Book Review: Never Never

neverNever Never
Brianna R. Shrum
Fairy-tale Retelling (Fantasy)
356 pages
Published 2015

Where do I start with this one? I had ups and downs with this book. It’s a retelling of Peter Pan, from Captain Hook’s viewpoint. And it reveals that James Hook was actually a boy taken to Neverland who thought it was going to be temporary, but then Pan refused to take him home.

I LOVE that it showed Hook as a sympathetic character. And in my interpretation, Hook is still that lonely 13-year-old boy that Pan stole, artificially aged through the tricks of Neverland. Being a 13-year-old boy explains the hysterical fear of the crocodile, and the blind rages at Pan. He’s still a child, without the emotional maturity of a man, and that explains a lot of his actions in the original Disney movie. (Which is incorporated in the last part of the book.)

I was disappointed in the ending of the book. Not in the writing – the writing was fantastic – but in the actual events. I wanted a different ending. (I’m trying not to spoil too much!)

And Hook’s romance – well. It was unexpected, but it made sense, and I enjoyed it. For a while it was the only pure thing he had, but even that was spoiled by Pan. Hook really just couldn’t catch a break.

It’ll be interesting to see how this compares to the other Hook retellings out there, which I’m planning to read as well – Peter Pan is one of my husband’s favorite fairy tales, and I love seeing fairy tales from the villain’s point of view.

To sum up: A solid retelling from Captain’s Hook point of view – the ending was not quite what I wanted, but villain’s stories almost never end happily for the villain, I suppose. Definitely worth the read.

From the cover of Never Never:

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man – James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to become a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

Except one.

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