Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1
Written by: Alexandra Bracken
Published: September 5, 2017 by Disney-Hyperion
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: "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?
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley and at ALA in an exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
I'm a big fan of Alexandra Bracken so when I heard she was writing a middle grade fantasy set in Mew England with historical elements I knew I needed to read it. And I definitely enjoyed this one.
I don't read a ton of middle grade but every once in awhile I like to read one. They usually have a very particular tone to them. They're a little more lighthearted than the YA I read and a little sillier sometimes. This one was definitely lighthearted but not all that silly. It was a fun and fast read that I definitely enjoyed. It had some classic Alex feel with a middle grade flare.
It also had a really great setting and atmosphere that is perfect for fall. I love books set in New England, especially those that take place in fall. And Alex does a great job of establishing this setting. Not only could I imagine the fancier historical town of Redhood, but Salem definitely came alive in this book. It's been a few years since I visited Salem but I could see the town in my mind. From the bookstore on Essex, to the clapboard style homes on the water, to the witches everywhere. This is Salem and I loved being able to explore it again in this book.
And while the actual setting was fantastic, the fantasy elements of the book were really good as well. When dealing with Salem you of course have to have witches, and there definitely were witches in this book. But there were more than that, there's of course the demon or malefactor, which was really cool and interesting, and a few other interesting magical creatures (shout out to Toad!). Because this was a middle grade novel, the magic was definitely more fun and lighthearted than I'm used to. But honestly, I was totally okay with that. I like my magical systems to have specific rules and this one definitely did. It was interesting and it was engaging.
As for the plot and pacing however, I didn't totally love it. There is a lot of mystery to this book, which I did appreciate. I mean it even managed to surprise me at one point even though I did figure out one of the big twist. Plus it does unfold in an interesting way but it was a little bit on the basic side for me. Sometimes it just felt like we weren't given enough information and other times it felt like too much information. I know this is the first book in a series so it's bound to feel like the story isn't over, but it kind of felt incomplete to me. There was definitely a cliffhanger and while I get it, I didn't really appreciate that. I'm okay with a desire for what comes next when a book is over but I want to feel like there was a resolution to that story not that it's half of a complete story.
As for the characters, I thought they were pretty good. I liked the main character of Prosper, he was a pretty good protagonist. There were some trophy elements that were used to make him likable but I'll forgive a middle grade for that because honestly, it worked. He was likable. I appreciated how much he cares about his family and was doing whatever he could to help them. Plus his snark to Alastor was top notch. As for the rest of the characters, I thought that most of them were really odious. They waked that fine line between good and bad, doing bad things for good reason of vice versa. They all had strong motivations which rooted them all in a lot depth which made them all the more enjoyable.
On the whole this was a fast and fun read. It had a great setting that is perfect for Halloween and fall, a plot with plenty of mystery and adventure, and likable characters. I'm not a big reader of middle grade but I still enjoyed it.
I give The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken 8 out of 10 stars
Have you read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!