Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Book Review: The Devil's Intern, by Donna Hosie

To be honest, I really didn't like The Devil's Intern at first, but once the book got going and the setting changed, I enjoyed it much more.

Mitchell has spent the last four years in Hell. He died at the age of 17 when he got hit by a bus. Mitchell cannot accept his death, and when he finds out his boss, Septimus, has access to the Viciseometer he plots to steal it. You see, the devise is a time machine and Mitchell wants to go back and change his life so that he doesn't die.

Mitchell takes three friends along, who have died at various times, so they can change their outcomes also. Alfarin is a Viking prince, Elinor is an English peasant from the 17th century, and Medusa is a child of the 1960s. Medusa is the romantic interest. They visit each of the periods of their deaths, and....well...I'm not going to tell you what happens.

The beginning of the book really annoyed me.  Mitchell describes a very weird version of Hell. Hosie tries to make humorous references and analogies, and most of it just made me roll my eyes. It was too over the top and much too prolific. Hell is depicted as a fairly normal place where you go to work, eat, and even go to dances. I think Hell would have been more entertaining if it were a bit darker, and more as we traditionally think of it. I had a hard time not skimming and potentially DNFing.  But, I persevered.

I enjoyed the story much more after they began time travelling. It was more exciting, and not so light-hearted. The entire tone of the book changed. Time travel is always tricky, so it's best not to analyze the scientific principles too much. Some of it didn't make sense to me, but it can make your head spin if you try to sort it out.  I just went along with it and was very satisfied.

I also wish we got to know the characters a bit better before the time travelling. I didn't understand their connection and got their backgrounds confused at first. I didn't feel attached to them until they started on their adventure, then the attachment slowly grew.

Also, they make some stupid decisions. If you want to change the outcome of an event using time travel, wouldn't you plan to arrive some period BEFORE that event? And, if you are going to order McDonalds in the current time period, would you send the Viking prince to the counter to do so? This was used as comic relief, I think, but wasn't placed well. I guess you can see, I just didn't mesh with the "comedy" in The Devil's Intern.

The resolution is probably my favorite part. I found it creative and appropriate.

For time-travel fans, or those who like their depictions of the afterlife a bit lighthearted, The Devil's Intern might be appealing.

Published by Holiday House, August 1, 2014
ARC obtained from Library Media Connection Magazine
229 pages (Qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!)

Rating: 2.5/5





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