The Devil's Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen

Travel to the depths of Hell in The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen, the first of The Great Devil War series.

Thank you to Shannon of R&R Book Tours for sending me a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Devil’s Apprentice follows Philip, a 13 year old boy who is “sweet, nice, dutiful, conscientious, non-judgemental, never lies, and is kind to animals”. When he is suddenly killed in a car accident, it’s a shock to find that he has been sent to Hell. Lucifer is terminally ill and Philip is now his Apprentice — and his first lesson is how to be bad.

It turns out that Hell is much like Earth. Devils go to school or to work, do chores and go shopping. It’s just that their jobs are punishing the condemned.

The Devil’s Apprentice is the first in a new series, The Great Devil War. You can find it in eBook, paperback and audiobook on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.

My review

My favourite part of the book was the lore and the universe that Kenneth has created. It’s a mix of bible stories, myths and legends around hell and the underworld. As a newcomer, Philip learns about Hell through other characters who explain what vargars, tempters and hushers are. I loved the bookshelves in Grumblebeard the gatekeeper’s house and in Lucifer’s study. The gatekeeper has a record of all sinners: What sins they have committed and how long they will be punished for. Lucifer has a record of everything about every single person: Their strengths and weaknesses, good and bad deeds, and their personality. I could picture the smell of old paper coming from the shelves!

While this is a Young Adult novel I don’t think it’s suitable for younger or sensitive readers. Some of the descriptions are quite gruesome and there’s a lot of dark humour. Each of the punishments suit their sins the condemned are guilty of. For example, the main boulevard, Maim Street, is paved with human heads that they must walk along to get to Lucifer’s castle, of “all those who stepped on others while they were alive.”

While it is the biblical explanation, I was a little upset that those who commit suicide are in Hell. I personally don’t believe that they should be described as “those who thought they took the easy way out.”

The Devil’s Apprentice is a little predictable but it’s a fun, entertaining and creative read. I liked Philip and seeing him learn and change throughout the story. If you are a fan of Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, the Atlantis Saga by T. A. Barron or the Bartimaeus Sequence by Johnathan Stroud I think you’ll enjoy this. I look forward to reading more in the series!

The blurb for The Devil’s Apprentice

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?

About Kenneth B. Andersen

I was born in Denmark on a dark and stormy night in November 1976… and I began writing when I was a teenager. My first book was a really awful horror novel titled Nidhug’s Slaves. It didn’t get published. Luckily.

During the next 7 years, I wrote nearly 20 novels — all of which were rejected — while working as a school teacher. The rest of the time I spent writing.

In 2000 I published my debut fantasy book, The Battle of Caïssa, and that’s when things really took off. Since then I’ve published more than 35 books for children and young adults in genres ranging from fantasy to horror and science fiction.

My books have been translated into more than 15 languages and my series about the superhero Antboy has been adapted for film, which is available on Netflix. An animated TV series is currently in development.

A musical of The Devil’s Apprentice opened in the fall 2018 and the movie rights for the series have also been optioned.

I live in Copenhagen with my wife, two boys, a dog named Milo and spiders in the basement.

About The Great Devil War

The Great Devil War was published in Denmark from 2005-2016, beginning with The Devil’s Apprentice.

Even though the story (mostly) takes place in Hell and deals with themes like evil, death and free will, it is also a humoristic tale about good and evil seen from a different perspective. A tale that hopefully will make the reader – young or old, boy or girl – laugh and think.

The Devil’s Apprentice is available in eBook, paperback and audiobook on Amazon. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.

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