Sunday, 1 November 2015

Djævlens Lærling by Kenneth Bøgh Andersen

The title translates to The Devil's Apprentice, and while I don't believe it has been translated into English, I understand it's been translated to a couple of other languages. I saw some other language editions on GoodReads.

A colleague recommended it to me.

"You like Harry Potter, so you should try this series," he said. "I've been reading it with my son, and it's loads of fun."

The story is about Filip Engell who, by mistake, becomes the Devil's apprentice. Unfortunately, Filip is a nice boy through and through. Always does his homework, always helpful, always polite, always helps with housework, never lies. His last name, Engell, is even the Danish word for 'angel'. Not exactly ideal apprentice material, but Lucifer has to work with what he's got. This leads to quite an adventure, in which Filip makes friends and enemies in Hell.

I have to say, my colleague was right. I did really like this one. In fact I'll probably wind up buying these books eventually, because I can tell it's a series I would probably like to re-read.

It's also the first book I've read in Danish in a long time. I'm so used to going for English books, because with the books that I like to read, the vast majority of them are originally written in English, and I tend to prefer the original rather than a translation whenever possible.

I was a little sceptical about reading a book in Danish to begin with. I'm so unused to it, the language just initially felt a bit... odd. A bit stilted. A bit trying too hard. It's difficult to put a finger on what exactly was wrong with it and why, but thankfully once I started getting into the story this feeling went away. I think it was probably just a question of getting used to it

This book is written with a lot of humour and not a little swearing. The latter probably doesn't sound like a very positive thing in YA book, but it's fairly mild, really. Given the setting of the book, it actually feels pretty natural in the context.

An example (freely translated by me)

After all, this was Hell. Seemed only natural there would be a hell of a lot of homework.

That's not too bad, is it?

I read this book in four days, which is pretty quick for me. There are four more books in the series, and I'm very much looking forward to them. I am also feeling inspired to have a look in the local library for more Danish YA fantasy.

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