Friday, June 30, 2017

Saturday #Review - Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry #Fantasy #YALit

Series: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Fantasy, Retellings

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a familiar story with a dark hook—a tale about Peter Pan and the friend who became his nemesis, a nemesis who may not be the blackhearted villain Peter says he is…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. Peter lies.

Christina Henry, who took on Alice in Wonderland in her own unique way and managed to knock it out of the ball park, returns with a new take on Peter Pan in Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook. Before reading Lost Boy, do yourself a favor and pretend that you've never read J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Pretend that Lost Boy is instead the prequel to Barrie's novel, or if you must, a re-imaging of the tale that puts the focus on how one boy, best friend of Peter Pan once, became the diabolical Captain Hook who hasn't been given a real chance to tell his own side of things. 

The key character is Jamie. Jamie, at 8 years old, was the first boy that Peter Pan brought with him to Neverland. Peter promised him that he would never grow up, that he would always have adventures, and that they would be together forever. All he had to do is love Peter, and be his playmate always. Jamie worshiped Peter once, but he has seen the toll that Peter's games have taken on the Lost Boys. Jamie is the best fighter on the island. Boy are both scared of him, and respect him because he, in turn, teaches them how to survive, and he knows where all the bodies have been buried. 

As the years have dragged on, Jamie realizes that Peter isn't the boy he thought he knew. Especially when he takes on being a mentor for a boy named Charlie, and later a new arrival name Sal who is more than I can say. Peter truly believes that the boys are replaceable, and if he loses one, he can always steal another one. Just as long as that boy is presumed to be unwanted. Would I consider this story to be a villain redeemed by alternative facts never heard of before? Quite so.

So, I ask you to do yourself a favor. Open your mind to the possibility that everything that you've been told about Captain Hook is a lie written by Peter and even Disney. Captain Hook is the perfect fall guy for Peter to blame for his truly bizarre behaviors. Pick up and read this story with an open mind and a willingness to extend reality to the possibility that everything that you've heard about Peter Pan is just plain wrong, and that Peter wasn't a nice boy at all. If you can do that, you will enjoy a truly fantastical ride with plenty of action, suspense, and most of all, adventure the likes that we expect from Christina Henry. 

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