The Infernals is published as a young adult novel under a different title (Hell’s Bells) in the U.K. It is the second in a series, following The Gates (which is lucky enough to be published under the same title on both sides of the pond).
Much was made in the U.K. of John Connelly’s switch to young adult fiction, something that was obviously ignored in the U.S. by publishing these books for the adult market. I enjoyed this article from Scotland, published in The Big Issue, for its mention of The Book of Lost Things (Atria, 2006), which Connolly calls “probably the best book that I’m going to write.” He also shares his thoughts on horror and younger readers.
Adult/High School–Demons from Hell are once again plotting to destroy Earth. In this follow up to The Gates (Atria, 2009), Connolly gives readers Round two of the battle. A portal between Hell and Earth has been reopened courtesy of excess energy generated by the Large Hadron Collider. Mrs. Abernathy (a demon) wants to reestablish her position with The Great Malevolence, ruler of the underworld, who has been in mourning since Mrs. Abernathy failed in her previous attempt to destroy Earth. She is determined to capture the ones who foiled her plan: 11-year-old Samuel Johnson and his dog Boswell. Reminiscent of Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens (Workman, 1990), this battle of good vs. evil is full of quirky characters including a variety of scary underworld denizens, Samuel’s demon ally Nurd, an ice-cream truck driver, and several dwarves on the run from the law. Told with unmistakable British wit, equal parts fantasy and humor, teens will enjoy the story’s elements of scheming, power struggles, and the wildly inappropriate behavior of the dwarves. The explanatory footnotes are funny but get to be a bit tiresome; however, they can be skimmed without detriment to the story. Although it is a sequel, The Infernals stands alone; Connolly provides a brief summary of the events in The Gates early on so that readers starting with this volume will still find it enjoyable.–Carla Riemer, Berkeley High School, CA