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.
I’ve loved Alex Bracken’s writing since I read her first novel, Brightly Woven. I don’t read a ton of middle grade novels but I’m always willing to check out a new book by an old favorite. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is one of those books that honestly makes me eager to seek out more middle grade titles. It’s a fun read with quirky characters and tons of twists that I did not see coming.
Prosper Redding is one of those characters that you just can’t help but love. He’s snarky and a little bitter but both characteristics are warranted since he seems to have the worst luck of anyone, ever. As if things aren’t bad enough being a preteen, now he’s saddled with a voice in his head that belongs to the family demon. What more could a kid ask for, right? Prosper’s sense of humor and his banter, not only with Alastor but with everyone around him, were possibly the best things about this book. The story itself was good but Prosper and Alastor are what made it great.
The setting played a big part in my love for this book. I read it in the middle of winter but this is truly the perfect read for a fall day. Redhood is one of those towns full of history and character that would be at the top of my list to visit. Alex Bracken did a wonderful job giving Redhood it’s own unique brand while also invoking all the things I loved about Salem. Good luck reading this one and not wanting to curl up in front of a fire with a mug of hot chocolate!
My one and only complaint about The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is that the pacing is a little odd. There are times when it felt like there was tons of stuff going on and other times it seemed like nothing was ever going to happen again. With it being the first in a series, I understand that some information needed to be provided but at times it just felt like one giant info dump rather than really laying everything out. And don’t even get me started on the ending. The cliffhanger came out of nowhere. I’m all for a good cliffhanger but this one seemed really rushed and when I turned the final page I couldn’t actually believe that there wasn’t more. It did succeed in making me super impatient for the next book though so I guess that has to count for something.
Overall, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is one that I would definitely recommend. It’s the perfect read for middle grade fans or even those looking for a good introductory middle grade read. If you’ve read anything by Alex Bracken, you won’t be disappointed with this one.