Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Fairytale Retelling
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
I loved the first 50% of this story. The second half, I had mixed feelings about, although I still very much enjoyed it. This was such an interesting take on Peter Pan. This isn't retelling, necessarily, just a continuation of what happens after the story we know. There is so much more to Neverland than the fun and games that we are taught, and we get to know the story from Hook's perspective.
"He has youth and innocence on his side, and the heartlessness that comes with them. I have only heartlessness, and it is never, ever enough." (page 6)
Captain Hook was a 17th century privateer, until he is cursed to the Neverland, where he has spent almost 200 years fighting Pan in a war that never ends. Then one day, a grown woman appears in the Neverland, something that is impossible. Hook takes her under her wing to keep her from Pan, and along the way, they realize that maybe there is a way out for Hook after all.
I love that we got Hook's backstory mixed in the story. It was an interesting perspective to see where he came from and how he got to the Neverland. The next interesting thing is that Pan isn't the nice little boy we know. He's cold, heartless, cruel, cunning. He keeps Hook trapped in this never ending game, where Hook can't die. I also loved how we got to see other parts of the Neverland in depth, such as the mermaids and their lair, the fairies, and the First Tribes. They were magical, again described in such a gorgeous way that really made them come alive.
I mentioned that the second half wasn't as good as the first. The romance went from 0 to 100 real quick, and was not very realistic. Hook has this obsession with finding a way out, and while that is definitely understandable, it didn't fit well with what had happened before. I wasn't ever sure how to feel about Stella. I didn't feel a connection with her. I'm can't completely put my finger on it,but something in the second half was just not on par with the first.
However, this was still an amazing story, and I was hooked (no pun intended) the whole way through. I loved seeing the Neverland from this different perspective, in much more detail. And I loved the end, how it worked for the story but also left things a bit open. All in all, this was an amazing story, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves their fairytales.
"The world needs magic, now more than ever. If there is no safe place for children to dream, how will they ever dream themselves a better world?" (page 216)