The Devil’s Apprentice – Kenneth B. Andersen

 

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★★★★★

Possibly the best Young-Adult Fantasy I have read this year. Enter and discover Hell and see how it works, meet the Devil and learn why we need evil in order to be good! A fantastic story and great adventures await in Hell. Read this at your own risk!

I was lucky enough to receive the first two books of The Great Devil War Series by the author himself. I haven’t heard about Kenneth B. Andersen before, but after reading the synopsis, I knew I had to have these books – I knew I had to read the whole series. Starting with the Devil’s Apprentice. 

Meet Phillip – he is a good boy. An angel. He helps his mum with the chores, he helps his friends with their homework, he loves and takes care of animals, and he never lies. But one day, he is sent to Hell by mistake, and he has to become the Devil’s Apprentice. The Devil is ill and before he dies he has to make sure to teach Phillip the worst tricks in Hell’s history, and teach him to be evil – but Phillip is simply terrible at being bad and keeps failing all his tests.

With very little time left to teach Phillip everything, Phillip begins to make friends and enemies in this place. And on top of it all – someone might want the Devil’s throne for themselves…

I loved this book so much! The best thing about it is the setting. We enter a world and we get to see Hell through Phillip’s eyes. Everyone has their own place and role, there is a system of how they designate people and where they go – we meet Death and see the process of how he chooses who dies, and how they place people in either Heaven or Hell, depending on the actions people take throughout their lives, and also, how the Devil throws the dice as well.

Phillip is a typical boy, who goes to school, tries to be a good boy wherever he can. I loved Phillip’s character and could easily relate to him. When he gets in an unusual place, he begins to wonder, and discover and explore, and the way the author writes the scenes just keep you engaged in the book and you can’t put it down before you know what happens next.

The world in Hell is full of adventures, different creatures, lots of scenes where we can’t help but wonder what does ‘’EVIL’’ actually mean, and is it really true that we do need a little bit of evil in order to see the good in ourselves and others? Many moral messages are discovered through Phillip’s adventures, and I loved seeing him grow throughout the book. He keeps learning things and he kept growing. Do you really need to be evil to succeed in Hell?  

I am so glad I have read this book, and I can’t wait to read the second book. If you enjoy Young-Adult fantasy, and enjoyed Dante’s Inferno, this book will probably be something you might enjoy. It will make you giggle, make you wonder, and will leave you restless, page after page.

Until next time! x

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To Best the Boys – Mary Weber [BOOK REVIEW]

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Synopsis:

Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. The poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women train in wifely duties and men pursue collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the deadly maze.

Welcome to the Labyrinth.

My Review:

★★

I love Mary Weber as much as her food recipes she shares with us every single month! I don’t usually decide whether to read a certain book by its cover, but this cover made me want to find out more about it. When I read the synopsis, I had to read it, as it captures women fighting for their rights in a young-adult format, and it simply was something I couldn’t miss.

I will be honest with you and say that this book didn’t deliver. Maybe it was my expectations, after all, that got me too excited for my own good.

Let’s start with Rhen. She is a girl that loves science, and her father has taught her everything he knows. They are poor family and don’t have all the equipment in the world, but that doesn’t stop them to keep discovering and learning every day. In their kingdom, an unknown disease comes around, and Rhen’s mum is ill, with no cure yet. Rhen wants desperately to find a cure, and a rich boy wanting to marry her might promise her all the equipment she needs, but now it’s time that she lacks.

When the men’s annual tournament is about to begin, with boys fighting for the science scholarship, Rhen knows that she has no choice but to enter, disguised as a boy, and try to win this – for her, for her dad, and most importantly, for her mum.

The book flows really slowly. We get to about half of the book when Rhen decides to enter the tournament. I expected this to happen in the first couple of chapters, and to then have the adventure from within the labyrinth. For me, it was quite a slow beginning, but some of you might enjoy that. The writing is beautiful throughout.

I loved the fighter within Rhen. She is a fierce person, determined to fight for what she wants. Even though throughout the book she has trouble with realising what is it that she really wants, we can see a bit of character development in her.

As a book that is supposed to cover gender equality, and women fighting for the same rights as men, this book didn’t really deliver. The letter states that every gentleperson – not gentleman. Which means, that inequality never truly exists at all. Women could have entered this competition, but they just chose not to.

The whole competition, the labyrinth and the scholarship lacks details and has enormous loopholes: one scholarship is given to one person – the one that wins the labyrinth. And after the winner is chosen, we have a scene where they all take a test, including the winner?

The disguise was a huge and important part of this book, as Rhen and her friend are pretending to be boys. Rhen cuts her hair, and her friend just pins it and ties it with a hat. They both wear boy clothes and barely remember to lower their voices. And that is all they do to not get recognised. And somehow, the people that know them their whole life fail to recognise them. A bit unbelievable…

I wish I loved this book, because I truly fell in love with the cover and the synopsis. But the whole labyrinth set-up seemed to be a side-story, with the illness being the main story, and the realisation of what Rhen actually wants to achieve. Random characters were introduced, that didn’t drive the story one bit, and the author also happened to throw in an inconsistent romance and a love triangle.

