Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Historical
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
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.
Alias Hook was after the events of the tale of Peter Pan, which many know and love. Lisa Jensen manages to carefully construct what happens after the story ends, meanwhile giving us detailed and thought provoking insights into Captain Hook, who was once nothing more than a flimsy antagonist with little back story.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jensen’s take on this classic story, and even more importantly: Captain Hook. Alias Hook is told through the perspective of Hook, and we get to see a frankly sad and drained man. We get snippets of his past and can clearly tell what has led Hook to arrive in Neverland, after all he’s the only adult there. Captain Hook is no more simply a tyrant of a pirate, but a dark and complex character. Jensen’s characterization and character development were clearly her strengths, I found myself moved by Hook. He had strengths and weakness’, but what was interesting to me was how this effected his personality and actions. You could also see Jensen’s talent emerge as she takes Hook’s character and twists him into somebody who I actually felt sympathetic for. It’s this characterization that makes Hook’s final character developments all the more pleasing to witness. As Captain Hook remembers more of his past and interacts with several characters, you see a true tale of a coming to age story- which I find quite ironic considering this is all happening in Neverland.
Another character in Alias Hook that fascinated me was, of course, Peter Pan. I always have loved this character….
It was because of my
six year old crush general liking of Peter that I was definitely curious on how Jensen would manage to make me dislike a character who I previously admired. However Jensen definitely did it, she really dug deep into Peter’s darkness and wow! It’s definitely given me a new outlook on his character, it makes me wonder if I re-watched the Disney film whether I’d feel the same way about Peter. Alias Hook gets into the gritty regarding never growing up. Prior to reading this book I would always think that never growing up would be a pretty good deal, you wouldn’t have to deal with any adult stresses. However through Peter’s frankly violent character, we see somebody who is controlled by his childlike mind and psychology. Peter is so set on his “games” that he doesn’t care who gets hurt. He also doesn’t consider the consequences of his actions in the least, which of course leads to copious amounts of bloodshed. I think the character of Peter and his idealistic way of thinking (never growing up) is quite romanticized and this was highlighted throughout Alias Hook, making for a truly fascinating analysis of youth versus adulthood.
The loreleis’ lagoon, the most treacherous place in Neverland. Even I have never gone so far as that. Out of the jungle at the island’s southernmost tip rises the green cone of Mount Merciless, spitting a funnel of white steam into the sky above its coronet of pink clouds.
Neverland was definitely a dark and intriguing place, especially as the magic tended to lend itself to Peter. The setting was quite atmospheric through the creatures of Neverland, such as the faeries and the loreleis. Still, I felt as if there could have been just the tiniest bit more attention to the setting. The above quote describes it quite beautifully, though I would have appreciated seeing more of that as I feel like there was only one or two snapshots given. I also would have liked seeing the more historical elements. Hook had flashbacks to his past which were (see, I’m not even sure of the time period though I believe it’s golden age of piracy???) in London. Though Hook clearly embodied a historical character, you never really got to see any of the historical elements in Alias Hook.
The writing was a bit of a issue for me. It was inarguably beautiful, chock full of descriptions of characters and their insights. It was thought provoking and full of symbolism. However, it took me awhile to get through the writing. It was definitely slow paced in the beginning and quite heavy. However, after the first key plot point gets introduced things get moving quite smoothly. I found myself getting used to the introspective writing and enjoying it. Still, I could definitely see some people having a hard time getting through this one due to the prose and pacing.
The key plot point mentioned in the above paragraph is definitely when Hook meets the love interest. I felt as if the pace definitely picked up after that. There was romance in Alias Hook, however I actually found it to be quite enjoyable. Though it wasn’t the most steamy and heart wrenching romance, I found it to be well developed and by the end found myself hoping for the relationship to last. The relationship definitely had its conflicts, but I actually enjoyed reading that drama. It felt realistic and it definitely fueled Hook’s own character development. Parrish, the love interest, also was quite interesting. I would have liked more insight regarding her, though from we see Parrish is definitely a intelligent and resourceful woman.
Overall I would recommend this one for those who are looking for a introspective narrative that gives thought provoking insights regarding classic characters and what it means to truly grow up.
~Thank you Thomas Dunne for this review copy~
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