“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.
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alex Bracken is one of my favorite middle grade novels now. I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much! Usually I read middle grade books as fillers in between awesome series I’m reading or if I’m in a reading slump between books. I received an ARC of The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding from the Texas Library Association convention so my book looks a little bit different than the actual published copy of the book. I wish it looked more like the one they went with. I like the fox on the cover and Toad, the kitten with wings is on the back. The one I have is a little plain and looks unfinished.
This is the third novel I have read by Bracken. I read Passenger last year and it took me quite awhile to finish. I think I kept forcing myself to read it when I wasn’t in the mood for the genre because I really liked the book it was just a whippin’ to get myself to finish it. I loved the plot and how it was like Outlander for teens. And then I read The Darkest Minds a few weeks ago and loved it.
But I sped through Prosper Redding. The character is just so strong in his convictions, even if he knows it doesn’t make him the most popular kid. I enjoyed reading about how much he loved his twin sister and how he can really teach kids to stand up for what they believe in.
The setting was awesome in this book too. It was very Halloween-esque. It reminded me a lot of Halloweentown, the Disney channel movie from the early 2000’s. It was full of witches and creatures from the Downstairs (the demon world that Alastor, his parasite demon is a prince of). And while it was a little creepy at times, it was highly entertaining and so different and unique compared to anything else I have ever read. Especially with being a middle grade novel! I can’t wait to get the published version of it when it comes out to keep in my classroom. I think my 7th graders will love it! Maybe we can even read it as a book club book since I run that at my school. It’s a little thick for that but I think the kids would enjoy it a lot and it would be fun to read aloud to them during meetings or at Read-a-loud Lunch.
This book definitely leaves you with a cliffhanger so you know there’s going to be sequel. Prosper always struggles with the idea of making a contract with Alastor, except when one of his family members is kidnapped and taken to the Downstairs. Will he be able to save them from the demon world below? Is he strong enough or will his new demon friends help him?
I hope Alexandra Bracken is working on the sequel as a type this. I want to know what happens! I gave this middle grade novel 5/5 stars.
Sidenote: I posted the above picture with the ARC and my cat Junebug and Bracken responded! She just said “I’m so happy you like this one! And Junebug is a cutie!” It made my day!