My rating: 3.8 of 5 stars
RANTER REVIEWER AT WAR WITH HERSELF
Was it good? Yes.
Was the world full of well rounded, rich detail? No.
Did we need this? I…suppose not.
Were the characters multifaceted and we’ll developed? The MCs were.
What about the other characters? They only developed when and if they needed to…otherwise they acted as fodder for the grind. BUT in a way that emphasized the MCs feelings on the matter.
Was the plot unique? Sadly, no.
Does the book have merit? Oh, yes.
Was it enjoyable? In the way you cannot help but rubber neck at a car wreck— there is so much tragedy in this book that it flits the balancing act of wisdom when it cares to.
….and back and forth I went.
“I hate Peter Pan.”
In case the title did not clue you, this is a Peter Pan retelling. (Whew. Now that that is out of the way…) And like our MC, I should start this by saying that I am most definitely not a Peter Pan fan, so that could lend toward
some bias. Also, between the title and the Prologue, you pretty much know how this one is going to play out. Although at the time I read this I had never seen the subtitle and I STILL predicted how it was going to play out, so there is that. Fact is, unlike Alice this tale stays pretty true to Peter Pan. It is the Prequel to the tale Disney so kindly sensored for our first time way back when. In fact, some of those nit picky questions are addressed here. (view spoiler)
All that being said, I did get bored. *flinched at the admittance.* Maybe I was comparing it to much to The Child Thief or Alice (both which I rave and recommend, by the way.) Whatever the case, the beginning of this tale just did not do it for me although it did pick up later. To better explain…TO THE STORY!
“He wanted the boy and Peter got what he wanted—always.”
In a way, this entire story is about a boy. Only it is not about the boy you may think it is. Peter Pan treks into the real world and brings boys back to ‘play’ with him. However his way of play is quite different from our own and many, many boys die. But there had to be a first boy. And for whatever reason, the very first boy that Peter brought over has lasted the longest and is the fiestiest. He has loved Peter for what could be over a hundred years. But a disagreement over one of the newest recruits could be just the thing to change all this.
…Sounds intriguing? Yeah…and yet… the first bit is the dreadfully dull bit. The first 8 chapters are in ‘Part One’ and are the worst of the lot in my opinion. There is too much introspection into the underdeveloped mind of a 12-year-old-going-on-grown-up. Back and forth we go as he argues (unconvincing) with himself and describes the very limited world he lives in. BUT if you can slog through Part One, you will not be disappointed. Both the pace and the plot pick up from here.
“It’s not such a wonderful thing, to be young,” I said. “It’s heartless, and selfish.”
“Et tu Brute?”
Betrayal has a way of livening things up. So does jealousy. And so does anger. Here we begin to see the dark nature that Christina Henry won
me us over with. The problem with children is that ID overrides ego and superego. What they want goes. What seems good, is. Personal gratification and selfishness are the hallmark of childhood. What would become of such a child over years when you take away the innocence and leave the rest? Would, could a monster grow? And who is the monster? The one who remains savage or the one who becomes savage in a singular purpose?
Oh Freud, what a field day you would have with this book.
“Was this, too, part of growing up? Was it facing the bad things you’d done as well as the good, and knowing all your mistakes had consequences?”
When Peter goes too far in his fun and games he may just leave behind the one person the game was supposed to ensnare. And by doing so it could turn out that Peter is given revelations that he was not prepared for. And what does a sulkly, cruel boy do when he does not get his way? Blood Bath. A blood bath that leaves the lost boys wondering just what happened to all those promises of childhood joy.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?” I roared.
“Only what I had to,” he said, and he was serious in a way that I rarely witnessed. “Nobody will take you from me…”
As I have come to expect from Mrs. Henry, the dialogue was superb. The scenes flowed flawlessly. You can not imagine a story being told any other way. That being said….
(Well…except for the beginning. That one hitch. What happened?! It was a long, drawn out bore! The MCs were one dimensional and the imagery was flat. How did ut change so rapidly from show to tell? It wad like she was trying to hard to paint us a picture that she TOLD us rather than showed us at first. No need. The story was already there! All we needed was to be plunged in!)
Personally I think that the author was handicapped by how closely she kept the world to the original. Nothing was built on Neverland. It was the same as we know it. So if you adore this author for her world building, this will be a shock. Brace yourself and you will be happier reading it.
THAT ASIDE: the dark prose and mind catching MCs kept me well invested if only a little wanting. Like before, as soon as I got into this author’s work I did not come up for air until it was finished. And, like her other retelling, this one kept me thinking long after I set it down. Such was the underlying commentary on society and preconceptions. It might have even changed who I root for in the battles to come.
“We all loved you, and so we loved Peter too, because you did. But when you stopped, so did the rest of us. You always made us see him through your eyes.”
Overall I thought this book was well written if a bit rocky at the beginning. While we did not get the author’s trademark world building genius, we did get her richly dark prose and flawless understanding of how character’s should behave. Even her flat characters had a purpose (view spoiler) which added to the tale. I would suggest this to those who like the darker sides of classics; but still want to recognize the original work in them.
THIS ARC WAS PROVIDED VIA NETGALLEY FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.