Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
To be published: July 8
This book tells the story behind the man who would become Captain Hook, the villain in the Peter Pan stories by J. M. Barrie. It is hard to think of him as a man, but we are allowed to glimpse Hook as a young man in Restoration-era England as he goes from an educated trader’s son to that of a rakish young man hell-bent on revenge because of all the misfortunes that have befallen him. He forsakes the love of two women, one of which ultimately spells out his punishment in the dream world of Neverland. Hook and his original crew drift to Neverland in a fog (literally and figuratively) and are doomed to fought and be killed over and over again by Pan and his boys. Only Hook doesn’t actually die, but is constantly being reborn to fight Pan another day. It’s not until he has been there a few centuries that he meets an Englishwoman named Stella Parrish that will forever change his life. Just who is this woman and is she the key to Hook finally getting out of Neverland? To find out read this fascinating take on the Peter Pan myth. 4 stars.
This book originally drew me in with its comparisons to works by Gregory Maguire, who I have enjoyed in the past. The story does stall a bit in the middle, as Hook is trying to figure out more about himself and Stella’s new role in his life. I liked that the author made the story into an action adventure fantasy romance, but also with a healthy dose of reality as well. Let me explain. We are given a bird’s eye view of James Hookbridge’s development from a young man fascinated in carpentry, though this is looked down upon by his middle-class father, to his role as the leader of a gang of young rich men who gallivant around London’s pleasure houses, which is of course again looked down upon by his father. He then goes off to prove himself, only to be taken advantage of by a man who thought was his friend, who took all that James owned or was given. I honestly would never have thought of Captain Hook as a man with a past, but the author really makes him human and 3-D, not only as the man destined to be Peter Pan’s mortal enemy. The revelation about the men who become his crew members was particularly fascinating, and totally made sense. I also found it intriguing that they made Pan into the whiny vicious child, always getting his own way, instead of the hero of the tale as he is usually portrayed. It was almost like a total role reversal for Pan and Hook.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.