I love a good fairytale retelling, obviously. However, I have to admit that Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen, was actually a cover buy for me. I saw that it was a Peter Pan retelling but didn’t know much more about it. But I’m happy to say that the story was just as beautiful as the book cover!
“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.
The plot in this book was fantastic. I had first thought this was a YA novel, however, it becomes very apparent within the first chapter that this is an adult story. This is not a tale of Neverland following the adventures of children, but the story of the cursed adult Hook, stuck in a land controlled by the whims of a certain child. It was gritty, heartbreaking and a definite eye-opener. I appreciated how unique the story was for a retelling, giving us a continuation of Hook’s story, rather than just retelling the original one from his point of view.
The pacing was a bit uneven throughout, speeding up in certain places and then pulling back in others to allow the characters to shine instead of the action. If you’re one of those who craves non-stop action and excitement then you might not enjoy this book as much, as the action is fleeting with more of a focus on the story of Hook and his character development. I find this to be the case in regards to most adult fiction stories, which is a big difference from most YA novels.
And oh, those characters… Jensen’s Hook reminds me so much of Hook from Once Upon A Time. He lives his live fueled only by his anger and vengeance, believing himself to be beyond saving and worthy of redemption. So obviously, I was in love. Haha! I really appreciated getting a true backstory to how he ended up in Neverland and the reasons for why he is destined to remain there. It made his character that much more real, giving a much better reason for his being the villain. Stella was also a fun character. She was strong and clever, able to handle her own against Hook’s strong personality. But oh Peter, he just wasn’t the same boy that we’ve had a tiny crush on at some point or another. This boy was heartless, cruel and so selfish that all of his adventures in Neverland can be attributed to his insatiable need to be the only winner. Honestly, I really hated him in this book. He was a legit villain!
If you’re looking for a unique retelling of the story of Peter Pan, then I highly suggest this one. Jensen does an amazing job bringing a new spin on the classic tale that immediately feels real. Just realize that you may finish this story unable to ever look at Peter Pan the same.
Final Verdict: 4/5 stars
Have you read Alias Hook? What did you think of it? Did it make you change your opinion of Peter Pan and Hook?