Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Alias Hook

18404312Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Genre: Fantasy, retellings, adult fiction

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:
"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."
Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.
With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

I am a huge fan of fairy tale retellings, yet somehow I'd never read one about Peter Pan. Well, I guess that's a lie - I read Peter and the Starcatchers in elementary school, but nothing since then. I'm also a huge fan of antiheroes and complex characters, so as you can imagine I jumped at the chance to request this Hook-centric retelling from NetGalley.

Peter Pan has such an interesting premise - young boys that live forever and never age, frolicking in a land full of mermaids and fairies. The rather idiotic pirates seem like an afterthought, caricatures that provide comic relief. But Jensen makes Captain Hook a complex and all too human character, and it is Pan who is the caricature now. Her basic assumptions about the world are so brilliant, but they also make a lot of sense. The children kill for sport because they are just boys, and haven't yet developed a sense of conscience or responsibility. Hook is a man who welcomes death but has been cursed to keep coming back to life. He is selfish and callous, yes, but also broken and weary. The pirates on Hook's ship are former Lost Boys who couldn't shake off the call of Neverland even as they grew into adults in the real world. And then there's Stella.

Stella is the first grown woman to arrive in Neverland. Is she a former Wendy, or a part of Peter Pan's ruse? Is she an innocent that got caught up in a magical world on accident? Is she here to heal, or is she the one that needs healing? Sophie is the most intriguing and unique element in this retelling, and she really brought the story to life. I really enjoyed her flawed character as well as her complicated relationship with Hook.

I really enjoyed all the twists and little details that Jenson wove into the world of Neverland. From Hook being immortal to the nature of fairies, there was so much that was both familiar and new at the same time. This retelling struck a good balance of keeping familiar elements of the original story while weaving an entirely new story. The writing style was also really beautiful, and the snappy dialogue had me smiling quite a few times. I really enjoyed this book, and I'd recommend it for anyone looking for a new take on a familiar story.

*A free e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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4 comments:

  1. I've never heard of this book before but I also love fairy tale re-tellings and it sounds really interesting!

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  2. I really enjoyed it! I hope you like it too :)

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  3. Sounds really good! I went and requested it from NetGalley. :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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