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.
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WHOA! I absolutely LOVED this! I picked this up originally because everyone I know that has read it said it was the perfect Halloween book so I immediately wanted to read it this month! And I am so happy I did!
Prosper Redding was such an fun and snarky main character. I loved that he was so genuinely good and pure. He was literally dropped into this completely unbelievable situation and although he definitely had his freak outs, he was still not fully worried about himself. He was worried about his sister, his parents. I loved that about him. It was constant throughout the entire story. It even reached to Nell and Barnabus when he got to know them, he even was kind to Alastor, who was the antagonist of the story. I really enjoyed his friendship with his cousin, Nell. She was such a cool character and I really liked their dynamic. I wasn't sure if I'd like Alastor, but I ended up really loving him. I liked his relationship with Prosper because although they were basically enemies, they were stuck together and had to deal with that. Which lent to some pretty funny moments.
The plot was super interesting and I loved the history of the Redding family. It felt like a perfect Halloween/spooky type story you'd get out of a darker fairy tale. I was even surprised how dark the story would get at times for a middle grade. It was nothing too bad but it was still pretty chilling in moments. I really love middle grade spooky books where although it's friendly for younger readers the author doesn't hold back in terms of content. I have brought this up before but sometimes spooky middle grade books feel a bit cheesy and almost insulting to younger readers but this book didn't have that at all which of course I appreciate. I definitely put it on the list with Coraline by Neil Gaiman or even City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab. I do think that some of Redding history moments felt a little info-dumpy, but because I listened to the audiobook while reading it didn't bother me too much. When the plot picked up, it was super exciting and intense, but there were also moments where things felt a bit slow and mundane. I don't see that as a negative thing exactly but it did slow down my reading experience.
This is my first Alexandra Bracken book, I do own her book Passengers but I haven't read it yet. I really loved her writing in Prosper Redding. She's incredibly descriptive and it really added to the October/Autumn/Halloween atmosphere. The overall vibe of this book screamed Autumn. I thought it would fade once we left Redding but it lingers throughout the entire story. It made the reading experience even better. I often would read with a huge cup of tea and it just was a perfect time. I also found that Bracken was fantastic at writing dialogue and humor. I often laughed out loud while reading and I even found myself emotionally invested in the characters. I felt a rush of adrenaline and energy in the last fifty page to about an hour after finishing the book. I was completely floored.
I absolutely recommend this book to everyone who loves middle grade, books with autumn vibes, spooky books, etc. If your kid is looking for a good spooky book to read I'd recommend checking this out and seeing if it would be a good fit. Overall I cannot wait to not only buy this book for my collection but I also cannot wait for the sequel because that cliffhanger is CRIMINAL. If you've read The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding I'd love to talk about it! What did you love/hate about it?