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Search tags: heaven-and-hell
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review 2018-11-24 21:03
Fun story, great setting, and a reluctant hero/villain you’ll get to love. And a fabulous cat.
The Devil's Apprentice - Kenneth Bøgh Andersen

I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you’re looking for reviews, I recommend you check her amazing site here), and I thank her and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This is a fun book. Written in the third-person form the point of view of Philip, a thirteen-year-old boy who lives with his mother and who lost his father when he was very young, this novel is suitable for younger readers and also for adults. If you have given up on new adult stories because of their heavy reliance on romance and low-grade erotica, you are safe with this book. Yes, there is a love interest, but the book is a great adventure first and foremost. Rather than a reluctant hero, we have here a reluctant villain (well, more or less). A tragic mistake makes Philip end up in a situation that is totally out of his comfort zone, and he has to undergo a training that I’m sure many boys and girls would take to like a duck to water, but not him. He has to learn to be bad, and it is a challenge.

There are some world-building and some wonderful descriptions (of locations, like Lucifer’s castle, a church with a very interesting graveyard, the doors of Hell…), but it is not excessively complex, and it does not slow down the adventures. Philip, like the readers, is totally new to this place, and his descriptions help us share in his adventures more fully. He gets a variety of guides and people explaining how things work there: Grumblebeard, the hospitable devil guarding the doors of Hell, Lucifax (Lucifer’s wonderful cat), Satina (a young female demon and a Tempter) and Lucifer in person (in demon?). Everything is dark and night (people do not wish each other good day, but good night, you don’t write in a diary, but in a nightary…) everywhere, there are many types of demons, each one with his own characteristics and roles to play, and bad humans (and there are a few not-unexpected jokes about politicians, although some of the others who end up in hell might be a bit more surprising) get punished in many different ways, but Hell itself is a place where demons go about their daily lives, have their jobs, go to school, get married, tend to their gardens… It is a place full of dangers but also full of interest, and Philip gets to experience plenty of new things, not all bad.

The book’s view of Heaven, Hell and moral issues is far from orthodox. Personally, I did not find it irreverent, but it is a matter of personal opinion. Even though I did not necessarily agree with all the views exposed, these are issues well-worth thinking and talking about and I am sure those who read the novel will feel the same. I enjoyed the sense of humour, and I liked most of the characters, from the secondary ones (I’ve already said I love Lucifax, but I grew fond of most, from the cook to Death himself), to the main protagonists, like Lucifer, wonderful Satina, and Philip. He is not perfect (well, he is perhaps too perfect to begin with, and then he turns… but I won’t spoil the book for you), and he learns important lessons on the way, and he is not the only one. Although I felt at first that some of the changes that take place in the book stretch the imagination, when I thought more about it, time in Hell moves at a different pace, and for a character who is as inflexible and extreme as Philip, for whom everything is black or white —at least to begin with— the process he goes through makes sense. And by the end of the novel, he has become more human and more humane.

The book is a page-turner, there are heroes and villains (or baddies and really evil characters), a few secrets, betrayals, red-herrings, tricks and deceits, an assassination attempt, and a mystery that will keep readers intrigued. And a great final twist. (Yes and a fantastic ending. I had an inkling about it and about some other aspects of the plot, but the beauty is in how well they are resolved). The novel is well-written, flows well, with a language of a level of complexity that should suit adults as well as younger readers, and it managed to make me care for the characters and want to keep reading their adventures.

A few quotes to give you a taster of the style of the pitch of the book.

“Let that be your first lesson, Philip. Down here, humor is always dark.”

“God and the Devil roll dice at the birth of every human being,” the cat explained. “A one-hundred-sided die determines the degree of evil or goodness in each person. The results fix the nature of each individual.”

I particularly loved this accusation addressed at Philip:

“You look like a devil, but you’re not one. You are nothing but a sheep in wolf’s clothing.”

I am not surprised that this book is a popular read in Denmark. I expect it will do well in its English version too. And I’ll be eagerly waiting for the adaptation to the screen. I recommend it to anybody who enjoys well-written YA books in the fantasy genre, without an excessive emphasis on world building, who don’t mind some creepy and dark elements and appreciate a good dose of dark humour. I have a copy of the second book as well, and I can’t wait to see what Philip and his underworld friends get up to next.

