I received a digital copy of “The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding” by Alexandra Bracken through NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions in this review are my own. Affiliate links are included below. Purchasing the book through these links adds no further cost to you, but may give me a small commission.
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken is a middle-grade fantasy novel about a boy, Prosperity Redding, who discovers he has a malefactor named Alastor (a demon who makes deals with humans) trapped inside him. With the help of his long-lost Uncle Barnabas and his dauther, Nell (a witch), Prosper fights to get rid of Alastor before he escapes and destroys the Redding family.
I enjoyed reading The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding and only has one complaint. For some reason, when I received the ARC, I did not see that it is Book #1 in a series. The book ends with major cliffhangers. Even with series books, I do prefer ones that stand on their own. No waiting, no torture! That said, it’s a great book with a caveat for parents (from a faith standpoint).
The characters in this book are so very interesting. They come to life with their quirks and personalities leaping off the page. They also have depth that might surprise readers and teach them that good guys aren’t always good, bad guys aren’t all bad, and those who think less of themselves actually have much more to offer. The settings are just as good with their own personalities and quirks. The descriptions of each place (from Redhood to Salem, from the Cottage to the House of Seven Terrors) is well-crafted that it’s easy to be there.
I finished this book in one day! I just had to keep reading to know what happens (and so when it ends on a cliffhanger…*heartbreak*). There are good plot twists and surprises here and there. Most of the book is in Prosper’s first-person point-of-view, but there are parts where it is in Alastor’s third-person point-of-view. I’m not a big fan of multiple POVs because they’re not always done well. Bracken does it well, and I think, it’s because the switch is from first to third person and isn’t overdone. I don’t think it would confuse younger readers.
Now for the caveat. This book is geared for 9-12 year-0lds or Grades 3-7. How overactive is the imagination of your child? Because if I had read this as a 9-year-old, I would have had nightmares. Also, I would have had a million questions about demons and possession. Yes, I was that kid. And if you have that kid, this caveat is for you.
I think this is a great fantasy book that kids will enjoy. It’s very imaginative overall (in plot, in characters, in settings). From a faith standpoint, it would raise questions about spiritual things that parents need to answer. Read it yourself first to determine if it’s right for your family. But don’t be afraid to have deep spiritual conversations with your kids. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about the similarities and differences between fictional worlds we find in books and the spiritual world the Bible describes.
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding also addresses family, friends, growing up, being different, and finding your courage. If you like fantasy that’s hard to put down, and don’t mind cliffhangers, then pick up this book.
Title: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (September 5, 2017)
Target Reader: 9-12 years, Grades 3-7