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We see a nightmare realm that truly is selfish and violent, but also capable of change. We see an evil queen who undermines a pernicious social hierarchy. Essentially a demon who forms contracts with humans, he has done some pretty horrible stuff in the name of his agreements — and yet the novel still has us squinting to see something more. He fascinates us because he keeps us guessing: How can a creature who seems so incredibly self-absorbed and bent on chaos change?

And yet we see glimmers of it.

Although the novels deal with creatures that we have seen in other books — ogres and elves and changelings — the author weaves these cliches into something authentic by establishing a very real world for them. All these details really bring the novels to life, helping us experience adventures along with the characters. Not to mention, this worldbuilding creates a lot of opportunity for conflict and character development. The relationship between Alastor and Honor, which appears to be a pretty standard demon-tempts-greedy-human plot, is surprisingly heartbreaking.

The following relationship between Alastor and the protagonist Prosper is equally touching, especially with its parallels to Alastor and Honor. In all honesty, I did not expect the series to end so quickly.

I will not give things away — but I really loved how this novel ended, how the relationships in the series developed and concluded. Much of the book left me with my heart in my throat. I would love to have seen him interact with his family more in the novels. There are also certain aspects of the witches that I would have liked to see instead of just hear about — apparently they have a whole school for orphaned witches, for example. There were also a few brief moments in this novel that I found a little corny, particularly with an elf character. No book is perfect after all, but this novel came pretty darn close.

Just a shout-out: respect that a main character in this series has two moms. LOVE seeing this representation in kids books — just another reason to adore this series. Really recommend it to all who love Halloween, goons, and depth. Jan 11, Lauren Parrott rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites.

Ergo, it's impossible for me to talk about my favorite authors without bringing up Alexandra Bracken. From dystopian worlds to time travel troubles to middle-grade Halloween-ish adventures, I've never once walked away from a Bracken book without being absolutely and utterly gobsmacked. And, un "What evil can come from a choice made with a pure heart and the best of intentions? At this point, I feel like I sound like a broken record because I always seem to suggest that it's best to read an Alexandra Bracken novel blind.

But, in my defense, I really do think that in doing so, you're setting yourself up for the best wild ride possible. Personally, my biggest fear with sequels are the dreaded recaps.

'The Last Life': A Girl's Life, in a Family Unhappy in its Own Way

Even though I'm pretty sure I have the worst memory of all mankind, I don't want to spend 50 or so pages being spoon fed what happened in the last book because it simply becomes repetitive or boring. LLOPA does remind us what happened in the last installment, but only in small side notes and not full chunks of a chapter.

This may seem like a small thing to notice, but it already puts the book on my goodside. That, and the fact that I get to revisit some of my favorite characters with my favorite author. I might just be a little bit biased here. In the same vein, because we're falling into a whole new realm we are quite literally falling through an open mirror , some substantial world building has to be done.

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From the moment we're in the Downstairs with Prosper and Alastor, we're immediately introduced to the off-putting smell, the perpetually-dark sky, and how the land is laid out. We're right there with Prosper as Alastor explains the Downstairs to him and how their overall hierarchy works. And because of Prosper's complete inability to keep himself out of trouble, we meet Ogres, Fiends, and Ghouls along the way.

The description to this new world feels natural, realistic, and instantly drew me in. There are only degrees of how correct I am. There are countless complexities and realistic tendencies woven into him in this sequel that I can't get over it. Prosper goes through a constant internal pull when he's trying to decide between what's right and wrong, and it just felt so humane. Similarly, there were often two different Prospers because, at times, he felt like he needed to put on a brave face when other times all he really wanted was a little bit of help. Even though I'm now 22, I could relate to so many of the thoughts that Prosper had.

When I read books with the intentions of reviewing them, I take notes in my phone, and my favorite note taken for LLOPA was definitely: "Honestly just talk about how much you love Alastor. I missed his clever insults - some of my favorites from this book being "Gorbellied, crook-plated measle" and "Abominable, crusty thumb" - and his cunning schemes. I can't delve deep into the specifics of why I loved him so much in this book for fear of spoilers, but you've got to trust me on this one; his character development is unreal.

