So this is the first “half-way-through-book-review” I’m ever writing, and not only do I like the title because it rhymes, but there’s also a little secret story behind it. But don’t tell anyone, please. Ok? Ok. So… I almost made it on Santa’s naughty list! The thing is.. life and work and family and health kind of came in the way of reading lately. And then… to be perfectly honest with you… I also didn’t think I would like this book very much, and that is because of 1) the cover, and 2) the title, and 3) the theme revolving around the devil and hell. But you see, I also didn’t want to pull out of this blog tour because no #TheWriteReads #blogtour book ever let me down before, and I’m always trying to be open to new things too.
Well, I started reading yesterday and in my ebook version there’s around 700 pages… I thought I’d never get anywhere near as close as to where I am now – which is more than half-way through! And not a single page, sentence or word has been skipped! Instead I decided to write my review for the first half of the book, and enjoy reading the second half without rushing through it. And that is because… I LOVE this book so much!!! And no one could be more surprised about it than I am! But let’s start with the blurb to give you an idea what it is about before we start with my review.
Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne? The Devil’s Apprentice is volume 1 in The Great Devil War-series.
I’m so surprised to say this (no offense intended, everyone has their own taste, I just didn’t expect this would fit mine) but I really, really like this book, and that’s for various reasons.
First things first, I love the main character. Philip is a good boy. He never lies, he helps people, he is friendly and nice, does his homework way in advance and worries about his family and basically everyone else. To be honest, he kind of reminded me of myself a bit (not trying to be arrogant lol). In the beginning of the book, Philip dies and accidentally ends up in hell instead of heaven. Philip is 13 years old and there was a bully who was making his life very hard, and now that he’s in hell, he is coming across two other bullies too. I love the scenes between Philip and Lucifer – the devil himself, who is trying to corrupt the boy to make him a good successor for when he’s gone. Philip’s innocence and youth make for a great contrast to his hellish surroundings and the devilish characters around him.
However, Philip is not the only character here that I like a lot. Lucifer is another great character. He’s scary as you’d expect from the devil himself, but he’s also funny and… even if this may sound very strange, he also reminded me a bit of a fatherly figure after a while. Then there’s a couple more side-characters that I love. It is nice seeing that even though the book plays in hell, it is not turning my stomach or making me feel scared, as I was actually expecting. The story – even though it has mythological themes and some very deep moments – has a lightness about it that I absolutely adored.
Another thing that I liked a lot was the way hell is descibed in the story. Just as you would expect, it has condemned souls being tortured forever and a day (or should I say night), but then again it has other elements you wouldn’t expect at all. There are entire families living there, there are child devils, teenage devils who fall in love or have crushes. I liked that there is a very good description of what the place looks like when Philip arrives and that this description is something that fits our expectations (I think). Philip descends a very long staircase and there’s enormous gates, he hears the screams of the condemned souls being tortured, there’s fire everywhere (it’s blue though) and he feels heat. So there’s basically a nice play between our expectations and new elements, and I loved the mythological stories being interwoven in the story.
All in all I can say that I’m super excited to be part of this blog tour because otherwise I would surely have missed out on this great read that I recommend to anybody really. I think teenagers can read this, as well as adults. I can’t wait to find out how it ends! 4.5 out of 5 stars from me!
I would like to thank Dave from The Write Reads for offering me a place on this blog tour and providing me with an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review, as well as the author for this great opportunity.
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 both 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.