My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: HBG Canada
Publication: September 5th, 2017
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Animals
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.
I think it’s good that I chose this book to be my introduction to Alexandra Bracken. I’ve heard such spectacular things about her YA series THE DARKEST MINDS that I would have ended up being extremely disappointed with this book if I had read that one before.
Possibly. There’s also the chance that I would have hated the YA series but that’s unlikely. Dystopian YA done well is my kryptonite. (That and cute gay romance.) Back to this book. THE DREADFUL TALE OF PROSPER REDDING is a fast-paced adventurous tale.
The characters are likeable and developed enough not to seem like cut-outs shrivelling in the rain. They’re entertaining. The main character himself always has something to say and do. He’s up for the challenge of being cursed by a fiend, however daunting that is to him. The fiend and he are a fun duo.
Unfortunately, it tries too hard to be clever and humorous. The narrator and the fiend himself are so smug they’re borderline arrogant. Okay, the fiend definitely is. No sugar-coating here. Normally, if it’s part of the protagonist’s personality and adds something to the plot, I don’t mind it. I adore Magnus Bane, even if he reeks of assuredness. But if you’re trying to be funny, be sure you are indeed funny, otherwise it will look like you’re trying too hard… Alexandra Bracken.
Perhaps younger readers will feel differently. I sure hope so. But that’s not to say I did not enjoy this book. I read it in two sittings, so if that says nothing, I don’t know what will. The villains are the kind you love to hate (my favourite kind!) and this author certainly has her surprises—beware of the plot twist. It shows that this is her first middle grade novel—hence the trying too hard part—but I’m sure she’ll improve, what with her professional writing.
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