05 September, 2017

[Review] The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Series: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #1
Release Date: 5 September, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Genre: Middle Grade/Supernatural/Witches
ISBN: 9781484778173
Edition: ARC E-Book
Review Written: 1 September, 2017
Summary:“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, eight-hundred-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 to trick him into a contract. Yeah, Prosper will take his afterlife without a side of eternal servitude, thanks. But with the help of his long-lost uncle, Barnabas, and his daughter, Nell, a witch-in-training, it seems like Prosper has at least a fighting chance of ridding himself of Alastor before the demon escapes and wreaks havoc on his family

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…

See more at Disney Press's website.
I want to thank the Disney-Hyperion group for allowing me to grab this book from NetGalley in an the form of an Advanced Copy of the ebook. I found a couple of advanced reviews in Booklist and LibraryJournal and was pleased to find the book available on NetGalley.

Prosper Redding possibly has the worst luck of all the Reddings in the world. At twelve, he's constantly in trouble, struggles in school, and it seems he's doomed to never quite recognize his passion in art. At least not while he's forced to live in Redding, which is where he'll probably be until he dies... provided of course his family doesn't kill him first. Following an age old tradition that's not well advertised in the family, Prosper and his twin Prudence are subjected to a test to see if one of them has been caught up in the family curse. And it seems, with his exceptionally bad luck, that Prosper is definitely in jeopardy considering there's a demon living inside him.

From there things go from bad to worse as Prosper is taken by his supposed Uncle Barnabas, who'd been exiled from the family's gatherings for a previous slight. A bit dense and naive, Prosper has little choice but to believe "Barnabas" and his daughter Nell about everything that's happened. His only hope is that with Nell's witch-in-training powers they'll be able to draw out the demon and transfer it off to another living being to destroy. Meanwhile, while they're gathering up the ingredients for the spell, Prosper has to attend school with Nell... though definitely not as himself. 

With a bit of help from Alastor, the Prince of the Third Realm and mostly annoyed fiend, Prosper begins making friends and doing things to see what it's like to actually be a "winner" at times. Unfortunately there seems to be a lot going on that Prosper isn't aware of, like his body being taken for joy-rides by Alastor and perhaps his supposed uncle isn't who he seems to be. 

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is a thrilling adventure with several twists and turns that middle schoolers will definitely identify with in the struggles of fitting in and shining in their talents. Ms. Bracken provides a lovely tale that I can't wait to grab the second volume of this series. I'll also be working on getting a copy of this book into my library's collection.

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