischief.
Can’t wait to see how the trilogy ends in The Creeps!