What happens when you take a well-known and beloved children’s story and let Christina Henry write a prequel? You get a dark and grisly novel that leaves you questioning whether Peter was the hero of the story after all. This is the tale of Hook and how Peter made the villain we read and see today.
Jamie was the first to arrive and he will be the last one to remain. For years he and Peter lived in harmony until Jamie starts to see, starts to see the kind of person Peter really is; his callous attitude to those that die and his jealously to those who take Jamie away from him. The worst thing is, Jamie can feel himself outgrowing Peter in more ways than one. When Peter brings Nip to the island Jamie knows he has gone too far and will whatever he needs to to protect the young boys and himself.
I love Henry’s dark retellings of Alice in Wonderland and this is no exception. From the outset Jamie is likeable and relatable – as much as boy on a fantastical island can be. He looks out for the younger boys and tries to keep Peter in check as much as possible. As a reader we can already see he has outgrown Peter and is already the mature and father-like figure that the boys need. And everybody else can see this also. It is Jamie who they run to when they need help and Peter is fine with that, as long as they don’t annoy him.
Having read a few prequels and sequels to Peter Pan this is the one I enjoyed the most. Most only look into Peter’s origins and how he continues to fight Hook, none have looked into the man himself. What I really enjoyed was the tension that was built throughout the novel. We really see how Peter has alienated himself from Jamie and the lengths that he will go to to ensure his own survival, and Jamie’s, above everyone else. Peter is truly the villain in this story showing how self-centred he really is.
Of course all of the blood and battles throughout only emphasise this point while making for a terrifying yet gripping read. It shows how far children will go to survive and that they aren’t as innocent as you may think. If you haven’t already gathered I love Henry’s writing style, it’s quick, imaginative and easy to follow.
The ending is just as grim as the rest of the book and finally gives readers the reason as to why Hook continues to come back and hunt for Peter Pan. We even see an origin story for the sparkly Tinkerbell and where her deep hatred for Hook comes from, trust me, it’s justified.
For anyone looking for a story that will captivate you and leaving you begging for more I thoroughly recommend this book. Even if you aren’t a fan of Peter Pan (the original book and movie) this origin might just give you reason to revisit this tale with a fresh pair of eyes.