Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Published: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
368 pages (eARC)
Genre: Fantasy/fairytale retelling/romance/historic fiction
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
"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.
I’ve always loved Peter Pan and anything even remotely related to Neverland. I love the idea of a magical place where children go when they don’t want to grow up. I never thought I’d be able to accept anything where Pan was made out to be the villain, until this past season of Once Upon a Time. They took the legend of Peter Pan and turned it on its head in the most amazing, sinister, heartbreaking way, and I loved it. That, and Captain Killian Hook from OUAT, made me even more interested in all things Neverland. I jumped at the chance to read Alias Hook, a story that seemed to turn Neverland and its inhabitants into characters that were familiar in one way but also completely new.
I loved Alias Hook from the first few pages. Beautifully written, compelling, and completely captivating, this book - and Captain James Benjamin Hookbridge - stole my heart in a completely unexpected way. Narrated by Hook himself, the well-known ‘villain’ of Neverland, we get to see his side of things. I was surprised by his patience and kindness, his humour and intelligence. I never thought I’d be even remotely okay with Peter Pan being portrayed as a villain, but Jensen wrote this book in a way that made it completely plausible. I sympathized with Hook at every turn, and desperately wanted him to find a way to defeat that horrible, insolent, spoiled little brat Pan. (Side note: Don’t get me wrong; I still love Peter Pan in general, but I was able to separate my lifelong view of him as a capricious, harmless youngster for the sake of this particular story).
Throughout the book, I felt like I was right there with Hook. I would imagine writing a story set in Neverland would be pretty daunting, but Jensen did a fantastic job. The setting was lush, and the characters leapt of the pages. I loved that so many different aspects of the original story were worked into the book and had their own unique spin - the mermaids, the fairies, the Indians, Hook’s crew. This book made me laugh, made my heart ache, made me swoon, and it even made me cry. It was sexy in ways I didn’t expect, and I loved that.
Alias Hook is a fairytale for adults. It’s for those of us who never stopped believing in magic, and maybe even still indulge in a game of make-believe from time to time. I fell head over heels in love with Hook, and I never wanted his story to end. This book touched me deeply, and got its hooks firmly in my heart (heh heh, sorry I had to!). If you enjoy fantasy, romance, adventure, and magic, Alias Hook is a must read.
Have you read Alias Hook? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like the legend of Peter Pan? How do you feel about the idea of Peter being portrayed as a villain and Hook being portrayed as a hero and a romantic lead? Have you ever fantasized about visiting Neverland?