*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
The author and I must’ve had very similar thoughts while reading Peter Pan because this book was exactly what I have been wanting from a Peter Pan inspired story. To be fair, this was the first book inspired by the original that I’ve ever read, but to also be fair, most of the ones I’ve come across are all “Peter is awesome!” and seem to be based on the Disney version, and that’s not what I want to read.
See, I was shocked when I read Peter Pan for the first time by how terrifying Peter’s character was. The original story has a lot of darkness in it, and Peter does horrible things, like maim and kill his own boys, so I loved that Katrina Monroe actually used the darker side of Peter’s character for her version of him and referenced a lot of those horrifying things.
Also awesome was that Hook was a good guy! Well, kind of. He was still a pirate who probably did plenty of bad things in his time, but even he didn’t condone the slaughter of innocents just for fun. I loved his character in the original, so it made me happy to see he wasn’t villainized, even though he didn’t play very much of a part this time. I also liked how the author stayed true to the story by *SPOILER ALERT (not for this book, but for the original)* making Hook a ghost, since this one took place after he was killed. *END SPOILER ALERT*
Another great thing, Madge had a much more realistic and suitable reaction to a strange boy showing up and talking about flying and pixie dust and Neverland than Wendy did. She thought he was just a whackadoo and wanted him to leave her alone. And then her happy thoughts (since you need to think happy thoughts to fly) were about punching him lol.
Madge was, however, a little too mature, jaded, and street-smart for her age. It’s not entirely impossible for a 14-year-old to already know things about the horrors of the world, depending on their life, but I’m not sure her strictly sheltered life with her grandma would’ve given her that kind of knowledge. I also felt like the depths of the characters were never really explored, but that was something I could overlook since I don’t think that was really the point. It was more of a plot-driven book.
One other issue I had was that I noticed a few logic flaws. *SPOILER ALERT* (How did Hook help Madge get off of Skull Rock if he was incorporeal and incapable of touching anything? How did no one in the city notice a flying ship above their heads? How did the ship fly period, since Madge replaced Peter’s pixie dust with shell powder? Why did Jane go back and abandon Madge when she was the one who refused to let Wendy send her to an orphanage?) *END SPOILER ALERT*
One last thing to note, the author really didn’t romanticize anything in this book. Everything was very gritty and realistically disgusting and disturbing. Even though the protagonist is 14, this is not something I’d consider a YA book (and it’s not listed as one). That’s not a bad thing at all though, just something to take into consideration.
So to summarize, a dark story based on the original rather than the Disney version was what I wanted, and I’m happy to say that was exactly what I got!
All boys grow up, except one.
On the tenth anniversary of her mother’s death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.
On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan’s eternal youth.