By: Larissa | June 23, 2014 | (26) Comments

Review: Alias Hook by Lisa JensenAlias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Genres: Adult, Fairytale Retelling, Historical
Pages: 368
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….

Okay, so six year old me definitely had a crush on this Peter.

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~

3 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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26 Responses to Review: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

  1. Well we all know I have an insane crush on Peter Pan *cough still cough* BUT ANYWAY. I really want to read this! Although, I’m a tiny bit worried about the writing being so thick and sludgy. 😐 I like crispy writing (because I’m a lazy reader mostly). Still, I’m absolutely checking this one out at some point…
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Rebel (Reboot #2) by Amy Tintera + interview + giveawayMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Hahah what’s not to like?? [; Lol apparently a lot according to this read. Yeah, when I was reading the writing I did think that it would hamper your enjoyment of the book. It’s quite introspective and definitely not to the point.

  2. I saw this on NetGalley a while back and while the cover caught my attention immediately, I didn’t request it because my reading pile was already too big. Kind of glad I didn’t ask for it though, haha, I really don’t have time to spare for only so-so books right now.

    Peter Pan has never been one of my favorite fairy tales, but I do enjoy the story and I think it’s interesting that we get to see Hook’s character developed into something more. I don’t think that’s ever been done before? Maybe there’s a little about him in Tiger Lily, but I haven’t read it yet so I wouldn’t know. And I’m actually really interested to see how the author turned Peter into such a twisted character! I’m with you: I’ve always liked him (not as much as you did 😉 f), so Jensen must be really talented to be able to turn a well-known hero into someone hateful.

    As much as I love beautiful writing, I feel like SOME books would be better off without it if only to quicken the pace. That’s probably just me being impatient, though. 😛

    Anyway, great review as always, Larissa! I really like the cover for this one, but I don’t think I’ll read it just yet. 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      The cover is so beautiful, isn’t it? I could just stare at it for hours [:

      Yeah, I’ve read perspectives from the villains in other fairytales before.Just not through Captain Hook. It truly was interesting to see some depth given to this usually quite flat character. In Tiger Lily I don’t believe Hook was really touched on too much. I’d definitely recommend Tiger Lily though- solid five stars from me c: Hehe my previous love of Peter has diminished, however slightly ;p

      I agree. Sometimes beautiful writing can just be too much and drag on a story.

      Thank you girl! (:

  3. Siiri says:

    Hiiii, Larissa! Haven’t seen you in a while 😉 HOOOOK. GIMME!! I love Hook. Well, thanks Colin *eyes her Once Upon a Time DVDs* I’m so glad to hear that the character gets an original spin that makes him someone you wat to root for and symphatize with. The setting sounds like it should be–Neverland is atmospheric after all. Whoop for a good romance. Sorry it wasn’t a perfect read for you, but yay that you enjoyed this as a whole, Larissa 🙂
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  4. Larissa says:

    Heeey Siiri! Haha, I’ve been hiding c: Lol mainly just sucking at commenting and being busy with work more like. YES OMFG HOOK IN ONCE UPON A TIME IS PRECIOUS AND AMAZING AHHHH. Hook in Alias Hook was certainly well done. The setting was quite well done, I just personally would have liked to see more of it. Yes, I definitely did enjoy this one as a whole. Thanks for commenting <33

  5. I’m glad to know that I wasn’t the only one who had a crush on Peter Pan! This book sounds really good, and I hadn’t heard of it before. I just love that there’s a lot more Peter Pan retellings coming out now! Great review. 🙂
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  6. Rashika says:

    I actually never had a major crush on Peter Pan when I watched the movie. He was always a little scary to me because the idea of never growing up frankly scares the hell out of me. I did however enjoy his character in a re-telling I read that really made him a likeable character. I’ve never really been curious about Captain Hook but it really speaks of the authors talent if she can make you feel vary of a character you once loved and like a character you once hated.

    Fantastic review, Larissa! 🙂
    Rashika recently posted…Random Things in Motion #4: Books and BiasMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, my opinoin on Peter has definitely shifted since reading this book. Guess the younger me didn’t realize how vicious he was/how not growing up is heavily romanticized to look good, when in fact it’s the opposite. That’s totally true regarding a author’s ability and how they can make you truly feel about a character. Thank you Rashika c:

  7. I am definitely intrigued on how Jensen made you dislike Peter Pan. I read Tiger Lily in May, and I loved that retelling. This one, I am really curious about. It’s Hook! (And I did have a crush on Peter. I mean, he can fly!)
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    • Larissa says:

      Tiger Lily was such a good book omfg. This one was quite good as well, though Tiger Lily was still my fave. The Hook aspect definitely was unique and well done

  8. Oh, my god. O_O Your review is beautiful. I AM SUPER INTRIGUED NOW.

    My first retelling of Peter Pan was by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and I remember giving it four stars. It was such a beautiful, tragic tale told in the eyes of Tiger Lily. Even though I watched the Peter Pan cartoon, that book really changed my perspective of Neverland somehow, and made it very surreal. I was actually thinking no retelling could top it.

