Book Review: The Devil’s Intern

A comical yet exhilarating mix of time travel, death, and the hierarchy of the afterlife makes The Devil's Intern a joy to read.


Mohss Elaine, Co Editor-in-Chief

Warning! This book review has serious spoilers, so if you haven’t read it, I highly suggest doing so before reading this! Create your own views on the story!


Written by Donna Hosie in 2014, The Devil’s Intern serves as a look into the inner workings of Hell, where everyone has a designated place and job. However, a group of four unlikely friends has plans to change everything.


Plot Overview: 


When the story starts, we meet our not-so-lucky protagonist Mitchell Johnson. He’s our main character throughout the novel, and he seems to lead the plot throughout the story. A seventeen-year-old with plans to go to Julliard, he lived a pretty decent, normal life. 


That is- until he didn’t anymore. 


Mitchell meets his fate unexpectedly when a Greyhound bus runs through a red light, and kills him on impact. This sends Mitchell to the afterlife, where he is consequently put in Hell, where what we expect to be fire and torture, is more just immortal heat and a giant office setting.


Mitchell befriends a group of three odd individuals, all from majorly different time periods, all majorly dead. We are then introduced to: Alfarin, the blunt yet courteous Viking prince who died in battle; Elinor, the kind-spirited and often timid girl who died in the Great Fire of London, and finally Medusa, a brazen and combative woman who likes to hide the details of her passing. 


We know that early on Mitchell severely wants to change his fate, to live. However, that simply isn’t in the cards for him, or for anyone for that matter. During his first four years in Hell, Mitchell is recruited as the Devil’s intern, doing what any living intern might do. He works under Septimus, a distinguished underling for the Devil.


Septimus, being a high-ranking subordinate to the Devil, is put in charge of protecting a secret tool called the Visciseometer, a stopwatch that lets the user go back in time, to any place, giving the user the ability to change their fate. Unbeknownst to Mitchell, the solution to his biggest problem is right under his nose, and with the help of his closest friends, his life- and death- are about to change forever. 


Mitchell, Alfrain, Elinor and Medusa travel through time, finding out the gritty details of each gruesome death, and forming indestructible bonds along the way. 


The Good, The Bad, and The Unfortunate:

The Good: 

This book was a refreshing take on the use of time travel in novels. The time travel is set up similarly to a magic system, the Visciseometer has rules, directions, limits, and most importantly, consequences. All too often, I read fiction where the magic system has no limits and doesn’t really give the characters the edge to grow and develop. This is not the case with The Devil’s Intern! The characters have determinable struggles, that fluctuate throughout the story, giving the time-manipulation aspect real value.


 The four main characters both have value as a group (named Team DEVIL) and as singular characters. I sincerely love all the characters in their own right. They all develop on their own and don’t cling to Mitchell for the plot. There might be minor issues with the characters, but it’s common for teen novels, we’ll get to that later.  If this was a series, each book was written about one character, you bet I would shell out the cash to buy a copy of each. 


The plot had emotional capability, I truly felt for the characters, and wanted them to succeed for the most part (again, we’ll get to that later). There aren’t many areas where I thought the characters were too overpowered, even with the supernatural tools at hand. They felt as though they were real people at one point, and even though there’s room for improvement as far as character development goes, there were so many great things happening. 


The Bad:

With all novels, there’s bound to be an area of the book where the attention isn’t all there. Whether that’s plot holes or character development, it’s safe to say that it’s in every book. With something as difficult as time travel, I understand that it’s hard to have every plot point be perfect. That being said, one character’s storyline seemed very rushed, which was a shame. 


Medusa, the hard-headed love interest for Mitchell, drives the plot in a specific direction nearing the end of the novel, as she chooses to temporarily split from the group to change the way she died. Her character is driven by the abuse she faced when she was living, which is an extremely overdone trope for strong, female characters. The novel only adds to the trope that strong women must be broken, that they must be in love to be worth anything to the story. Medusa’s character is portrayed as this mysterious, combative character, but you can see her motivations coming from a mile away. She seems to only be driven by the abuse in her life, and the romance in her death. Sadly, her character arc leads us to the end of the novel.


The Unfortunate

Simply, the plot of this novel is spectacular, right up until the last fifty-or-so pages. It’s rather rushed, it felt as though the author was apprehensive about writing something other than a happy ending. This may seem a little brutal, but I wanted there to be consequences for their actions. There’s a point where Medusa does change her death, and she never meets the rest of Team DEVIL. That felt real! They completely forgot who she was, because that was the true consequence of using time travel, and it was heartbreaking! Then all was well because they met again anyway. With the essence of time travel in this novel, it’s quite a shame that they went, saw their deaths, and essentially just came back. It felt as though this really invalidated Team DEVIL’s plight, and severely invalidated the end of Medusa’s character arc. Yes, what happened along the way matters, but when you think of it in a linear form, it’s a little dissatisfying. 


In The End:

All in all, The Devil’s Intern is one of my favorite books currently, for its rich characters and world-building skills. Yes, there are some areas that were a little disappointing, but that’s really a personal preference. I think the novel overall is a wonderful experience and a tear-jerker in the right moments. I definitely recommend this book to any reader!