The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
by Alexandra Bracken
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Disney Hyperion
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.
Trigger warning: Bullying, loss of a parent, witch hunting, injury & blood
I always love to read MG horror story in October; they are generally fun and filled with shenanigans, with heartwarming friendships and this tinge of innocence but at the same time, it can be quite spooky too! The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is admittedly one of the longest books on my fall TBR- the premise sounds so good I didn’t know why it took me so long to pick it up.
This book follows Prosper Redding, who together with his twins is the youngest out of the esteemed Redding Family that has “rule” Redhood since its inception. From the first chapter, the atmosphere in this book was amazing. I am bad with U.S. geography, but I think Redhood is set in the New England region, which is perfect for fall. It is a small but prosperous town, with cobbled streets, golden leaves, and the seat of the Redding called “The Cottage”. The past of the town as well as the latter setting in Salem makes this book such a perfect fall read! 🍂
Despite the conflict with Alastor, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has other mysteries that kept me intrigued. Yes I was curious as to why Honor Redding made the deal and how did he break it, but I am also curious with who Alastor truly was, with the hint of ~kindness~ he shows, and life Downstairs. Unfortunately things started moving/become intriguing at around the 25% mark, which is why I was kinda struggling with the beginning of the book.
Both Prosper and Alastor were an enjoyable characters. Prosper spent his life keeping his head down and missing the comforts of home (sans the Evil (?) grandmother) while Alastor was baffled why Prosper is not greedy like the rest of his family. Prosper is proving Alastor that not all Redding is bad, while in turns Alastor helps Prosper coming out of his shell. It’s not exactly friendship, and it’s not kindness from Alastor’s side (he does have a not-so-hidden motives) but watching them working together for a while was really fun!
Also, it’s hilarious that Alastor was stuck in Shakespearean speaking and have to adapt to modern speaking and culture 😂
Aside of fiends like Alastor, this book also has other magical creatures like Goblin (?), Witches, and Hell hounds. I wish these elements would get more spotlight, but I think we’ll see more of them in book 2 since it is set Downstairs!
I would like to mention that the story can get quite dark in some parts, like the way Honor Redding defeat Alastor. These things are mentioned only in a passing so it might not register for the younger audience, but for me who caught it, I like how it didn’t shy away from the darkness of the whole Redding vs Alastor situation.
Overall, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding was a perfect fall read in terms of atmosphere, characters, and story. Despite its fast pacing, it took me a while to get hooked but once I did, I read it in one sitting! If you’re looking for laugh-out-loud, atmospheric tale of demons and family secrets, I recommend to check this book out!