Alias Hook

Monday, July 7, 2014

Alias Hook
Lisa Jensen, 2014

New Release! I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley for the purpose of review.
Premise: The story of one James Hook, his rise, his fall, and his struggle with the reality and surreality of Neverland.

If you read, I mean really read, Peter and Wendy as an adult, you discover a curious thing. On the one hand, it is the story of a delightful adventure in a land where children’s games rule. On the other hand, it is the story of the Darlings, left bereft and terrified by the disappearance of their children. It is the story of the pirates, men casually murdered by children with no moral sense and a great deal of power. It is about the tragedy as well as the joy of childhood, the utter carelessness and amorality of children.

All that is to say that I enjoyed Alias Hook for the way the author is building on the original story. (I’ve seen a few reviewers already not take this into consideration and it bugs me. Yes, it’s inventive, but it’s impressive BECAUSE it works with the original. BECAUSE it’s NOT a full re-imagining!) For one thing, she explains and describes the fairy orgies, alluded to once in the original text! I really liked the expansion on some of the aspects of Neverland and the way it ties into wider myth-systems.

The prose is well constructed, the description in-depth without dragging. I did enjoy Hook, the reality of his situation and his grasping for something, anything to end the cycle between him and Pan.

I liked Parrish (the woman whose arrival in Neverland may be an indication that things are changing). I liked her story and her gumption.

That’s the good.

There is a great deal of flashback, and Hook’s early backstory either needed more or less time. I found it fractured and split between dull and nonsensically violent. Once all of the plot (past and present) was on Neverland, the book improved dramatically.

I have real mixed feelings about the ending. I feel like there were different/better ways certain of the characters could have gone. I fundamentally disagree with the tone of the ending, and feel that it leaves a lot of really unpleasant plot holes created by the expansion of/meta explanations for Neverland. That said, it’s… uh… romantic? Sure. That’s fine. But not satisfying. The prologue is satisfying, the resolution is thin.

Okay. To sum up: Worldbuilding is really strong, meta-plot is interesting, resolution is structurally and tonally weak.

Still strong enough for: 3 Stars - A Good Book