Title: The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Book Group, Disney-Hyperion
Date of publication: September 5th, 2017
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade
POV: Alternating 1st person
Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding – Book 1
Book synopsis (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.
From #1 New York Times bestselling 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?
Trigger Warning: None
There were a couple of reasons why I requested this book on NetGalley. One was because of the cover. I feel that the cover of The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding totally captures what this book is about. The white fox in the mirror with a candle is creepy and a little surreal. The other reason is a personal one. I am forever on the lookout for books for my 9-year-old to read. So, when this book turned up on my homepage, I requested it.
I wasn’t disappointed with The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding. It was a quick read with likable main characters, evil secondary characters and a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. Now, saying that I do think that it might be a little too scary for some Middle-Grade readers. There are some situations and scenes that could scare a tween/early teen. Like the scene in The Castle….when Prosper and Prue were getting tested or the scene at the end of the book with the mirrors. So just keep this in mind if you are going to buy/take this book out from the library.
I felt bad for Prosper at the beginning of the book. He was bullied mercilessly by everyone, including his own twin….who he used to super close with. His grandmother reminded me, strongly, of Joan Crawford and I won’t even begin to talk about his parents. What I got out of those first chapters was that they weren’t around much, leaving him to be with his grandmother most of the time. His family was also almost unnaturally gifted. Everything they touched turned to gold. Prosper was one of the only ones in his family that weren’t good-looking or had a gift (or so he was told). It was a very screwed up family dynamic going on in those first few chapters.
The night that Alastor, a malefactor from Downstairs (the different realms are fully explained in the book), who is heir to the throne of Downstairs (again, explained in the book). He got sent into Prosper’s body during the ritual that Prosper was forced into. He had a vow that he would destroy the Reddings and then go back to the Downstairs to retake back his position as heir. But, it was easier said than done because Prosper was doing everything in his power to get rid of Alastor….that didn’t include killing Prosper. The dialogue between Prosper and Alastor was pretty funny and Alastor did make himself known in different ways throughout the book. Like when he made Prosper run super fast and he smelled like eggs afterward or when he forced Prosper to write in Greek. He also would hijack Prosper’s body and go around town, trying to find out who was ruling the Downstairs.
Now, I did figure that something shady was going on with Nell and Barnabas but I was a little floored by what it was. I had actually liked Nell. She was the first person, ever, who actually treated Prosper like a person worth spending time with. So yeah, I was a tad floored when certain things were revealed about her and Barnabas.
I really liked that the author took her time and researched Salem. Having lived the next town over for years, attended college there, given birth to 2 out of my 3 children there, and having gone to the Salem Willows every summer for years, it irks me when I read a book and everything is wrong. She got present-day Salem, with the strip malls and the touristy shops, right. She also had the history of the Salem Witch Trials right too. They weren’t just held in Salem. They were also held in Danvers, Andover and a couple of other cities nearby. Actually, in my hometown, there is a monument, which off the bike trail, to the only man who was executed (and his wife) during the Salem Witch Trials. So yeah, I was pretty happy to see that she did her research.
Like I said above, there were a couple of twists at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming, besides the Nell and Barnabas one. The one that shocked me the most happened literally at the end of the book and I was left going “What just happened”. The other one, I should have seen coming because there were plenty of hints but I didn’t catch onto it.
I am hoping that there will be a book 2 because I need to know what happens to Alastor, Nell, Prue, and Prosper. Also the other people….but mainly them.
How many stars will I give The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding: 4
Why: A deliciously scary story with a great plotline and great characters
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Young Teen
Why: Mild violence. Like I said above, there are some situations in this book that could scare a tween/young teen reader.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**