December 2nd Blog Tour
Title– The Devil’s Apprentice. The Great Devil War
Author– Kenneth B Andersen
Publisher– Host and Son
Publication Date– 15 Oct 2018
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.
Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training Philip in the ways of evil. Philip is terrible at being bad, but when he falls in love with the she-devil Satina and experiences the powerful forces of love and jealousy, the task becomes much easier.
Philip finds 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?
I was approached by the Write Reads and asked if I wanted to join an epic book tour. I have this sort of low-key adoration for the Write Reads based on their fantastic promotion of blogs and bloggers and their ability to make me smile. So I blindly agreed to review whatever it was.
Yeah. I had no title, no genre, and no clue what I was getting into.
After receiving the email regarding “The Devil’s Apprentice” I did a quick cover search and assumed it was an adult fantasy novel. Probably somewhere along the lines of Joe Abercrombie, J.V. Jones, Steven Erikson or George R R Martin. A massive undertaking of Herculean proportions.
Still, I refused to let Write Reads down, and so after a long day of packing and unpacking boxes, I lay down on the bed and started the book on my phone.
2 hours later I realised that the sun had gone down and I was finishing the final few chapters in the dark with 11 per cent battery left.
First up- Not an adults book despite what the cover looks like. It’s a fantastic Mid-grade/Teen read suitable for anywhere between 11 and up.
I loved it. Seriously adored every second.
The basic premise is the devil is dying and needs a replacement. He searches for the nastiest boy on earth and organises an early death. Except Death makes a mistake and instead Phillip is accidentally taken to hell. The thing is Phillip is possible the worst choice ever to replace Lucifer. He’s polite, well-mannered, kind and would never tell a lie. But Lucifer has no choice and begins to teach Phillip the ways of being evil. Phillip makes friends and enemies in Hell but when he uncovers a sinister plot who can he really trust in a place like this?
Rather than a hero, we get a villain who really has no idea how to be bad. His foray into evil training left me in stitches, especially when he kept doing the right thing, much to the devil’s chagrin.
The world-building was brilliant as it was detailed enough that you could imagine it but not too detailed as to take you away from the story. Similarly, the descriptions of some of the locations were wonderfully built but not intrusive.
Hell itself was an intriguing place. Yes there were people who were being tormented, and those punishments themselves were satisfyingly fitting to their earthly sin, but Hell was also a place where demons worked and lived and went to school and we were shown a different side to the orthodox view of hell which I found fascinating.
Now I am a fan of a BBC radio comedy program called Old Harry’s Game in which a very kind atheist gets sent to hell but he’s so nice that the Devil (Old Harry) spends most of his time talking to him instead of torturing him. This book had lots of the same nuances of ironic torments and subtle sarcasm.
I enjoyed both the primary characters of Phillip and Lucifer and even the secondary characters of Lucifax, the cook and Satina were brilliantly executed. Phillip’s romance does feel a little forced at times but then again I have never been a 14-year-old boy so I really wouldn’t know if that is the way they genuinely feel.
That said, Phillip as a protagonist was great and his slow transformation was masterfully done.
I am religious but I never thought that the book was offensive, irreverent or particularly sacrilegious. There was no sermonising or denigration of other’s beliefs and I really enjoyed that.
The book is a page-turner to be sure. Despite the front cover really not matching the age range (a subject I’m going to do a whole blog post about) I was really immersed into the world straight away. It was both an easy read but with enough language to be challenging without patronising.
I enjoyed this book so much that I have ordered it and the follow-ups for our library system as I definitely think that this will appeal to boys who are too old for R. L. Stine and Anthony Horowitz but maybe too young for Steven Jackson.