Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

We all know the story of Peter Pan.  He's the original wild boy, the boy who won't grow up and brings a collection of children to his land of innocence, Neverland.  He fights the good fight against the evil Captain Hook, aided by the Indians and the fairies who also live in Neverland.  He is joy and the promise that you can have it all if you only believe.

But we've never heard Captain Hook's side of the story until now.  In Alias Hook, Liz Jensen brings us Hook's backstory.  He is born the son of wealth in London, educated and raised to be a noble.  He becomes a pirate out of the need to escape when he is captured while going to oversee his father's holdings on Jamaica.  He spends time in prisons and working in gold mines, and after betraying his lady love, a Caribbean witch, is cursed to spend eternity in Neverland.  He is always defeated by Peter and can never die, which means he dies a thousand deaths and must watch his crews be constantly defeated and killed.  Everyone there is his enemy, Peter and his boys, the fairies and the Indians.  He sees Peter, or Pan as he calls him, differently, a cruel, spoiled boy who will do anything to get his way and who rules Neverland with an iron fist.  Nothing and no one can survive there without Pan's agreement.

Or at least that's the way it's always been.  Then one day, Hook finds something amazing.  He finds someone lost, which is common and how he gets his crews.  But this is a woman.  A woman?  Pan will never allow a grown woman in his paradise, but here she is.  How did she get there?  What is her purpose?  Is this a crack in Pan's control?  Perhaps Hook can widen this crack and exploit it to find his way out of Neverland forever.

The woman is named Stella Parrish, and she is no meek and mild woman.  She is strong, lusty and determined to get what she wants.  As time goes on, Stella and Hook form a partnership that they believe will be eternal.  It will take everything they can do and everyone's help, even Hook's enemies,  to break Pan's spell and leave Neverland behind.

Liz Jensen has written a cunning, charming recreation of Neverland.  This is a seriously wonderful book.  It is a retelling of a tale we thought we knew everything about, a tale of self-discovery and love, of discovering that there is more in the world than what we thought we had to settle for.  Love can change us in mysterious ways, making us more than we thought we were or could be.  This book is recommended for fantasy lovers and readers interested in reading a book that makes us believe in ourselves.  I can hardly wait to see what Lisa Jensen will do next. 

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