TITLE: The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding
AUTHOR: Alexandra Bracken
SERIES: The Dreadful Tale Of Prosper Redding (#1)
PUBLISHER: Disney Hyperion
GENRE: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure
RATING: 3/5 Stars
Prosper Redding is the only unexceptional member of his very successful family — that is, until he discovers a 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. Now Alastor, the malefactor, has reawakened and is intent on destroying the Redding fortune, unless they can kill him in the body he inhabits, which, oh, wait, that's Prosper, and why is his grandmother coming at him with a silver blade?
In danger from both the demon trying to take over his soul and the family that would rather protect their fortune than their own kin, Prosper narrowly escapes with the help of his long lost Uncle Barnabas and Barnabas's daughter, Nell, a witch in training. According to Barnabas and Nell, they have only days to break the family curse and find a way to banish Alastor back to the demon realm. Until then, Prosper has to deal with Alastor's vengeful mutterings inside his head (not to mention his nasty habit of snacking on spiders). And, every night, Alastor's control over his body grows stronger...
As the deadline to the curse draws nearer, Prosper and Nell realize there's more at stake than just the Redding family fortune. . . that there might be something else out there, something worse than Alastor, that could destroy the balance between the human and demon realms and change the world as they know it forever.
What I Liked:
- Plot-wise, the pacing of it was a lot better than my last Bracken read, 'Passenger'. I felt like it was actually going somewhere, and didn't find myself becoming bored as I read through it. I also liked a lot of the plot elements, and it was a good, spooky read with plenty of supernatural shenanigans to keep me entertained!
- I liked a lot of the character relationships, particularly between Nell and Prosper, because it developed slowly from the initial distrust to something akin to friendship. I think that my favourite character had to be Alastor though, and he was certainly unique in his input! He provided a ton of entertaining moments and I liked that he changed over the course of the book too.
What I Disliked:
- While the characters were likeable, they were also very two-dimensional. I didn't see any real complexity in their personalities, and didn't really fall in love with any of them either (save for maybe Toad the changeling cat). They were, for the most part, pretty bland.
- The writing itself lacked a sense of maturity (mostly because of it's MG status) and alongside that came some pretty stilted dialogue. Also, in some of the most important moments things seemed to happen very quickly and left me having to re-read a lot. Not fun.
This wasn't bad. I liked a lot of elements within the plot, and especially the unique twist of Alastor as it gave the book an extra, pleasant vibe. That being said, I didn't fall for it either because it lacked the development to totally capture my attention. I did like the finale a lot, and will consider picking up the second in the series to see how things turn out.