I received this free digital ARC from the publisher via Penguin’s First to Read in exchange for my honest review.
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.
For something as fanciful as a story in Wonderland, this was quite dry. There was description, but it was lack-luster and empty. Or it was so thick that I couldn’t muddle it all out. There seemed to be quite a few tangents of unnecessary information (that didn’t seem to be in appropriate voice for the character, either.) And that’s just the writing style.
The actual story itself seemed to be left wanting, as well. It read more like an auto-biography, a recounting of past events, than an adventure story. Frankly, it just felt like a random dull read.
Slow. This did not really help the story either because on top of being a little on the dull side, it was also quite slow. It had a large build up, but didn’t really pick up from there. It kept a rather slow, plodding pace through, really, the entire book. Even what was intended to be the climax didn’t have the appropriate ‘umpf’ to give it speed or tension.
The main characters – Peter and Jamie – were really the only developed characters in the book. The rest were there, served a purpose, but weren’t truly fleshed out themselves. (Issues with that.) But I’m more annoyed by how… flat(?) Peter and Jamie were. They had obvious characteristics, but… it was like they were never hitting extremes or felt fully-developed (which is like the opposite of what I just said.) But what I’m trying to say is that they were fleshed out, but they didn’t feel fleshed out. They just felt hollow.
I do like the way this retelling managed to implement all the elements of the original Peter Pan story, but still keep it original. It stayed true to its inspiration, but made it a little less fanciful and a little more realistic and gritty. (Though, I still would’ve preferred more grit. It kind of felt like that was subdued, as well. )