While all of that is fun, it is very far off the sidelines of the book, but is an interesting thought to add to your reading enjoyment. In essence The Gates is an adventure story about a boy, and his dog, and his friends, and mostly about how no one believes you until it's too late. Also, for good measure a healthy dose of coming to terms with divorce and what to do when your a not-so-really-bad demon that just doesn't fit in. So it's a hodgepodge, but a very enjoyable one.
Connolly is particularly good with asides. The book comes alive in his little explanatory moments to the reader such as:
- Whenever someone uses the word 'glitch', which means a fault of some kind in the system, you should immediately be suspicious, because it means they don't know what it is. A technician who uses the word 'glitch' is like a doctor who tells you you're suffering from a 'thingy', except the doctor won't tell you to go home and try turning yourself on and off again.
Which shows how much fun can be had in footnotes, and also that I might be going to the wrong type of doctor.
Some of Connolly's books verge too close to the macabre for older children or night reading at all (I'm looking at you Nocturnes) but The Gates is a perfect older child book because it doesn't condescend to them; includes some really good tidbits of science, history and art, just enough to peak an interest if it's there; and most importantly is a great read. Perfect for the precocious preteen we all know and want to shut up for a minute or two. It might be best to carry this book with you on journeys for just such a reason. But it's also great fun for the adults, who like me, don't always want the tomes but have a strong desire to stay away from anything that ends up on a best seller list in Borders.
But, as Reading Rainbow has taught us: You don't have to take my word for it.