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The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding Hardcover – September 5, 2017
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"There's a wealth of humor here, especially in Prosper and Alastor's back-and-forth sardonic banter, and Prosper himself makes a wittily sarcastic, clever narrator."―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Imaginative, exhilarating and outstandingly funny, Alexandra Bracken's newest work is devious and delightful."―Shelf Awareness
*"The story's mysteries, which involve the fates of multiple dimensions of reality, unfold slowly enough to build anticipation but quickly enough to keep readers furiously flipping pages... Bracken's cast is drawn in loving detail, and her twisty plot will keep readers guessing."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"An infectious, entertaining series starter. Hapless, dry Prosper is at hilarious odds with his demanding, old-fashioned demon companion, and the thrilling plot twists will keep even the most savvy readers guessing. Clever, occasionally frightening, and always fun, this will hook plenty."―Booklist, starred review
PRAISE FOR PASSENGER
"This time-traveling adventure is rich in detail, the slowburning relationship between Etta and Nicholas will leave many readers breathless, and the startling cliffhanger will reel them back for the next installment."―Booklist
PRAISE FOR THE DARKEST MINDS SERIES
"Heart-wrenching but completely riveting, the novel pulls no punches."―BCCB
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"Ruby is a wonderfully flawed heroine: fiercely loyal to the ones she loves and refreshingly conflicted about the enormous power she possesses ... [A]fter reading the first two books, readers will be left clamoring for the third."―Kirkus Reviews
"Bracken delivers a funny, thrilling, and unexpected tale."―Robert Beatty, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Serafina series
"Unique and humorous...The main characters, including the villain, are likable and flawed. The author's smooth transitions and delightful writing style will draw readers into the story with ease. This is a must-read for fans of Bracken and paranormal mysteries."―School Library Journal
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Ever since I read Passenger, I wanted to read more of Alexandra Bracken’s work. Though I haven’t yet read Wayfarer (I will, I swear!), I was very interested in checking out her newest release, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding. It’s not really listed as a YA novel, but more of a middle grade novel. I’m guessing this is because the main character, Prosper, is twelve and the elements are actually suitable for younger readers.
If you know my reading style, you know that I don’t venture toward middle grade reads a lot. But, I put my faith into Alexandra and her writing style so I wanted to read this one before it came out.
I loved this book very much! The action immediately starts in the book when Prosper and his sister Prue arrive at their grandmother’s “cottage”, more like a mansion, and they find it very odd that pretty much their entire family tree is present. It turns out that the crazy grandmother has plans as she leads them to a dungeon where a spell book is present. Prue can’t read the writing inside, but Prosper can.
This means that he has a demon (melafactor) inside him and can literally control him. He is taken to Salem where he meets a man and his daughter Nell, who is a witch. Now, he must be tugged back and forth with making a contract with this demon or working with these two people in bringing out before his thirteenth birthday.
I really liked Prosper’s character. Though he is twelve, his mindset is so much older. When I was twelve, kids my age didn’t have an ounce of Prosper’s courage or strong mind. We acted like immature little kids who were curious about our bodies changing and what that was down there or up there. Yeah.
I liked Nell’s character and I feel like, with Prosper being away from his sister, she filled that role for him as much as she could. It was kind of interesting that she was so knowledgable and powerful for a young witch, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Marnie from Halloweentown was powerful, too. But, she had the same strong-willed mindset as Prosper, though she had her moments where her vulnerability would show. It made her a real person, even in the end.
Let’s talk about this demon. Prosper calls him Alastor and this demon can be seen in the mirror, looking like the fox from the front cover of this book. He talks really old-timey. You know, using words like “thou”, “thy”. Sanderson sisters talk. He does try to learn the normal English language, though. He is kind of humorous, but he does have a darkness. I mean, he is a demon. He is very concerned about what is going on in his own home, the Downstairs. Though he is meant to be seen as evil and someone (thing) you can’t trust, you can’t help but like this demon. I mean, after I finished reading this book, that’s how I felt about Alastor. For right now, he’s on my good side. But, we’ll see what direction Alexandra takes this in.
I loved that the setting was mainly in Salem, where the witch trials occurred so long ago. Maybe it’s because I’m binge-watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch, but I loved picturing this whole book in my head with the Salem backdrop. Like, if they get the film rights for this, can we REALLY film this in Salem? All that history in the town would just make it EVERYTHING.
Like I said, I’m not much for a middle grade book because I can be picky about settings and plots and such. However, this book was really good. It doesn’t have to be solely for younger readers under the age of fifteen or fourteen. People in their thirties could read this and still love the magic and the mystery surrounding the characters and the world that Alexandra created. I’m really excited to find out what happens next, especially with that cliffhanger!
My thoughts were classic Addams Family television show meets Harry Potter. The good parts were wonderful, but the confusing and boring segments balanced that out to three stars.
There was a good sized twist at the end that I didn't see coming, but it still underwhelmed me. So many times I wanted to go back and reread parts to make sense of the way things were happening, but I didn't because frankly, who has time for that when you shouldn't have to, especially with Middle Grade. However, I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
I was given an archiving ecopy in return for an honest review.
Bargains with demons is perfect for autumn, right?
Bracken paints incredible visual imagery, whether it’s a crisp autumn breeze or a small town. In the middle of her New England setting, magic hides in the shadows. There are changelings, goblins, and other fantastical creatures. At first I was wondering what they had to do with demons, but Bracken handles all of these creatures with ease.
I admit that Prosper Redding and I got off to a rough start. I had a hard time getting in to the writing because Prosper, our twelve year old narrator, quips about everything. I love a good quip but for the first few chapters, it seemed like his characterization was only going to be surface deep. He’s also the kid who gets picked on by everyone, is completely normal in an extraordinary family–things we’ve heard before.
After some family secrets are revealed does Prosper show tremendous character growth. Besides being witty, Prosper is also loyal and worth rooting for. This is especially true when it comes to his family. A majority of them are horrible people, but when it comes to certain members of his family, Prosper will fight for them. Some scenes between him and Nell, while heartwarming, are things we’ve seen before. They’re weary of each other. Nell’s not his biggest fan. As they get to know each other, they change their minds.
And then there’s Alastor, the malefactor (demon) whose inhabiting Prosper’s body. He’s a bit of a stereotypical bad guy (delights in being bad and plotting evil schemes, which gets repetitive after a while) but seeing him battle with Prosper is hilarious. Their verbal spats had me laughing out loud. These two were made for these battles. However, the best scenes are seeing “Al” adjust to the modern world, with its buildings, vehicles, and, well, everything.
If Bracken ever decided to do an Al spinoff series, I’m there.
Even though I have my gripes, Prosper Redding is a start to an entertaining series. Check it out curled up on a cool day with some hot tea.
********Review is based on an ARC************************