The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken
"I would say it's a pleasure to meet thee, Prosperity Oceanus Redding, but truly, I only anticipate the delights of destroying thy happiness."
-Alexandra Bracken, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding
In one of the oldest towns in America, Prosper Redding is celebrating Founder's Day with his family, and realizes something is brewing. Prosper is an outsider with no friends, a weird family, and now a fiend is living inside of him due to his more than great grandfather breaking a contract with Alastor, a fiend who wreaks havoc on the human world. Prosper's evil grandmother tries to kill him, which leads him to be rescued by a man said to be his Uncle Barnabas and his cousin Nell, who may be too helpful to his condition. He, then, enrolls in the local school, creates a whole new identity for himself, and finds himself creating the perfect life for himself. However, there is something suspicious going on with Nell and Uncle B's relationship with magic, and now, with Prosper and Alastor. Alastor is preventing Prosper from functioning as a normal human being and requesting Prosper to free him with a contract. Prosper says he will never come to fulfill Alastor's request, but things start boiling and churning in Salem until no one can take the betrayal coming nor the exciting twists and turns keeping you on your feet.
So, I like this book; I really like this book. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Oh, my goodness! I adored this book so much! Ugh, I have got to stop gushing about a book even when I have not even explained my opinions and different reasons or explanations on why I like this book. Since we are off on a rocky start, let's just get on going about the many characteristics in The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding.
As I always do in the beginning of the parts of my reviews, I will discuss the characters and their qualities, some of which I very much enjoyed:
1. First, Prosperity Redding, or as he likes to called Prosper instead of his embarrassing name, is the best artist in Redding anyone has ever seen. He is also compassionate for his family, especially for his sister Prue; also, he has a fiend, or a demon or whatever you may like to call it, in him. Prosper is very observant to his surroundings, especially when he thinking in an artistic sense for drawing another silly picture. It is nice to see a character particularly not very good at school nor at understanding others. Even though I may have said he can be observant at times, he can be naive and will not pick up on the most obvious of clues. Also, he believes if someone is family and is hoping to help him, it means they are trustworthy and will take all his needs before theirs. This is proven wrong with his new enemies, and also, he is very wrong about his grandmother when Prue explains what their grandmother was doing with that knife on Founder's Day. Even though I may have seen the faults in Prosper's character, I found him relatable since I am also very much an outsider and never feel as if I fit in anywhere particular except for books. I hope I can see as well-thought out characters as Bracken's were in this book in other books from her.
2. Alastor is the second character of the iconic duo that I can laugh with and at for calling Prosper and other people maggots and other silly names and for scheming evil plans with. With his hilariously long title telling all his subjects he is the First Prince of the Demon Realm, Master Collector of Souls, and of course, the Commander of the First Battalion of Fiends, I really liked him. He was dark and a little creepy, which is just the perfect blend of fun for the upcoming holiday of Halloween. He also said all the right things up until the end when one of his siblings intruded his evil plans. However, that does not mean he cannot say all the right things one needs to hear and write down for inspiration.(Oh, please, Alexandra Bracken, make a poster of Alastor quotes. I will be a good little fiend.) That is one of the similarities between Alastor and Prosper: their love for their families. This shows that even when someone can be really evil, they can have a soft-side to them, which shows they really do care about important things, such as when Prosper and Alastor's forced relationship becomes a friendship and Alastor's previous relationship with his sister Pyra.
3. Nell is my least favorite of the main characters. She is always judging Prosper upon his family's decisions and past. So, what if one of his past family members made a contract with an evil being who is now taking over his life since the point in time when the contract was broken by great Honor Redding? That does not mean Prosper cannot be a compassionate, observant boy who has the same troubles as a normal person no matter how many fancy lunches he may eat. Through the pages of the book, I learned many things about her past and her family. I learned about her mother's death, her father's forceful behavior and his unconcern for her, and her friend Missy who is a witch like her. She is very much an outsider and does not really fit in very much like Prosper, and finds herself to be more related to a spoiled, privileged Redding than a regular kid in Salem from the time they spend with each other. Also, I liked how she would break the rules and would be a rebel by wearing rainbow glasses and taking a boy's role in play, which Prosper got for her since he sticks up for the little guys. Nell, also, stands up for the little guys but stays more in the shadows. I really wish I could have gotten a closer look at Nell, but I was only reading about her from Prosper's point of view, which would only give us from his observation, or from Nell telling Prosper about herself.
Also, later in the story, I was so surprised by the plot twist that Bracken had obviously dropped clues and foreshadowed about. I knew Uncle Barnabas had bad intentions with Prosper; also, with Nell running around Salem looking for magical ways to summon a demon, this only assured me of my assumptions for the two newly introduced Reddings. Also, when Prosper was becoming Ethan White, she told him to be the actor with an imaginative and flexible past, which she would know a lot about from her job at House of Seven Terrors and her made up character's persona. When Uncle Barnabas reveals he is Henry Bellsgrave and Pyre is revealed to be Alastor's evil sibling who wants to take his power, Prosper breaks his promise he made to himself in the beginning of the whole mess and agrees to a contract with Alastor to save Prue from Pyra, the villain in this story. I was having so many emotions come out at this moment, and I was yelling every word I could think of at the pages. Ugh, the emotions! These emotions always come out when I am reading my favorite books.
Okay, even though I may adore the characters I have listed and more, I loved Alexandra Bracken's writing. I could quote it all day. I was highlighting lines from the book, quoting it throughout the days I read it, and wrote notes on every single line and what it means to me. I will be adding these notes, which include most of Alastor's advice and just beautifully written words written by Bracken, to my notebook and anywhere else where it is important.
Some others quotes and wise words from ours truly Alastor that I enjoy are:
"Test me, and you will learn precisely how fragile the human heart can be."
"It is a difficult thing, to lose, Alastor mused with a smirk in his voice, when one is so accustomed to winning."
"If a man desires respect, he must not frame his every sentence as a question. If you consider yourself to be an artist, then be an artist."
"...a soft heart only makes it easier for a knife to slip in."
"The boy's heart, it would seem, was a rare sort: incorruptable by greed, incompatible with jealousy. Unlike Honor, he saw the destruction that Alastor's good fortune wreaked on others. But like Honor, his own weakness, his truest wish, was nothing more than the survival and success of his family."
"Maybe it was true that we never really escape our histories. That revenge is a poison that stays in the hearts of families, reborn with each generation. I was nothing like my family but I was still a Redding. I didn't get to choose my family, or the curse but I couldn't run away from home."
After all the praising for and quoting from my new favorite The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding, I hope one of you readers can find interest in this book from my post or just general praise, which there will probably be a lot of. I hope I can find more books that I will find as my favorites of 2017 and my life. I cannot wait to read more of Bracken's books to see if one can become my favorite. Good luck, Alexandra Bracken, with your endless writing journeys and your job of making people's dreams come true with a flip of a page.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy it!