Hooked by A C Wise

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Hooked by A C Wise

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: What if Pan had kept Hook trapped in Neverland against his will? What if one day Hook found a way to escape? This is a re-imagined Neverland story, with terror and heartbreak and pirates galore!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: July 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1789096835

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It’s been twenty two years since Captain Hook, now going by just ‘James’, has been in Neverland. Living a new life in London, he has never completely escaped his past. But now he senses the edges of the beast circling around his life in London, and when suddenly he finds himself face to face in the street with Wendy, he knows that the line between this world and Neverland is growing thin. The beast is finally coming to get him, and in the process will pull Wendy and her daughter Jane back into their past once again.

I really like the premise for this story. The idea of Hook having managed to escape Neverland, to try to lead a different kind of life, is interesting and engaging, and the sense that Peter Pan is something of a villain himself, having trapped Hook inside his world destined to forever be defeated and die multiple deaths at Peter’s hands, is fascinating. This story is actually a sequel to another that A C Wise wrote about Neverland, called ‘Wendy, Darling’. I haven’t read the first book, but I don’t think I missed out on too much just coming straight into this book. Perhaps I would have liked Wendy a little bit more though, or seen her in a different light. The book moves through different viewpoints, and I was never very keen when it was Wendy’s turn. I much preferred Hook - a more interesting character, as villainous as he sometimes is.

My favourite parts of the story revolved around Hook, and his relationship with one of his crewmen, Samuel. I don’t know that I will ever watch Disney’s Peter Pan in quite the same way now, having seen that Hook, in this iteration at least, is gay. I enjoyed the way this part of the story unfolded, and the struggles he and Samuel face after they leave Neverland. Jane also faces struggles, as the only woman amongst a lot of men, training to be a doctor, but also because she too has a past history with Neverland, as in the previous novel it seems that she is stolen away as a child, by Pan, and is only saved by Wendy who goes to Neverland to get her back again. Jane and her mother have an awkward relationship, with many things unspoken between the two of them. There are interesting themes throughout, around escaping your past, dealing with grief, and understanding who you are, and who you want to be.

The aspect of the book I struggled with was around what on earth was actually happening towards the end! There’s quite a lot going on (though it’s hard to discuss without spoilers!) but I felt that the beast didn’t seem to be quite as difficult to vanquish as I’d expected, and there were too many loose threads around Pan, and who or what he now was. Perhaps there’s to be another book, to explain more about Pan? I felt that I came away with quite a lot of questions! But really, even without understanding everything, it’s a clever idea, and I still really enjoyed the story.

For another reimagined fairytale, you might like to try The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder by Marissa Meyer or Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2) by Marissa Meyer.

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