Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult, Horror, “End of the world as we know it”
In the small, quaint town of Biddlecombe in England, Samuel Johnson and his trusty dachshund Boswell, discover that their neighbors at 666 Crowley Street have unintentionally opened the gates to hell, and have unwittingly been transformed into terrifying (kind of) demons. While Samuel is discovering his neighbor’s secrets, in Switzerland, some strange things have been witnessed at the Hydron Collider. In fact, the strange happenings there, match the strange happenings at Biddlecombe. When the adults dismiss Samuel’s theories, he decides to take matters into his own hands, and with the help of his friend tries to save mankind from destruction.
This book is great for beginners in the horror genre. While it has plenty of horror elements, such as the main theme, it still is quite reserved in some places. The scarier elements such as the demons from hell itself are very well described, very terrifying, and so creatively constructed that they are unimaginable. From this excerpt, you can see the true, and horrifying nature of the demons, and their bloodcurdling descriptions.
And still Ba’al grew: six feet, then eight, then ten, on and on, larger and larger. Two legs appeared, bent backward at the knees, from which sharp spurs of bone erupted. Four arms emerged from the torso, but only two ended in clawed fingers. The second pair ended in blades of bone, yellowed and scarred. A great mass of tentacles sprouted from the demon’s back, all of them twisting and writhing like snakes.
The other thing that I liked about this book is that the main character Samuel, is just an ordinary boy with no magical powers, and in fact the only thing that makes him special is his extraordinary wit. The magic is quite a bad element in this book as it is used only by the evil side. Throughout the story Samuel overcomes the obstacles thrown at him by Mrs. Abernathy using his mind, and nothing else, for example he is able to talk the monster under the bed out of killing him, but also makes him convey Mrs. Abernathy’s secret plans for world domination.
The book includes a side story about a demon called Nurd the Scourge of Five Deites, who is not as horrible as he sounds. He was banished from hell, to a wasteland along with another demon called Wormwood, because he kept annoying some of the other lesser demons. In the beginning he is portrayed as a bad guy, because of his coldness towards Wormwood, but later we learn that he is lonely, and actually quite a softie at heart.
The demons are one my favorite parts, because of their scariness (obviously), but also because most of them are actually quite nice, and only do bad things because they are bored, or are scared of being punished. The monster under the bed is a perfect example of that. He is trying to scare Samuel into stepping off the bed, but when he fails, decides to converse with him. Another thing that I liked about the demons is that some of the lesser ones are so funnily and specifically named, for example there is Schwell, the Demon of Uncomfortable Shoes; Ick, the Demon of Unpleasant Things Discovered in Plug Holes During Cleaning; Graham, the Demon of Stale Biscuits and Crackers; and, Eric, the Demon of Bad Punctuation.
But my favourite part in the whole, entire book was………………. Boswell. Yes, my favorite character was not the witty lead, or the dumb demon, it was the cute sidekick. Boswell has his own POV, and we got to see how protective he was of Samuel and his friends, how we would try and sacrifice himseld, and how even if he was in danger he would never leave Samuel’s side. Also I kept imagining him running along with his little legs, which added a very humorous element to the story.
The only thing I have to complain about is the usage of too much physics stuff, which sometimes flew over my head, but that wasn’t much of an obstacle to get through, so the book is nearly perfect in my perspective.
Happy Scary Reading!