There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.
Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.
**** Huge thank you to Berkley Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!****
(This was a buddy read with Ariana @ The Quirky Book Nerd! I will be linking up her review when she has it up here and keep a look out for our buddy read discussion and Q&A!)
As you all probably know by now I was a HUGE fan of Christina Henry’s “Alice” and “Red Queen” which were horror retellings of Alice in Wonderland. On top of that I “Peter Pan” is my all time favorite fairy tale so a Christina Henry retelling was going to be right up my alley……and it was!
(For those of you who are interested my reviews for “Alice” and “Red Queen” can be found here!)
“This isn’t a wonderful place for boys to play and have adventures and stay young for always. It’s a killing place, and we’re all just soldiers in Peter’s war.”
While this story is a retelling of “Peter Pan” it’s also an origin/redemption story for the character of Captain Hook/James Hook where we get to see his side of the story and here he is a boy known as Jamie who was whisked away to Neverland by Peter. He is the first and favorite Lost Boy who watches over all of the other Lost Boys because while in Peter’s mind the island is nothing but fun and games…..it’s quite the opposite for the boys.
Enter the horror aspect of the story.
Jamie has watched countless other Lost Boys succumb to the horrors of the island: pirates, the Many-Eyed, crocodiles, disease, and battles aka arena fights to the death. After so many years of this it starts to weigh on Jamie and it starts bothering him how Peter doesn’t seem to care about the well being of anyone but himself.
The pacing is a tiny bit slow to start but once the plot picks up you won’t be able to put this book down. There’s plenty of twists and turns you most definitely will not see coming.
I was absolutely blown away by how unique and twisted Christina Henry made the world we all know as Neverland. It was almost as if I was reading an entirely new story! Trust me when I say twisted too, this book is DARK and full of carnage, it’s almost like watching a slasher movie play out. She took the tale of “Peter Pan” and completely flipped it on its head and took us to its darkest depths.
I also loved the world building that was given, it wasn’t a whole lot but more and more was revealed as the story went on. Could it have used more? Definitely. Did I still enjoy it? Of course! All of the allusions to the original tale were fun to pick out as well because they all had their own dark twists such as why Hook is missing his right hand and of course why Peter and he are sworn enemies.
Be prepared for a very emotional ride because the things that happen to Jamie and the other Lost Boys can not only be terrifying but also extremely heart-breaking. You have been warned!
Of course the characters were fantastic since they are the driving force of the story here the main characters, Jamie and Peter, were incredibly complex.
I really enjoyed these versions of Hook and Pan, plain and simple. Jamie is a bit of a mother hen, always looking out and caring for the other boys while Peter is selfish, jealous, and doesn’t show any remorse.
Jamie is a very easy character to sympathize with as he is very caring towards the younger, inexperienced boys always helping them out and even burying them when they perish. He gets upset and angry with Peter over their deaths as Peter could care less and always goes off to get more boys as replacements.
Peter on the other hand was easy to dislike, he’s the true villain of this story. He only cares about playing games and having the boys adore and worship him, he grows very jealous if anyone is getting more attention than he is. However, even though he needs the constant attention of his Lost Boys he is very careless about looking after them and shows no guilt when one of them dies.
I have to say it was truly horrifying to see such a twisted, sick version of Peter Pan but I also loved every second of it. However, I can say my childhood may be ruined and I don’t know if I’ll ever look at Peter Pan the same ever again!
As for the secondary characters they didn’t really get a lot of depth but this makes sense as most of them are fodder for the island anyways……However, notable Lost Boys that I absolutely adored were Nod and Fog, Sal, and Charlie.
I need to scream my love of this book to the heavens! It was perfection! It was everything I was hoping for!
What I Loved:
- Unique, horrifying twists on the original story (and just in general)
- Complexity of Jamie and Peter
- Great allusions to the original story
- Even to fast pacing
- Horror, carnage, and shockers! (this may not be a plus to some people but it was to me!)
What I Didn’t Love:
- The world building could have been a little more fleshed out
- (Other than that it was FANTASTIC!)
I highly, highly, highly recommend reading this book if not just checking it out! If you love “Peter Pan”, fairy tale/classic story retellings, or even just horror stories then you most certainly will find something to love with “Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook”!
This book goes on sale July 4th, 2017!
Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository