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 be 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.
I was never a fan of Peter Pan, not in the Disney version, not in the original books and not in any other version I have ever come across. So Brianna Shrum's version of Peter Pan is perfectly in line with my total dislike of this character from the first time we were introduced. Peter is arrogant, selfish, moody, violent and utterly despicable in every way. He is adored and revered by the whole of Neverland. Except by James Hook, the boy he tricked into coming to Neverland and never allowed to leave.
I actually liked getting into Hook's head, understanding why he hated Peter Pan so much. Of course, I had a hard time justifying Hook's actions, but seeing him lose everything at the hands of the Pan actually made me feel for him more than once. Watching Hook's metamorphosis from innocent boy to ruthless pirate captain was deeply fascinating, and it kept me hooked (no pun intended) to this book from beginning to end.
As far as the story went, however, there were some flaws. Firstly, it got kind of repetitive in the middle, where Hook is just sort of waiting out the major battle with Pan and not really doing much else except wallowing in self-pity and planning his revenge. It was still extremely well-written though, so I did go through it without damage after all! I also wasn't totally sold on the secondary characters. I did like Tiger Lily, although I would have liked to see more of her, but all the others were just in the background, and I didn't really feel much attachment to them by the end of the book.
Overall, this was a really good read! Entertaining and well-written, it offers a new perspective on a beloved old classic.