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The Devil's Apprentice - by Kenneth B. Andersen (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?

I loved this book because it's exactly my style. It's creepy and with devilish elements (be sure it's pun intended) but also sweet and innocent because of the main character Philip who is more than a little lost in Hell. Who wouldn't be though?

It's a fast read and yet it feels like an entire year-long adventure, which is an interesting sensation for sure, one that I really enjoyed. The plot moves along beautifully, with a well-defined pacing that comes along as a dance routine of young thrills and explorations. I would've never believed I would say this, but Hell doesn't sound that bad now. The demons were all cute with their dad jokes and I could only smile while reading their horrifying descriptions that contrasted so much with their unique personalities. About those descriptions, there are quite a lot in the novel (as the protagonist is more or less like a newborn in this world) but they are done in such a manner that they become interesting and quite fascinating, with a pacing of their own.

Lucifer and Lucifax were a comedic duo that weren't trying too hard to be funny and it's truly amazing how this story made me appreciate and care for the old fella. I also enjoyed the more philosophical parts of the story, about good and evil and the true machinations of life on Earth (they all made sense in different contexts too, which shows a great attention to details). It is a middle-school coming-of-age novel that is fun and cute with the new thrills of a love interest present, but what it's unique and amazing about it is how it chooses to portray some of the moral lessons and how it combines the adventure elements with actual historical facts that can be perceived as educational. The best lesson and message I've learned from this novel: there is no clear definition between good and evil, as one cannot exist without the other. Again, life is a lot more complicated and complex than we are initially taught to believe.

I can only praise and appreciate the balance of writing such a novel that can appeal to a larger audience. It was a relaxing experience that made me re-evaluate myself at times and think about my own teenage adventures. I would recommend this book to anyone but be aware that it is about an adventure to Hell, so death and torture are a given (albeit they are not explicit); that was your warning in case you needed it. If not and you're more like me, then go for it; you won't regret it and you might just find your new obsession. I, for one, I'm more than ready to read the entire series.



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