Following The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding (2017), Prosper and his evil body-sharing hitchhiker, Alastor, must team up to follow their respective sisters into the realm of the fiends.
As Alastor’s sister Pyra—formerly his favorite sibling and now his chief rival—has abducted Prosper’s twin, Prue, and absconded with her to the Downstairs, Prosper strikes a deal with Alastor for the latter’s aid in recovering Prue. Alastor’s excited to see home after centuries trapped in the human realm but finds much has changed, from landmarks to even the social hierarchy among fiends—and magic is subject to rationing in the face of a threat called the Void. Prosper must conceal his humanity and avoid Pyra’s hunters as he travels through this odd world, with its odder inhabitants—and the occasional familiar face or newfound ally. Interspersed with present-day action (alternating Prosper’s first-person perspective with Alastor’s third-) are flashbacks to Alastor’s history with the WASP-y Reddings, specifically Prosper’s ancestor Honor Redding, telling the story of Honor’s fall from a good, humble man who thinks of Alastor as a friend to the monster who traps Alastor and curses the Bellegraves (a descendent of whom is dark-skinned, biracial Nell, Prosper’s friend-turn-betrayer). The adventure through the well-realized, lovingly disgusting, monstrous world is a wild ride on its own, with one Hell of a climax. Its power increases through deft exploration of privilege, choice, and responsibility, themes that manifest in genuinely moving moments.
A demonic buddy-comedy with as much danger as heart—fiendishly fun. (Fantasy/horror. 9-14)