Title: The Devil’s Apprentice
Author: Kenneth B. Andersen
Series: The Great Devil War I
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Date of Publication: October 8, 2018
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Philip is a thirteen year old boy who has always been well behaved. He’s a boy scout, he does his chores on time, and he’s always eager to help anyone who might need his assistance. But when he dies unexpectedly, a mix up causes him to find himself in hell. Not only is he expected to stay there, but he is required to enter training to become the successor of the Devil himself. Philip must learn to survive, but who can he trust? And, most importantly, will he still be the same person when–if–he gets out of this?
I generally don’t read young adult books that are on the younger side, but when the author of this book reached out to me, I was intrigued by the premise, so I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did! This book reminds me of C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, but less boring. It’s a very quick read, with lots of action, adventure, some horror, and just a little bit of romance.
This book is a lot darker than I thought it would be! Of course, it’s set primarily in hell, so it stands to reason that it wouldn’t be filled with sunshine, rainbows, and frolicking kittens. However, there are quite a few gruesome parts that bumped up my age rating from middle grade to young adult. The story itself is quite intriguing throughout. As I said, it’s very fast paced, and it has quite a few twists and turns along the way!
As you may have already figured out if you read the previous sections of this review, this book is set in hell! Andersen does a fabulous job of jumping right into the story, intricately weaving worldbuilding into the story itself. He’s created a detailed world, but I never noticed being overloaded when this information was being revealed, which is a sign of a talented writer.
The Devil’s Apprentice was translated from the original Danish, but you could never tell by the way the words read on the page. Characters have amusing names, (again reminding me of a CS Lewis book), such as Grumblebeard and Shrillclaw, and there are little bits of humour thrown in, like when Philip takes a stroll down Maim Street (Hell’s version of Main Street).
It’s refreshing to read a book where the nice guy actually gets ahead in life (or death). That said, the main character, Philip, has some interesting personality developments throughout the story. I won’t say more about that at the risk of revealing too much. I will say that some parts felt a little cliche; however, this book is targetted to younger audiences and has a fresh take on these cliches, so I didn’t mind one bit.
Philip develops several relationships over the course of the book, including ones with a young female devil named Satina, Lucifax, the Devil’s cat, and one with Lucifer himself. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like these relationships were explored quite to the depth of my liking. The book is on the shorter side, with more of a focus on Philip’s individual personality development and the plot. The progression of Philip’s relationship with certain characters felt a little rushed to me. I do think that future instalments in this book will likely explore these relationships more.
Ultimately, I recommend this book to anyone looking for a younger young adult fantasy book, one that has a compelling take on what living in a hell dimension would be like.
*Thank you to the author for a ebook for review*
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