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.

The Hangmans Daughter By Oliver Potzsch

Title: The Hangman’s Daughter

Author: Oliver Potzsch

Translated: Lee Chadeayne

Publisher: Amazon Crossing

First Published: 1st April 2008

Blurb:

Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman’s Daughter–the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter, Oliver Pötzsch–a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan. (From Goodreads, 23rd December 2013)

Review:

It is not often that I read historical fiction, but when I do I really do enjoy it. This year, I have read two books set in the 1600’s and I think I will read more fiction books set in this time period. I feel that dipping into historical fiction, now and again, gives me a nice change in scenery, shall we say, compared to my typical reads.

‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ was another book that I came about by chance – whilst trying to remember the name of another book! I am glad I did. ‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ is a novel that is fast paced and perplexing. The death of a young boy is being blamed on witchcraft, however, the hangman, an intelligent man whom is interested in the way the body works, does not believe in witchcraft. Therefore, when the midwife of the village is incarcerated, the hangman begins to look into finding the true murderer, before it is too late.

This is a crime novel, just set in a different time period to most crime fiction that I have read. The story jumps right in, and keeps getting more and more intense right to the end. A simple death blamed on witchcraft quickly becomes complex and perplexing. The hangman joins forces with the doctors son, who is ironically in love with the hangman’s daughter, in an attempt to find out what is really going on in their town. Soon the two men become entangled in a mystery that may take their lives.

This is a gripping, edge of the seat read, and one I would recommend to those who enjoy crime novels but are needing something different, and a crime novel set in the 16oo’s is different to most crime novels out there that I know about!

4 out of 5