Review by Ner:
Author: Lisa Jensen
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling | Romance
Read: from June 12 to 16, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
“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.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Peter Pan is one of my favourite classics and a book that changed my point-of-view towards growing-up. Therefore, Alias Hook was a must-read-book for me since it features one of the most intriguing characters in literature and one of personal favourites: Captain Hook.
Sorry not sorry about sharing this! THIS is how I kept picturing Captain Hook while reading the book! DAMN YOU ONCE UPON A TIME!!!
Alias Hook tells the story of Captain James Hook; how he became this infamous pirate and how he ended up stuck in Neverland with Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. It focuses mainly on his endless struggle in finding a way to leave Neverland – even if by leaving he has to die. But he can’t really die – though he might have some fights with his archenemy and end up in the bottom of the ocean, he simply cannot die. And he has been living in Neverland for 200 years. Then, out of nowhere and not entirely sure how that is even possible, a grown-up woman appears in Neverland and her presence will change everything… absolutely everything!
In this book the villain becomes the hero and the hero becomes the villain. And this new hero is a tragic one: he was brought up during the 18th Century, he was betrayed and was caught in this curse where he has to open his eyes. One of the things I loved about his character was his heart: he has seen his crews – because he had more than one crew throughout his time stuck in the Neverland – die and cannot cope with more deaths in his semi-immortal life; he cannot hear the ticking sound because it reminds him of how stuck he is in this eternal Neverland; and when Parrish, a grown-up woman shows up, he cannot deal with the fact that he might have to sacrifice her to be free. In general Captain James Hook is only human.
Alias Hook was very well explored and developed. Certain questions that we might had whilst reading the original tale are slowly explained in this book. And I loved the idea of Neverland being under a spell where time stops and only when Peter Pan is dead can Hook be free. But Peter Pan cannot die because if that happens, the only haven for children would be lost. And I also enjoyed the small details that connects this story to the original… they were so well put in the book I couldn’t help but grin whenever I came across one.
However, since this book is only told by Captain Hook himself, there were moments when I would get slightly tired of his incessant depression. Sometimes he would have internal monologues where he would only curse his bad luck and that would be, sometimes, tiring.
Still, the idea of having an intersection between Neverland and the real world was rather interesting. Whenever something in Neverland happened – which was the main setting in the book – a chapter about his past life would be added explaining his character. It was exciting to be able to meet his life before becoming the famous Captain in the famous story for children.
Stella Parrish’s character was slightly annoying but I did enjoy her. She was brought to Neverland by something calling to her – at first she thinks its Peter and the Lost Boys looking for a mother. But the truth is rather surprising to both Parrish and Hook. She was a 20th century troubled and broken woman whose life hasn’t been kind. With the help of Hook and helping him back, together they face their pasts and fears in search for their way out.
Of course this isn’t a book for children. Children would not understand the state in which these characters are and Pan’s own dim personality. The deaths, the sex scenes, the misery and pain are too grim and detailed for a child to read and comprehend but someone who always saw the original story as a motivator to grow-up, this will definitely be the tale to read.
Alias Hook was a piece of noble literature that is moving, sad, tragic and beautiful. Lisa Jensen wrote a book filled with details, magic and love and this book will definitely conquer the hearts of those who wish Neverland to be so much more and those who’ve always wanted something more to Captain Hook.