It’s time for another joyful blogtour by TheWriteReads! Big thanks to Dave for sending another awesome book our way! Obviously also a big thank you to the author, Kenneth B. Andersen! This is the third instalment in The Great Devil War series, and I was looking forward to read this part and find out about our MC’s next adventures on earth… and in hell. But before I go into my opinion more, check out what the book’s about:
An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.
For his relatively young age, main character Philip has been through quite a lot already – through heaven and hell, so to speak – and not just figuratively speaking. It makes more than sense that he has had enough of these adventures for a while and just craves a rest. However, nightmares haunt him (but really, can you blame him?) almost every day, making him awake in cold sweat and horror often.
He dreams of his friend – and former bully, whose actions ended his LIFE once. In his dreams, Sam dies. I loved seeing Philip worry so much about Sam, someone he should actually hate. I think this is an integral part of Philip’s character, which I like a lot. One night he even calls Sam just to hear his voice, just to hear if he’s ok. While I found the execution of this scene lacking a little bit (I would have just come up with some kind of different excuse as to why he called him, if I were Philip, and found it a little weird that Sam bought his excuse so easily), it is still one of my favourite scenes.
Without wanting to give too many spoilers, there is another incredibly memorable scene for me in the book. A character from hell shows Philip how tiny little actions on earth – things you would never imagine are related – end up being linked to one another. Those of you who have read the book will know what I’m talking about. It is written so nicely – a cat, a car, a pedestrian, traffic, all seemingly unrelated elements end up like pearls being strung onto a necklace, stringing together a chain of events that have a big impact on people’s lives.
Another thing I really liked was that as Philip gets older with each book, his emotions change (as it happens). While before, other things were more important to him, it is now deeper feelings that fill a big place in his life. Friendship, jealousy (even if this was used as an element before), first love, all these feelings seem to matter more now. I found it especially interesting that the two girls in questions – Satina and Sabrina – have such similar sounding names. Something that will matter in the story, too…
I really enjoyed this third instalment of the series. I loved meeting many of the characters we know from books one and two again, and seeing many of the characters grow, including Philip. While he was just like an angel – Engel, as his surname says – in book one, the further we go into the story, the more we see that Philip, too, has his little flaws. All in all I have to say that he is very likeable though; I love his sense of justice just as much as his strong feelings for the people (if you can call all of the characters that) around him. Even though the whole story is very much centered around Philip, there’s still enough going on with enough bits of knowledge of the surrounding characters to make (or keep) them interesting, too.
As you would guess from a book about hell and the devil and death, it never shies away to bring up darker themes (obviously). However, the story also has plenty of humour and fun parts to counterbalance them. In this book though, the darker parts have become a bit darker, just as Philip’s emotions and relationships have become more mature, too.
One thing I’m still not fully sure about is who I would recommend this book too. Even though the main character is still young I doubt that this is one for children; however, fully fleshed-out horror fans might not get what they are hoping for either. So I’m recommending it to fantasy readers in their teenage years and up.
Since the story ends on a cliff-hanger I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series! I want to know what happens next! However, since some of the themes have become a bit repetitive I’m not sure how much meat is left on the bone for future books. And yet, this was another enjoyable, well written and thought-provoking read by Andersen, which is why I give it a 4-star rating.
About the Author
Kenneth B. Andersen (1976) is an award-winning Danish writer. He has published more than forty books for children and young adults, including fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and his hit-series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies. A musical adaptation of The Devil’s Apprentice, the first book in The Great Devil War series, opened in the fall 2018 and film rights for the series have been optioned.
Kenneth lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo, and spiders in the basement.