"How did you die?"
It's the most popular question in Hell, and Mitchell Johnson has been answering it ever since he was hit by a bus at age seventeen and inexplicably ended up in the Underworld. Now Mitchell is The Devil's Intern in Hell's accounting office. Lately, he's noticed a disturbing trend: the volume of new arrivals is straining Hell's limited resources. Then Mitchell overhears his boss discussing plans to limit newcomers with a legendary time travel mechanism. With a device like that, Mitchell realizes, he could change history and prevent his own death.
But Mitchell's plot goes awry when his three closest friends--Alfarin, the Viking prince; Elinor, from 17th-century London; and Melissa, from 1960s San Francisco--insert themselves into his plans. It soon becomes clear that the fates of all four are entwined in dangerous and unpredictable ways.
With unforgettable characters and a thrilling premise, this original novel is by turns funny, poignant, and thought-provoking.
I'm going to be honest. I was a little hesitant at first to read Donna's book because I wasn't quite sure where she was going to go with this story. I had no doubt the writing would be good, having read her YA series, THE RETURN TO CAMELOT, but a question lingered in the back of my mind. Would the focus be on Hell and the Devil? Hmm, not really my cup of tea or the kind of novel that I'd normally choose to read. When Donna landed an amazing agent and eventually a book deal with this novel, I knew that I would read TDI, regardless, and give her my honest opinion because we're friends. However, if it was an unfavorable opinion, I would tell her in a private email rather than review it online.
Well, I'm reviewing it here because I can honestly say that not only did I like it, it is a damn good story. Donna's novel is fun, fast-paced, and suspenseful at times and I fell in love with her characters (more on them below).
The beginning chapters in Hell were a bit slow for me. I wondered why Hell and Up There (the devils' term for Heaven) would argue about souls overcrowding their "places" but decided to suspend belief and just go with the flow hoping my questions would be answered. One of the first characters we meet is Septimus, the Devil's accountant, and he's great. Love how he handles the Devil and his relationship with his intern Mitchell. Without spoiling the story, I really came to like him even more later in the novel. And he has a great sense of style! Once Mitchell and his friends began their time travel adventure, I was hooked.
I'm a character girl which means that for me, characterization is often first and plot a close second. I loved the MC, Mitchell, and his three close friends - all well developed and very different from each other. I liked how they were from different time periods and cultures, but their personalities blended together in a believable and fun way. I'm drawn to novels with strong friendships and this one is a fine example of friends who support and love each other, and who literally go from Hell and back for each other. I loved Hosie's use of a time travel device and was creeped out by the Skin Walkers. I hated when I had to stop reading to go to work, pick up kids, etc. and couldn't wait to get back. That doesn't often happen for me with books, but when it does it's magic and it's instantly added to my mental list of "books to recommend." Can't wait for the second installment of this wonderful trilogy.
THE DEVIL'S INTERN has earned a Kirkus star review and a School Library Journal star review. For more information please visit Donna's blog: Musings of a Penniless Writer.