I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Published by Macmillan on July 8th 2014
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"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."
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.
Alias Hook is a twist on the story of Peter Pan, focusing in on Hook, a character who I’ve loved and hated for a long time. When the book begins, we can see that all is not going well and Hook is tiring of Pan’s games, which has cost him countless crews over the past 200 years. An extraordinary thing happens though, a grown woman appears in Neverland, a phenomenon that has not every happened since he’s been there. Sure, grown men who used to be lost boys and little Wendy’s, but never a real woman.
Stella isn’t sure why she is there, but she last remembers drinking herself to sleep as a Nanny and wanting to be taken away to Neverland after rediscovering a copy of Peter Pan. She seems to have come to escape the terrible life and the wars where she lives. While Hook cannot show weakness in front of his crew, something about Stella reveals the softer side of him. Often he has wished to get away from Neverland and now he seems to have motivation, to keep Stella safe from Pan, who declares her to have broken the rules.
An adult story, there is quite a bit of sexual content and lots of budding romance in Alias Hook. I remember posting on twitter what I was reading and a friend asked the age range. She commented how rarely I read adult books, but I cannot resist anything when it comes to retellings. There’s enough adventure and intrigue in the story that kept me reading and soon I had finished it in less than 24 hours. I kept coming back to it, wanting to find out more and be immersed in the dangers and beauty of Neverland.
I loved that the story takes us not just to Hook’s own ship, but to the mermaids, the natives, and even the fairies and the places they call home. I especially loved the interactions with the mermaids, as they are often conveyed as the most dangerous creatures in Neverland. I rooted for Hook throughout the book, even as he made maddening mistakes. Pan is the bad guy in this story, keeping Hook trapped in a nightmare of youth, where he has to see men slaughtered during Pan’s games with the Lost Boys.
An adult and stunning retelling of Peter Pan, telling Hook’s story with a dash of romance and adventure.