First Lines: Outside the rain-splattered window of the taxi, London looks like it’s dressed for a funeral.
A little while ago, I posted about how many books are now retelling the story of Peter Pan. So I had to check out a few of them, didn’t I? This was the first of two that I grabbed.
Gwen has never had a place she called home because every time Gwen feels like she’s getting settled, her mother becomes terrified that “monsters” are going to show up and shuffles them off again. These fears have brought them to London. The only good thing is that Gwen’s best friend Olivia is going to be staying with them for a few weeks to see Gwen settled. But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy figures in the night, Gwen starts to believe that maybe her mom wasn’t crazy. They call the world Neverland, but it’s nothing like the stories Gwen knows. Good and evil aren’t as obvious and memories disappear like water through your fingers. To get out, Gwen’s going to have to choose her best bet: the charmer who says what she wants to hear or the rogue pirate who keeps her safe.
You know how when you open a book, they sometimes have those quotes from other authors and magazines that are raving about the book? One of those reviews said that this created the nightmarish world of Peter Pan the same way A.G. Howard created the nightmarish world of Alice in Wonderland for Splintered. So my expectations were up.
…And this didn’t live up to it.
Admittedly, it was a darker version of Peter Pan. That’s kind of a given. But to say that it created a “nightmarish world”? Um…not seeing it. And certainly not the weird nightmare world of Splintered. Not even close.
Most of my issues actually come from the writing. This book had so many holes it could have passed for Camp Green Lake. (If you get the reference, I commend you. If not…Google it. I dare you not to giggle.) Anyway, there were so many questions I had about the story that never got answered. Like there were thin references to people that never got explained well and dropped moments of mentioning characters. For example, there was one scene where a character thought back to something that she saw two pages ago, but when I went back to reread that, she never actually saw that thing two pages ago. I reread it twice trying to see where I dropped the ball, but it wasn’t there. That’s frustrating.
The plot itself seemed too easy. For being a “nightmare” of a world, Neverland sure is convenient. Gwen barely has to struggle for anything because it’s either A) handed to her, B) tricked into her hands, or C) Neverland just requires a little effort and it’s hers. There were a few things she did have to struggle with when it came to character conflicts, but Gwen vs. Neverland? Not much of anything. Her biggest Neverland struggle ended with, “OH! Well, wouldn’t you know it was here the whole time?”
It was just boring. I understand that it takes Gwen a lot longer to figure out who Peter and Hook are compared to us, going into this knowing it’s a Peter Pan story. I get that. But at some point, the girl needed to ramp up the action and DO SOMETHING. Gwen is the kind of heroine that lets others fight her battles for her, so there weren’t even that many fight scenes or moments where she had to be clever.
The characters were a bit bland. I did like Rowan’s storyline, which was pretty much the only one that was developed, but Gwen and Peter just…mini-Wheats.
Overall, there were some aspects of the story that were interesting (Rowan’s story), but mostly I just got bored and frustrated.