Wayward Kitsune

The Devil's Apprentice - Jan Siegel This review first appeared on my blog at: Thoughts and Pens

Now, this was a very curious read not to add that it was surprisingly fun for a book that is sinisterly titled. And to think that I didn’t have high expectations for it the first time I saw the cover. What made me chose The Devil’s Apprentice is that the title exudes an aura of darkness and the summary really disturbed me. Imagine, the Devil himself had gone tired of wreaking havoc to the humanity and was planning on retiring! And what’s more, he’s currently searching for a human apprentice to become his successor! Who would be able to resist that kind of story? Certainly not this gal.

The Devil’s Apprentice brings us to the lives of four children who were absorbed in their individual struggles to establish their own identities. There was Pen, a 13-year old rule loving girl who is aspiring to be a crime lawyer. There was Gavin, 15-year old boy who is aspiring to be the best chef in the world. Then there’s Hazel a.k.a Jinx, a sixteen year old witch whose physical appearance is scarier than her magical prowess. And lastly, there’s Ghost/Random, a 14-year old orphan who got lost inside the Door and lived a life as a thief in the 17th Century. Four different lives but united due to two circumstances… prevent the Devil from appointing his apprentice and find Bartlemy Goodman.

The very first thing that I liked about this book was the beginning as it charted the life of Ghost in the 17th century where he became a member of the Lost Boys, a gang of thieves which members are comprised of young-adult boys. For some reason, that really brought me into the world of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens minus Nancy and Mr. Brownlow of course but the air of thrill and drama that weaves through a life living on the streets was definitely present.

After that wonderful journey through the slum streets of London, The Devil’s apprentice carries us to the 21st century where things got crazier as I find myself reading about an alive corpse, Mr. Andrew Pyewackett, having a heated discussion with a lawyer about his will. This scene really did it and I can’t stop flipping the pages. It was funny and at the same time gross. It was fresh and certainly deviated from the usual zombie stereotype that I can’t help falling in love with his character no matter how gross or how short his appearance in the book.

Then entered Pen Tudor who was appointed as the executor of Mr. Pyewackett’s will and temporary guardian of his rather strange house. A series of mind-blowing events began to spread like fire on a house as the young lady was plunged into the deepest and darkest secrets of Mr. Pyewackett’s house. Initially, Pen was an annoying know-it-all, boring little girl but as the story progresses, I’ve found that she was likeable afterall. She was naturally funny with her annoying profound knowledge of laws, her views that magic/fantasy does not exist and that reality is always better than imagination. As she unraveled some of the mystery of the Mr. Pyewackett’s house, Gavin and Jinx was slowly introduced into the picture. And the trio made this book more than fun. Gavin and Jinx were well played characters that every moment with them is a mixture of thrill and entertainment.

The Devil’s Apprentice plot was delivered in a way that was compelling and full of imagination. There are times that the portrayed scenes were so humorous, the next scene gory, the next enigmatic, the next sinister and then the next, action packed. With this variety of scenes, it was difficult to find yourself bored especially that you’re hanging on for dear life for the revelation of who will take the position as the Devil’s apprentice.

Though this book was told from switching point of views which would have been dangerous as it tends to confuse the readers, I find myself being comfortable with it as I am really fond of looking into the lives of our heroes and heroines (there are some exceptions though). It gave me significant glimpses to their lives that made me feel connected instead of being annoyed like what I’ve felt for some other books that use this technique.

On top of all that, The Devil’s apprentice ending was simply terrific as it nicely wrapped up the whole story in a realistic fashion. I only feel sorry that it ended without those bloody battles with the minions of the dark or with the Devil himself or introducing us properly to Mr. Bartlemy Goodman.

In an overall assessment, The Devil’s Apprentice is a novel story of science and magic that will render you contemplating for ages whether the Devil has managed to find someone to take his place.

Thanks to Netgalley and Publisher for the free copy.