Alex aways somehow finds a way to introduce side characters that embellish the story and add to the main characters, not take away from them. We meet elves, shades, new changelings friendly reminder that I still love Toad with my whole heart , and they each add a new level to the story. And with that, they add even more plot twists that will be sure to leave your jaw on the floor.

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There's one plot point with Nell that I really think every single reader can relate to; I know I can. It's fun to escape to a world that's not like your own, but it starts to get really impressive when an author can include elements of our world into a fictional one. Even in a world filled with monsters threatening to take over the human realm, we can still afford a lesson of how we should treat others even when they're different than us.

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And again, without giving too much away, the plot is so intricately planned and executed. When you think your questions are close to being answered and the story is going to start wrapping up, yet another plot twist hits you in the face and pushes you forward. You're right there with Prosper as he looks for answers to his questions and tries to make his own connections. The twists will even keep you guessing until the very end.

There were small conversations of reassurance and general friend banter that made them feel like real people.

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I could even see myself having these same chats with some of my own friends. Nell also even has an incredibly realistic experience with a Barbie Flower which genuinely had me thinking, "that's me! I keep having to press the delete button on so many sections of this review because I don't want to spoil anything, but there is just so much I could talk about.

This could probably easily turn into a 7 page, MLA formatted literary analysis. The Last Life of Prince Alastor officially comes out on February 5, so make sure you run out to your local bookstores or place a preorder!

Last Life in the Universe

Overall: 4. Want to talk about this book or see me review your favorite? Just let me know! Mar 12, Noelle Haycraft rated it liked it Shelves: middle-grade. So I'm between a 3 and a 3. Let's just be generous and say 3. A little slow but also still good. And the complexity of the relationship between Alastor and Prosper?? I'll eat that up any day of the week. But here was my problem, this book could've easily been pages shorter than what it was. I'm not saying knowing about that world wasn't interesting, I just feel as if way too much detail went into describing the world and not enough into developing the plot.

Another problem that I had was that a lot of the minute details from the first book I had forgotten so when the characters referenced something from the Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding I was always like, uhhhhhhh??? There were many instances while reading this book that I was confused or didn't really understand the references or what had happened or who they were talking about because either I didn't remember. But I will hype this book up to no end simply because of the nuanced relationship of Prosper and Alastor. Alastor is not a good person, but that's simply because he was raised that way and he has never had any reason to trust anyone ever.

Prosper is a precious bean that could do no harm and I'm offended if you don't like him. Truly, one of the greatest pairings ever and a Slytherin Hufflepuff 'friendship' if I've ever seen one. If you're craving a semi-spooky but definitely interesting middle grade read that just has a light splash of demons and a full heaping of magic and intrigue? Definitely pick this up. Prosper never got the reunion apology I think he deserved. He's been treated like garbage from his family for his ENTIRE LIFE and yet the only person we see legitimately apologize to him is his grandmother and even then it seemed like a half-assed job.

I'm not saying we should've seen them groveling I mean, that part where Prosper gets stabbed and he thinks he's going to die? Prime time for the fam i. That part was simply unsatisfying. Make people feel guilty for being emotionally crappy to their kids!!!! It was actually one of the first books I ever requested on NetGalley, and it was a huge surprise to me when I actually got it. I loved that book, so I was really excited to get back to these characters, especially Alastor.

As Alastor would probably say, abandon all hope ye who enter here…maggots! I did find myself missing Salem quite a bit. Though Salem is gone, Alastor still has a lot of adjusting to do.

The Last Life by Claire Messud

In Prince Alastor, his struggle is more with the emotional and logical side of humanity than the physical side. Alastor himself takes the focus a lot more in this instalment, in general. A lot has changed around his home since he went away to the mortal world, and the adjustment is not an easy one for him.