The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1), by Alexandra Bracken
Publish Date: September 5, 2017
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: MG Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)
**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**
“I would say it’s a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness.”
Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history — that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper’s great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made — and then broke — a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, four-thousand-year-old Alastor isn’t exactly the forgiving type.
The fiend has reawakened with one purpose — to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his future without a side of eternal servitude, thanks.
Little does Prosper know, the malefactor’s control over his body grows stronger with each passing night, and there’s a lot Alastor isn’t telling his dim-witted (but admittedly strong-willed) human host.
From #1 New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Bracken comes a tale of betrayal and revenge, of old hurts passed down from generation to generation. Can you ever fully right a wrong, ever truly escape your history? Or will Prosper and Alastor be doomed to repeat it?
In all honesty, the name “Alexandra Bracken” is definitely the main reason I wanted to read this book. Being a children’s bookseller and it being about a demon (excuse me, fiend possession), only added to the reasons I looked forward to reading it. Like she did with her Darkest Minds trilogy, Bracken swept me away into a story of family, magic, and the things that go bump in the night.
From the prologue onwards, I was hooked. From an eerie dark introduction that gave me the chills to the wonderfully wrought descriptions of the fall season that had me wishing it were October already, the mood of this book was set from the start and kept the atmosphere perfectly haunting throughout. The narrative voice of this work was so spectacular, it was easy to fall in love with Prosper, the main character, and ache for him whenever he felt down about his family and lack of friends, and cheer for him when things started to look up. And the story moved at a decent pace and while the plot had some great twists that kept the reader on their toes.
I thought that the characters were excellently rendered, full of depth and hidden desires. Prosper, the narrator, is of course the easiest to understand and empathize with, but is also a little stubborn when it comes to seeing the complete truth of things. He is both snarky and compassionate, caring for his family and despite the way people treat him is always trying to find a way to make others happy. Alastor, the fiend possessing him, is definitely more opposite, with evil intentions and selfish desires pushing his character arc in a delightfully maleficent way. Then there is Nell, the witch with so much determination in her who, despite her sharp tongue and complete disdain for Prosper’s family, softens up over the course of the book in a great show of character growth. The secondary characters were just as full of life and intrigue, and all of them made for an excellent cast that made this book both exciting and magical.
Overall, this was just a fun and excellent read, with just enough creep-factor to make you shiver, cringe and gasp, and characters that pull you into the narrative and make you really empathize with them. It is a perfect read for Halloween and October, and for any fans of Hocus Pocus or Jonathan Stroud‘s Bartimaeus Trilogy. I look forward to recommending this to anyone looking for the perfect read to get them into the spirit of Halloween.
ARC August | Books Completed Toward Goal: 5/12