The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
From Goodreads: 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.
Around this time last year, I heard about this Middle Grade book called The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding. It was by an author I really liked, and I was pretty determined to read it. Unfortunately, I never really heard anything more about it, except for a few reviews here and there. I can only assume, since I recently got this advanced copy on Netgalley, that it hasn’t yet been released in the UK. So I’m super excited to finally get my hands on this book and review it.
First of all, I have to commend Bracken for the amount of humour packed into this book. I was a bit worried, since I’m not a huge fan of MG, that it was going to go for the very easy and sometimes juvenile laughs, particularly with a male protagonist [hell, my boyfriend still laughs at fart jokes]. Fortunately, this was just so witty and hilarious that I definitely had to clamp my mouth shut a few times while laughing and simultaneously drinking coffee. My favourite bit by far had to be when Alastor wanders around Salem and we get his perspective. Remember that he’s an ancient creature and not familiar with things like doorbells. The way Bracken writes scenes like these is just so brilliant and is almost guaranteed to make anyone laugh.
Next up, the characters. I liked Prosper a lot, and I thought there was a great depth to his character and a lot of interesting personal conflict that added a good deal to the plot. Good books, IMO are made up of a decent mix between plot driven and character driven situations, and I think TDTOPR has a nice balance between these things. Prosper is very wry and sarcastic, and those kinds of amusing punchy one liner deliveries definitely won me over very quickly. Alastor is also a well-developed character. Obviously some details about him are left vague, and I imagine we might learn a bit more about him in the coming books, but I liked what I saw. Again, it seems like Bracken has a deft touch for creating torn and complicated characters. Sometimes, Alastor is just awful, and you wish he would be vanquished. Other times, he kinda grows on you. Until you remember he’s planning on destroying Prosper’s life, and then you’re back to hating him again. It’s pretty complex and definitely interesting to read.
The only significant drawback for me with The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is the ending of the book. There’s a lot of plot twists and betrayals and trickery involved at the end of the novel, and in some ways it was really hard to follow what was happening. It was still very interesting, and I fell into it as much as I had the rest of the novel, but I had to re-read a few pages and then put the book down and thing in order to comprehend what was happening, since it was all moving so fast.
Overall, I’m giving The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding a 7.5/10. It was a very funny and riveting read, and I definitely think it should be on every fantasy lover’s wish list right now, as it has that Halloween vibe, but the ending was a little rushed and confusing and I could have done with something in there to slow the pace down just a touch in those final pages.
The paperback edition of the book is coming out on the 4th October in the UK.
Has anyone else read or wants to read this book? What did you all think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed, so please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below. Until next time, everyone ❤