Wahoo! It is Wednesday, and I have a fun book for you today!
This week I want to tell you all about Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen.
If you are a fan of Wicked by Gregory McGuire and other reinvented fairy tales, and are a fan of historical fiction, I think you will really enjoy Alias Hook.
As you might have guessed, Hook, born James Benjamin Hookbridge, is himself the Captain Hook of Peter Pan lore. But have you ever wondered how, in Peter’s world where one never grows up, just how did Captain Hook end up in Neverland. In Barre’s original tale, Hook’s story ends as he is eaten by his other nemesis, the crocodile. In this tale, it is where it begins.
Let’s face it, little boys who don’t want to grow up, who have no parents, no responsible parties in charge, well, they are a smelly, dirty, mean little lot. Wendy returns to London, leaving Pan behind – after all, what little girl wants to forego all the fun and spend her time cooking and cleaning for said smelly, dirty misbehaving little boys? What happens to Peter Pan then?
In this tale reimagined, Peter Pan is, well – a spoiled brat.. He has a mean streak a mile wide, and because Neverland is HIS world, it is ruled by his whims. Hook and his pirates (all former Lost Boys returned to our world who somehow dreamed themselves back to Neverland as disappointed grownups – don’t all little boys need some baddies to battle?) exist in Neverland to provide the Pan a means of besting the “grownups”. While his band of pirates have come and gone (killed by Peter and his Lost Boys) and are replaced in time, Hook is trapped in Pan’s enchantment, suffering a death only to somehow return soon after with a few more scars to show and continue his life.
Life in Neverland is turned on end when Stella Parrish, a governess from the 1950’s somehow dreams herself (quite forbiddingly) to Neverland. Does her arrival mean the end of Hook’s enchantment? The story flashes back intermittently to tell the tale of Hookbridge and how he became Hook, and later how he ended up in Neverland. Add in a lagoon full of Lorelei whose siren songs lull both pirates and Lost Boys to sleep, fairies who aren’t anything like the cute Disney-ish pixies we have in mind but instead a raucous, rowdy, and at times wicket bunch, and the fact that Peter Pan is definitely not pleased to have Stella in Neverland (for he surely didn’t bring her there), and one determined Stella Parrish, and you have quite a tale.
Just as Wicked was not a tale for the kiddies, Alias Hook is not a children’s story. To be honest, Hook has quite a history of vile behavior that takes some doing to overlook – he is definitely no innocent – and the fairies are, um, a rather naughty, randy bunch. There are plenty of dark moments in this story. In the end, however, this is a story of forgiveness and redemption and what it means to grow up.
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen will be released on July 8, 2014.
Many thanks to both NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and grammatical errors are completely my own.