I have been following Alexandra Bracken on Instagram for not so long, but I love her InstaStories in which she talks about writing process and deadlines. I have been meaning to pick up one of her books - I even recently purchased a new paperback copy of ‘The Darkest Minds” intending to read it before seeing the movie (both of which I am still yet to do).
But I was the most interested in picking up “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding”, and since I am a bit on a middle-grade streak, it seemed to be the perfect time.
I even purchased my own copy without knowing if I am going to enjoy it or not. I got it from Amazon and started reading it immediately, and I am so happy I did.
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 fell in love with the story from the very first paragraph of “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding”. The author manages to create a perfect atmosphere of autumn and the approaching Halloween. I recall some readers mentioning that Alexandra’s writing is very heavy on descriptions but for me it worked perfectly. More so, the book is not just fancy descriptions: the action was there, the shinenigans were there, and most importantly, there was THAT plot twist that I did not see coming. At all! Well done, Alexandra! The ending made me gasp!
I loved the idea of Alistor - because, I mean, he appears to Prosper in the mirror as a snow fox! How could I not like him! But, truth be told, I disliked the chapters told from his perspective. Alistor sounded too haughty and spoiled. It took me by surprise so much that I even had to take a short break from reading “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding”. That is a sign of a good writing, if you ask me.
I did, however, get used to Alistor’s narration by the end of the book, and I am tentatively hopeful that Prosper and Alistor would become friends in book two, as it was something I was expecting from the very beginning of the novel. (As someone who does not read the synopsis of books before reading them, I often fall prey to my own misconceptions as I imagine things that are not there.)
Another thing that threw me off a bit was the depiction of various disgusting things that Alistor (and other creatures) consumes. I am very squeamish and even the mention of snot makes me go EWW. but I think that younger audience would love that. I, somehow, struggled with it as an adult.
I really enjoyed Alexandra’s writing style. The narration is well paced; her descriptions are lovely and very atmospheric. She portrays the emotions naturally and I think that she got the voices absolutely right. There is a certain measure, a steady pace to her words that I found very appealing.
I am very excited to read the sequel to “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” and I have already pre-ordered it! “The Last Life of Prince Alastor” (The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #2) is coming out in February, almost at the same time as my most anticipated book of 2019 - “Bloodwitch” by Susan Dennard, so both of those beauties are going to arrive at the same time! I am thrilled!
Rating: 4 stars