    But this? Your review SOLD me. I want beautiful narration. I want a story seen in the eyes of Captain Hook. I want to understand him and see the other side of the coin. I want to feel his complexity and how he sees Peter, too. I liked how it made you dislike Peter Pan.

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    • Larissa says:

      Thank you Faye! <33 You're a sweetie. Lol I didn't go into writing this to be extra special but I'm glad you appreciated this c: This comment is my fave okay shhh. I loved Tiger Lily, and I have to say that I still found it to be better than Alias Hook. Though Alias Hook was also still good, I just loved the story and romance in Tigerlily better.

      Hope you get and enjoy this one soon

  9. Jasprit says:

    I love books which give us a totally different take on characters and actually make us empathise with characters that we originally wouldn’t have. This book first went on my radar earlier today and I am highly intrigued in giving this book a go. Also the cover is just gorgeous! Also I too had a crush on the Peter Pan that you mentioned! 🙂 Lovely review as always!
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    • Larissa says:

      Same! Like when there’s a “mean popular girl” and the author manages to give the character depth and great character development. That’s wonderful to read and I just love going on that journey you know? [: Isn’t the cover just lovely? <33 Thank you Jasprit !

  10. Kelly says:

    I’m loving the dark and quirky retellings that are coming out lately, and this was one of my favorites when I was growing up. I can’t imagine the darker side to Peter Pan, but I’m so excited to get my hands on a copy of this. Awesome review, you’ve hooked me. Pun intended 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, fairy tale retellings are quite my not so guilty pleasure. Yeah, there’s definitely a darker side to Peter, believe it or not. I guess it’s just harder to see as the idealism of never growing up is so heavily romanticized. Hahaha love the pun [; Thank you girl!

  11. Zoe N. says:

    Hmm…Whenever I see a retelling of anything Peter Pan related, I always am hesitant to read it because of how much I loved Jodi Lynn Anderson’s gorgeous retelling Tiger Lily; and I feel nothing can honestly compare to that. However, this definitely sounds like a brilliant read! I always love when authors really dig deep into the physiology of their characters, and it seems Lisa Jensen definitely did that here.

    I’m a little worried about the writing though; because writing bombarded with metaphors and inner symbolism always tends to confuse me, and the slow pacing as a result of that definitely concerns me. However, everything else about this sounds absolutely wonderful, so I think I’ll give it a go! Thanks for sharing Larissa, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! Glad you enjoyed it! <3
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  12. Larissa says:

    Yeah, I have also read and adored Tiger Lily. Easily gave it five stars! Though Alias Hook is quite enjoyable, I wouldn’t rank it on the same level as Tiger Lily. The writing in Alias Hook is beautiful, and so was Tiger Lily. However I feel like the difference lies in the fact that Tiger Lily felt more crisp and easier to get into. Alias Hook was quite heavy.

    Thank you for commenting girl c:

  13. Wow, what a unique take on the Peter Pan story! It sounds really interesting how Peter’s forever youth was explored in this one especially with the darker sides of it. Hook definitely sounds like a multi-layered character as well. Fantastic review Larissa!
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    • Larissa says:

      It really was a unique and detailed retelling based on the original c: Yeah, it was certainly enlightening to see Peter portrayed in such a dark way. Hook was definitely not a flat character, he was just so complex and had all of those layers. Thank you Jeann c:

  14. I can’t wait to see what I think about the writing-style. I love details and full descriptions sometimes, but it really depends on the author. Most of the times it works for me when it comes to fairy tales 🙂

    Neverland has always been a fascinating place. I like to see the different adaptations from authors, so it will be fun to see what Lisa did with the place. Dark is one of the things I already like 😀

    My look on Peter already changed after Tiger Lily, I can’t wait Disney the same way now, and I can’t wait to see what Lisa brings to his character!

    Great review 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah! I feel like the heavy description did make sense considering this was a fairytale, the two often coincide right??

      I agree! I find myself so intrigued by it. I love dark retellings the best if I’m honest c:

      Tigerlily did quite change my view of Peter! This one just took it a step further [;

      Thank you Mel! (:

  15. Huh, how is it possible there’s a recent Peter Pan story that I didn’t know about?! WHERE HAVE I BEEN, LARISSA, THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. It sounds like this author definitely has a unique take on the story, so I think I have to look into this.

    Have you read TIGER LILY, by the way? It’s not as obvious re: Peter’s character as this one sounds, but you definitely look upon him the way an adult does, with all the complicated nuances of feeling.

    Thanks so much for putting this book on my radar!
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    • Larissa says:

      Hahah come on Wendy! You need to step it up [; I hope you do check this one out and give it a try!

      I’ve totally read Tiger Lily and fell in love with it. It did manage to change the way I felt about Peter and Alias Hook just furthered that dislike even more haha.

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