The wrongful Death
by Kenneth B Andersen
Publication Date: 04.19.2019
One of the things I love about Andersen’s storytelling is his ability to surprise you with every step. It’s a well deserved 5-star rating!
From the Back Cover
An unfortunate chain of events makes Philip responsible for the untimely death of the school bully Sam—the Devil’s original choice for an heir. Philip must return to Hell to find Sam and bring him back to life, so that fate can be restored. But trouble is stirring in Lucifer’s kingdom and not even Philip can imagine the strange and dark journey that awaits him. A journey that will take him through ancient underworlds and all the way to Paradise.
Following the events in the previous two books, The Devil’s Apprentice and The Die Of Death, Philip accidentally plays a part in the wrongful death of Sam, the school bully. Actually, if Sam had asked instead of helping himself with Philip’s stuff, the crises would have been avoided.
Being the good boy that he was, Philip returns to Hell to fix this mistake and bring Sam back and restore fate. If you expect a smooth journey with a happy ending, then you haven’t been paying attention to the first two boos in the series, have you!
Spoiler alert from The Die of Death!
In the previous book, Mortimer (a.k.a Death) makes all demons and creatures of Hell mortal at Lucifer’s request. If you want to know why read the book! While some of them welcomed the end of their immortality, many felt betrayed by Lucifer. That changed Hell.
The best way to summarize this is in Blackhorn’s voice:
“Old friends became new enemies.”
As Sam is not easy to find in this new Hell, Philip embarks on a journey much darker than his previous misadventures in the Underworld. He’s grown quite a bit from the last time we saw him and his feelings for Satina have deepened.
What I loved about The Wrongful Death
I loved to see Philip change, grow up, and develop and not necessarily in a good way. His previous experiences in Hell undoubtedly left a mark. He started out as an angel – the boy who never did anything wrong and helped others with abnegation. At home, he helped his mom with chores and in Hell, he helped random demons gaining their admiration and trust sometimes by simply being polite. I guess, please, and thank you take you a long way in Hell.
Back to the present time, although polite, Philip is no longer a goody two shoes. He can be selfish at times and even cruel when pushed too hard.
I loved this aspect most because it makes Philip real, a multidimensional character in a world where nothing is 100% pure or evil. He becomes the morally gray character that hides in each of us whether we care to admit it or not.
Also, I loved that Philip’s journey took us through different realms this time. We take a trip through Heaven and the Garden of Eden and see a little fun interaction between Lucifer and Jehova (God) – seeing them argue (more like friendly banter) was hilarious, especially since it was Lucifer who made all the good points. Also, the conflict between Lucifer and Michael was a nice addition to the story and fun to read.
We also get to visit Hades and catch a glimpse of Greek mythology. They pay the ferryman to cross them over the Styx river into Hades to search for Sam. Thus we get to meet Hades himself, Hercules, and Persephone, and Philip has fun with Cerberus.
What I wasn’t so crazy about
Kenneth B Andersen creates a compelling narrative paired with intricate world-building in this series. The amount of detail in his descriptions makes it easy to visualize the world he’s created. At the same time, with so many details floating in my head, it’s easy to get distracted or confused. One scene comes to mind, it’s when God explains Philip and Satina how to get to Hades and insists with the number of stairs and whether to take a left of a right and so on. But that might be more about me being impatient.
Another thing I want to mention is that unlike the first couple of books in this series, The Wrongful Death ends with a cliffhanger. I’m not a major fan of cliffhangers. But then again, it’s about me being impatient.
My favorite part
My favorite part of the story takes place in the last third of the book and it’s not a nice thing. I wonder what that says about me. Without giving away any spoilers, bad things happen that make Philip explore his dark side in a way that leaves even Lucifer stuttering. One of the things I love about Andersen’s storytelling is his ability to surprise you with every step. You never know what to expect and that is refreshing.
We’ve seen Philip’s dark side emerge when he transformed into a devil in the first book, The Devil’s Apprentice, but that was not as dark. He was more of a trickster than pure evil. This time around, it gets really dark when a friend gets killed right in front of him and Satina is abducted. When Lucifer’s executioners fail to extract information from the traitor, Philip delves into the darkest corners of his being and becomes unrecognizable.
In his mind’s eye—Satina and her screams as the husher seized her. Then Grumblebeard with the knife in his chest.
In front of him—the traitor. The murderer. The condemned.
And inside him—inside him the smoldering darkness ignited with an indescribable force, engulfing everything.
Philip welcomed it.
I’m no angel, he thought, and then the thoughts themselves faded into hate and insanity.
Soon after the scream began.
It wasn’t through kindness that he manages to make the traitor talk. Lucifer and his executioners seem tame in comparison. Thankfully, the torture takes place off-page as I’m not too fond of gore. He may have entered human in the torture chamber, but he came out changed.
Philip looked at his shadow, spreading out across the floor in front of him.
At the horns. The tail. The wings.
Everything had returned, arising from a soul painted dark by fate itself, and he studied his hands, drenched with black blood, and raised his midnight-dark gaze at Lucifer, who stepped back in shock. A smile, that wasn’t a smile at all but something utterly dreadful and cruel, appeared upon his lips.
“I know where she is,” he said.
Although The Wrongful Death ended on a cliffhanger, we get enough closure for now and we know what to expect in the next installment. I look forward to reading The Angel of Evil and see what happens next.
About the author
Kenneth B. Andersen (1976) is an award-winning Danish writer. He has published more than forty books for children and young adults, including both fantasy, horror, and science fiction.
His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and his hit-series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies. A musical adaptation of The Devil’s Apprentice, the first book in The Great Devil War series, opened in the fall 2018, and film rights for the series have been optioned.
Kenneth lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo, and spiders in the basement.
More about The Wrongful Death
I received an ARC of The Wrongful Death, as part of the Blogtour organized by The Write Reads.
Have you read this book, or do you plan on reading it? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!