Author: Brianna Shrum
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Release Date: 14th August 2015
Publishers: Spencer Hill Press
No. Pages: 356
Buy at: BookDepository
Peter Pan and his lost boys were some of my favourite characters growing up. But I’d never given much thought to the infamous Captain Hook and what his life was like as a child and why he hated Pan as much as he did (besides the whole crocodile-hand fiasco). I think I always assumed he was just there, when Neverland was created. Never Never takes a completely different spin on the story I was told and explains not only how Hook came to Neverland, but why he hated Pan so much.
It starts off when James is still a child. He meets Peter, who promises to take him on holiday to Neverland. Once they arrive there though, it becomes evident that Peter has no plans to ever return James to London. Now James, a child who wants nothing more than to grow up, is stuck in a world which hates men.
The concept of this story is really interesting but unfortunately the execution of it fell flat for me. The plot is very repetitive and it got old pretty fast. A large portion of the story is dedicated to Hook rambling and raging over how much Pan had wronged him, and how the only acceptable revenge would be to kill him. Only for Hook to be unable to land the killing blow when the time came, because Pan was only a poor, evil, selfish child after all. I would be totally okay with this surprising moral compass that the villainous Captain Hook had, if in the next five pages he wasn’t once against rambling and raging over how he would kill Pan next time.
For the first half of the book I did feel sympathy for Hook and the hopelessness of his situation. After all he was stuck in a world which loved the person who had robbed his family and the chance to grow up from him. However, the sympathy did turn to indifference pretty quickly because the story didn’t seem to go anywhere.
There is a romance but I won’t say with who because it could be considered spoilery. It was a doomed romance from the start but I actually did like the pairing.
This brings me to my final point. The story starts off feeling very middle grade and ends feeling very upper YA. Which didn’t bother me too much, but that is largely due to reading this book extremely slowly. If you’re planning to read this book in a couple of sittings, the sudden change may be a bit disconcerting to you.
Overall, this wasn’t a bad book but it wouldn’t be on the top of my recommendations.