The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding By Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

First Published: 5th September 2017

Blurb:

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, 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.

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. (From Goodreads, 22nd February 2019)

Review:

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding is a middle-grade novel that will capture the interest and imagination of both children and adults alike. Or at least for myself, as an adult, it did!

Prosper Redding is part of a family that has achieved a lot, but he does not seem to be following suit. Prosper falls asleep in class, has unremarkable grades and feels that he does not live up to his family name. The Redding families success is due to a long-ago contract with a fiend, a demon, called Alastor. However, the family is waiting for the fiend to return to destroy it. Prosper becomes the unwilling host to Alastor, putting him at risk from his family.

Prosper escapes from his family and hides with his uncle and cousin who are trying to remove the fiend from his body without harming Prosper. Prosper is constantly fighting to not take out a new contract with Alastor and is also unaware of the control the fiend has of his body. Having a demon take control of your body is not always a good thing it would transpire!

I really enjoyed this book, it was fun but also had a dark side and quite a few storylines going on. Although the characters are young they had a full range of emotions and the book dealt with these in a non-patronising way. Highlighting that children do feel despair and loneliness, but that circumstances can change and things can get better.

The storytelling is fantastic and grips you from the very beginning. This is a fast-paced novel that will have you wanting more. I really want to get the second novel in this duology, The Last Life of Prince Alastor, as I enjoyed The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding so much.

I would say boys and girls would both enjoy this book, but that young adults and adults will enjoy it also. It is an escape into a tale of mystery and magic and just a perfect read whilst it is dull and cold outside.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Wonder By R. J. Palacio

Title: Wonder

Author: R. J. Palacio

First Published: 10th January 2012

Publisher: Knopf

Blurb:

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? (From Goodreads, 1st December 2013)

Review:

I was unsure about Wonder when I first heard about it. I was unsure for two reasons. Firstly, this is classed a children’s books, in America it would be aimed at ‘middle grade’ as far as I understand. I was skeptical because I thought that it would maybe be too childish for me. Secondly, despite a lot of people talking about this book on book tube and the book blogging world, and the numerous awards this novel has been given, I worried it was over-hyped. Hyped up books often end up being a let down for me. So I am often wary of such books.

However, Wonder was a wonder. It was simply fantastic. Well written, well planned, touching, breathtaking. Simply wonderful.

August is a boy with with a extreme facial deformity, and he is about to start School for the first time in his life, after being home schooled for the the first 4 grades. Starting school is tough. Starting school is hard when you are the new kid. But being the new kid who looks like August does, starting school is tougher. Will his classmates see past his face and accept him? Will they show kindness? Will they show fear? Anger? Friendship?

Wonder is a story about a journey, but written from multiple characters perspectives we begin to understand the journey much better. Wonder is a beautiful book, that would be fantastic in classrooms. There is so many topics that you could discuss with this novel, and it can teach all of us lessons no matter what age we are.

Wonder is a novel for everyone. It deals with a subject that I have never come across in the fiction world. The multiple narration throughout the novel keeps it fresh and allows us to understand different perspectives.

A book everyone should have on their shelves.

A book that is wonderful for discussion.

A book you must read.

5 out of 5

The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

   This was the first Neil Gaiman book I read thanks to an Amazon Daily Kindle Deal last December. It made me find out more about Neil Gaiman and that I had actually seen two of the films of his books – Stardust and Coraline – which I both enjoyed. And this novel was better than the films I had seen! I love his macabre style and the bizarreness that seemed so ‘normal’ in ‘The Graveyard Book’.

I have read in a few places that ‘The Graveyard Book’ was heavily influenced by Richard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ or other comparing it to that – often saying ‘The Jungle Book with ghosts and ghouls’. I would say that the idea of a boy growing up with those different from himself is the main comparison. I don’t want to say more about this as I haven’t investigated it further.

Nobody Owens (‘Bod) is brought up by the ghosts of the Graveyard, though he is living, he is protected by them and can see both the world of the dead and the world of the living. This confusing station means he is given a guardian – Silas – a peculiar character who is not dead, yet not wholly alive. Silas is a mysterious character, drifting in and our, but around for pivotal points of ‘Bods life.

‘Bods family are killed by yet another mysterious character – Jack – and as ‘Bod grows older is protection from within the graveyard weakens. Why was his family killed? What does Silas know about the murderous Jack? What danger lurks out in the world of the living that ‘Bod has been protected from? Can Silas help ‘Bod? Or must ‘Bod work things out for himself?

A beautiful macabre novel for children, young adults and adults alike. A book with ghosts and ghouls. Murder. Mystery. Loneliness. Friendship. Adventure and much much more!

Don’t be put of because this is described as a Children’s book! Trust me you will enjoy it. I also think it was a good starting book for me in my introduction to Neil Gaiman. As I have also read his ‘Neverwhere’ which was very peculiar and different indeed! Neil Gaiman is a talented writer and I urge anyone to read his books. Including ‘The Graveyard Books’ as a must!

One thing I would like to see is a book about Silas. About his journey’s, his past. Silas was the most layered character in the book and I think I would like to see more of him – if there is more of him let me know!

Overall 4.75 out of 5

Matilda By Roald Dahl

  Okay so ‘Matilda’ isn’t really an adult or young adult, so I am kind of broken my own rules BUT it is my all time favorite novel and one I go back to again and again.

Matilda has been born into a family who doesn’t want her. Her father is dodgy car dealer, her mother solely interested in herself and her older brother is falling into that way of life.

Matilda, however, learns from a young age how to look after herself, and begins to find solace in the local library where she reads the entire children’s section before moving onto adult novels. Matilda does not realise that she is extraordinary. She is special.

When Matilda starts school she begins to learn her true potential and her ability to stand against the evil headmistress Miss Trunchbull. A beautiful novel of magic, freedom, good and evil, and a way of understanding of the real world.

Matilda is a fantastic novel to spark children’s (and adults) imaginations. A feel good novel that shoes the importance of books.

If you do anything for your children buy them Matilda, or in fact the whole Roald Dahl children’s collection of books! Also check out the movie and the musical!