I hate to say this, but the book seems like an unfinished draft. It seemed so promising, and all I thought I would get out of this was non-existent.

I am not sure if I would want to recommend this book to you guys. If you want to give it a try, I encourage you, and would love to talk about it and hear what you think, but if you are here because you loved the synopsis, this book will probably not satisfy you.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley, for giving me a complimentary ARC e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

”Dreams starve and die if not fed by imagination.”

My thoughts:

A uniquely designed plot, intriguing and different. I was so excited to read this book. The cover was mesmerising and the synopsis was promising. It made me eager to start the book and I couldn’t wait to dive into this fantasy world.

The first couple of chapters were very slow for me. I had to re-read chapters twice, and I didn’t quite understand what is happening. After a while, things became clearer, and I started to enjoy the story a bit more.

I loved Niena’s character. She was a typical being, where one part gasps with bravery, and the rest gasps with fear. I loved how realistic she was at moments, knowing to be scared when supposed to, and fierce when needed of her.

The story gasps with a lot of intense scenes, full of adventures, that I am sure you will all love and appreciate. From trying to fight a dragon, to running away, to the amazing plot twist right at the very end, this book made me restless, after I started enjoying it.

The only reason I am taking two stars away is because I had to read the first 60-ish pages two-three times, until I finally dived in and started enjoying the story.

”A fairy bargain can live no deeper than your lips, it always dies before reaching the heart.”

A beautiful tale, full of magic, adventure and time travel. And a cover that suits it so well.

If you seem to like these types of books – don’t wait and grab your copy now:

Thank you to the author, S.D. Reeves , for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Awaken (Northern Witch #2) – K. S. Marsden [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Awaken is book 2 from the Northern Witch Series. Read my review for Winter Trials, book one in the series.

I have enjoyed reading the first book, and I was so eager to get to the second one. This is a story about a young boy Mark and his grandma, who is a witch. This is also a story about Damien, a new guy in town, in which Mark falls in love with.

The second book starts where the first book left off. Mark and Damien have feelings for each other, but Damien is a danger to himself and others, and grandma will try to fix this with her power.

The book is a short and fast read. It is fast-paced, and I kept spinning the pages intensely. It brings you the feelings of home, and winter times, and family moments, and high-school memories. It has all the good vibes put together neatly.

The high-school romance was an addition to the book, and it was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed it a lot, even though we didn’t see as much romance in this book as we do in book one.

And then, there is the word ‘’Dunno.’’ A word that I don’t really mind, unless it’s used too often. And it bothered me, I will admit it.

But then, there was Nanna – a character full of light and power that pierces through. A character full of wittiness, giving life to each scene unlike any character can. A woman I so greatly admire, for her love and dedication to the family, and unconditional love and teaching towards her grandchild.

I read about magic, and high-school, more about high-school than magic. I wish there were more romance scenes, and was terrified when the book finished the way it did. I was afraid, and happy, and excited and sad, and not to forget, annoyed, but this book gave me all the right feels at times, and all the wrong ones too.

It has never been harder to judge a book in-between this space of annoyance and love, and I am struggling. But I love Nanna too much.

I would recommend you to read this (or the first book in the series, if you haven’t yet). If you enjoy LGBT high-school romance and witchcraft adventures, this one will be a pleasurable read for you.

Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Geek Girl (Geek Girl #1) by Holly Smale [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★

Even though I kept hearing great things about Geek Girl, I never really happened to read it. A month ago, my teen sister borrowed the whole Geek Girl series and told me this is something I must check off my list. And here I am one month later – loving the first book!

Geek Girl tells the story of a young teen Harriet, who is a geek and gets bullied at her school. She might know all the science answers, but she has no clue why people are laughing at her when she goes outside with a cartoon hoodie.

But when Harriet gets discovered by a modelling agency,she realises how things can get different, and she has to choose whether she wants to risk losing everything by changing who she really is.

A very funny and geeky read, where I couldn’t stop but giggle a few times. One moment really got me though:

‘’If somebody offers to shave your legs,’’ she snaps, ‘’let them.’’

Harriet is a typical geeky high-school character, and you can’t help but love her weirdness, her silliness and the ways she believes in.

The read was somewhat predictable from the beginning, and there wasn’t any big plot twist or cliff-hanger, but I believe that this book didn’t really want to achieve that anyways.

This was a perfect read for me to relax and enjoy reading – reminded me of my high-school days and made me remember a lot of similar moments.

I am recommending it to all of you out there – that love being different and are not afraid to stand up for yourselves, no matter how much people laugh at you.

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