 

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review 2018-08-05 22:13
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley

I don't even know why I thought this might be a good read for me. 

 

Sure, this is the book the inspired The Doors but it is infinitely more enjoyable to listen to Jim Morrison's musical expressions of his experiments with drugs than it is to read Huxley's accounts of his, and even then this is only because the songs are so much shorter.

 

Not for me.

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review 2017-08-25 14:54
The Night between Heaven and Hell!!!
The Night between Heaven and Hell (The Devil You Know Book 2) - Ioana Visan

It's been a year since I read the first short story in this series, so, because I couldn't sleep last night, I scrolled through my kindle app on my phone and decided to reread the first book and then finally read the second book.

 

Summary: Demon David Blake likes things just as they are: an easy job, centuries of drama-free living, and those who stationed him on Earth none the wiser. But his so-called perfect assignment is soon met with problems well above his paygrade.

Teaming up with an angel was never part of the plan, but when the threat of a plague unleashing becomes very real, David is more than willing to join forces with Andrew, if it will keep the impending apocalypse from becoming a reality and, more importantly, if it will allow him the opportunity to go back to doing what he does best: enjoying a comfortable life while steering the mortals wrong.

 

I just love this little series of short stories. It's super interesting and just something completely different. I also love the characters, even though we don't get that much time with them. The writing is really great and AH, I just love these stories.

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text 2017-01-30 15:21
January wrap-up
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton
Letters To The Damned - Austin Crawley
A Tale du Mort - Jaimey Grant;Wendy Swore;Rita J. Webb;Paige Ray;Jeanne Voelker;K. G. Borland;Gwendolyn McIntyre;Katrina Monroe;S. M. Carrière
Splintered Souls (Flames of Time Book 1) - Erica Lucke Dean
Infernal Parade - Clive Barker,Bob Eggleton
The Art of Leather Burning: Step-by-Step Pyrography Techniques - Lora Susan Irish
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley
Surviving The Evacuation, Book 1: London - Frank Tayell

Since I know I'll be working tomorrow and I'm not close enough to finish anymore books before the end of the day, I might as well get this done early.

 

8 books for the month, one of them a re-read because a group was reading it.

 

5 Netgalley books! I had a moment of weakness, but most of this batch have been really good! I even snagged the sequel to Rebel of the Sands, which I'll be starting very soon.

 

1 craft book and 1 from the Philosophy backlog.

 

1 Dystopian off my tbr A-list. Oh, I meant to read more from that list, but the Netgalley selections pushed in front again. No worries, only 2 left and one of those is the sequel I'm looking forward to starting.

 

I also got my samples organised and all the ones off my cloud downloaded to my Kindle folder so I can see how many I've got. I read loads of them but lost track of how many. I have about 130 still to read. I'm going to try to reduce that number every month.

 

I've had a very enjoyable reading month. I may have given into the lure of Netgalley, but I've learned to spot books I'm more likely to enjoy.

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review 2017-01-09 12:13
The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell
The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell - Aldous Huxley

by Aldous Huxley

 

Non-fiction

 

This is a well-known treatise on altered perceptions and is loosely categorized as Philosophy.

 

The Doors of Perception is largely about the author's experience of mescaline and the altered mental perceptions of the world he experienced under the influence of the drug. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the limited viewpoint as this could have been much more interesting with input by other people, especially native American people who have traditionally used Peyote for spiritual questing in their rituals.

 

The sequel, Heaven and Hell, goes more into the philosophical musings that I was interested to find. In this follow-up, Huxley discusses correlations between hallucinogenic drug experience, especially the heightened sense of color, and religious experience as well as the natural attraction our species has to gemstones and flowers with bright colors.

 

It made for dry reading, yet had some interesting points. The rock band, The Doors, named themselves for this book so curiosity made me want to read it. I wouldn't recommend it for deep Philosophy, but it was interesting in parts and blissfully short. Reading a few pages at a time worked for me to keep from letting the boredom mask the worthwhile insights.

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