Another epic addition to a phenomenal series. Equally comical and witty as the previous installments and with a darker tone that throws you into an amazing adventure.
Synopsis: When Philip becomes a part of some unfortunate circumstances that result in the early death of school bully, and friend, Sam, Philip must return to Hell, fix this mistake and restore fate.
But this is not as easy as it seems, Hell is in trouble, and nobody can be trusted. As Philip tries to save Sam, he ends up embarking on a much darker journey.
Before I jump into the review I just wanted to say a big thank you to Dave @The_WriteReads for giving me a spot on this tour, I have really enjoyed this series and am so thrilled to have been able to continue it and review it! So i’m going to structure this a little differently to my usual reviews since I don’t want to be too repetitive in regards to my previous reviews.
Kenneth B Andersen again manages to masterfully create a compelling and powerful narrative that cleverly balances humour and comedy alongisde the darker themes of fate, mortality and death. We follow Philip as he again returns to Hell to right a wrong and restore Fate, the perspective is one we are familiar with but Philip has had more time to develop, he is still thoughtful and caring but now has a tendency to make decisions that can be selfish, his personality is more rounded and flawed and this adds another interesting dynamic to the story’s narrative because Philip’s actions are a little less predictable – which I loved!
As ever the writing is incredibly descriptive and immersive, the rich detail and imagery pulls you into the underworld and keeps you there. The fast paced story, and the evocative language connects you with the characters, their motives and their emotions and makes you love them even more as the adventure goes on. This series is perfect for pulling you out of a reading slump, which this book did for me as it is a fun but dark adventure that is easy to read but is multi-dimensional and exciting.
Being the third book this one sits in-between Philips initial development and the start of the bigger war/conflict and yet it manages to deliver an impressive story of development and works wonderfully as a build up to the larger problems Philip will face. As a whole this book manages to develop this amazing world even more by exploring Paradise and another ancient Underworld, widening the world that we know and allowing us to understand more about how it works. I adored how we dived into another version of the underworld, it introduced us to some more popular figures in mythology (surprising and clever – loved how this played out) but also served to tell a story about what happens when beliefs change – this was incredibly interesting and added a creepier and darker element to the story as a whole.
The other underworld was not the only interesting thing we delve into, we also get a deeper look into Paradise which was fascinating. Here we also get introduced to some new people, and a very fun literary figure (I actually loved this because I was a massive fan of this figure as a child and their characters!!) The take on Paradise was also interesting, how the people there spend their time, it is a twist on what a lot of people believe and I found this to be very intriguing. I also adored the conflict between Lucifer and Michael – as an avid fan of mythology (and Supernatural but whatever…) I found this to be a clever and hilarious addition to the story that worked really well, it added depth to the characters, to their history and served for some comical and witty conversations. Paradise manages to be developed on very well in this book and we get a lot of new information given to us, but naturally and organically, that plays into a bigger picture, we git an in-depth look into the mechanics of this world but it is still fun and full of adventure- it maintains the charm this series started with while adding an edge of complexity that is entertaining and intriguing.
On the surface the book appears to be a simple, linear story of rescuing Sam and restoring Fate, but it is so much more than that. This book is a subtle web of lies, deceit and secrets, with little mysteries that all entwine to reveal a bigger and much darker picture. As Philip attempts to fix the mistake of Sam’s death, he embarks on an adventure with many more shocking twists and turns than he originally anticipates and the more that he uncovers the darker the story becomes. This was the perfect way to transition the story into a darker tone, the progressions from light and comical to more dark and deadly was natural and smooth and worked well alongside Philip’s own development as he too gives into his darker side. It perfectly sets up for the next book and was a thrilling journey where you could slowly untangle the dark plot that is brewing.
Not only does Philip’s character go through some intense development, so do the other main and side characters. We see each character develop more as this story goes on whether it is individually or through personal relationships and this was done wonderfully and ties in well with the previous books. Sam’s character particularly is rather interesting in this story as he grows and develops during his time in Hell. Of course, I was thrilled that Lucifer was again more prominent in this story as we see his bond with Philip grow and affect him emotionally, Lucifer was a funny, witty, sarcastic and bad as always but his soft spot for Philips gives him a lot more character and I loved it. But, of course, Philip goes through the most striking changes throughout this story as he is tried, tested and disappointed, by the end of the book his character is conflicted and I found this to be one of the most interesting character arcs to watch play out.
Despite Philip still being a child his character is easy to relate to, he is tested in extreme ways, his development is conflicted and complex and his emotions influence his decisions making him a very realistic character that can connect with a wide range of audiences. But, he still maintains the childlike hope and innocence for a significant portion of the story, he hopes to see his father, protect his friends and family and generally hope for the best possible outcome in all scenarios, it is a quality that makes his character easy to adore.
I really loved this installment in the series and I think it perfectly establishes the tone of the next book, it sets up well for the darker turn the series takes and really fleshes out the characters we already know and love. The addition of the newer characters works wonderfully and the tension and conflicts that run through this book are perfect, it adds wit and humour to keep the book fun and fast paced while maintaining a dark unertone that slowly manifests itself over the course of the story. This series is truly a fantastic read for all ages and it highly original and unique – it is well crafted, strong in its message and deals with the themes it sets out perfectly. The characters and their relationships are well-developed and fuly realised, as they age their emotions and motives change and, as a whole, they grow but maintain their realism.
The book still manages to deal with the themes of death, mortality, life and self-identity without being repetitive. This book takes an in-depth look at what makes you who you are, particularly as you grow, change and face obstacles or challenges and shows that you dont have to be perfect to be good at heart, that you can make mistakes and recover from them. Not only that, the book looks at death and mortality through a new scope (to avoid spoilers I wont go into too much detail) and it delves into what makes life valuable, what makes our experiences valuable. The fresh look at these important and hard-hitting themes combined with the comedy and realistic characters works wonderfully to create an epic story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved how we got to see new mythological or well known figures, how we got to see more of Paradise and the workings of the afterlife as a whole and how everything intertwined to create a much bigger picture of betrayal and deceit. The inner workings of Hell and its demons are laid bare in this book and we see how characters navigate their limitations to commit cruel or brave deeds. The stakes have never been highert han they are now and I cannot wait to see how the rest of this series plays out.
I will definitely be continuing this series, it is a remarkable story full of fascinating characters and beautiful writing. I cannot wait to see how this story develops and how the darker themes are expressed and explored and am so excited to continue the adventure.
I would definitely recommend this series to fantasy lovers of all ages. This is perfect far awide range of ages and is an incredible read that is fast, satisfying, entertaining and delightful. I can honestly say you are missing out if you haven’t picked up this series yet.
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
*I received a Kindle copy of this book from @The_WriteReads #TheWriteReads in exchange for participating on this #Blogtour and providing an honest review*