Sent to me by Titan Books in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 04/07/17
Publisher: Titan Books
Format: Paperback, 320pp
Summed up in a word: Origins
Christina Henry has been on my radar for a long time now. I have seen the Alice and Red Queen books about and I have been wanting to read them. Then I received an email from Titan Books asking if I would review Lost Boy, I was more than happy to oblige. Lost Boy is the origin story of Captain Hook and the series of events that caused him and Peter Pan to become mortal enemies. It is told from Jamie/Hook’s perspective and it is brilliant. I loved the fact that CH has written it for the adult fantasy readers. There is blood, there are scores to settle and no one is going to back down. Lost Boy is wild, dark and provides us with a meaningful origin story for one of histories most famous fictional villains.
There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan.
Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. He wants always to be that shining sun that we all revolve around. He’ll do anything to be that sun. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.
Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend.
Lost Boy tells a pivotal story about the origin of Captain Hook and his famous feud with Peter Pan. It is definitely a story that needed to be told and CH has done a tremendous job with the novel. This is a darker take on the story, with violence, anger and death taking centre stage. Peter Pan represents the spirit of rebellion and anyone who gets in his way will suffer the consequences. Jamie was the first lost boy that Pan ever took to Neverland and he is special to Peter; but relationships always change and the spell is beginning to wear off. Lost Boy is a valuable addition to the Pan lore and I recommend it to all fantasy readers.
When Peter Pan showed up all those years ago young Jamie was instantly spellbound. Pan promises him a world where he will never go hungry, he could play all day and never grow old. Jamie swiftly took his place as second in command and soon more lost boys were leaving The Other Place and joining Pan in Neverland. Jamie enjoyed it all at first, the playing, fighting the pirates and exploring the island; but he begins to notice that Pan seems to disown/discard the boys who don’t meet his expectations or end up getting in the way of all the fun. They start getting ill, or eaten or killed by the many threats present on the Island. Jamie was under Pan’s spell enough to go along with the careless and mindless behaviour but when Pan brings 5 year old Charlie to Neverland, everything changes.
Jamie’s transformation into Hook is a gradual and well developed affair. The presence of Charlie, and Pan’s obvious hatred for him (to the point of murder), drives a wedge between the two young boys. Peter Pan is used to getting what he wants and he wants Charlie gone, not matter what. Jamie is not about to let that happen. Too many boys have died along the way as part of Pan’s games and Jamie is willing to do anything to protect the innocent boy that should never have been on the Island in the first place. A dramatic and fatal series of events lead to the implosion of their friendship and the reveal of the true Peter Pan.
I read this book in two sittings. I was captivated by the plot and seeing Peter Pan from a more intense, graphically violent and emotionally complicated perspective. Peter Pan has always been a childish, playful and selfish character but CH takes this personality to the extreme. Peter is devious, infuriating and controlling. His idea of fun is killing pirates, watching the boys fight (sometimes to the death) and keeping secrets from those he surrounds himself with. Jamie is under Pan’s spell at the beginning, he loves the special attention he gets from Pan, and he also has the respect of the other boys for being compassionate and a fearless fighter. But the arrival of Charlie changes the dynamic of the group and Pan is forced to take dramatic action.
I thought the story was compelling, emotional and fierce at times. The boys have lost all sense of humanity in many ways and CH has captured that effect perfectly. CH has written an original and interesting prequel to a much loved story. But you can forget the Disney veneer; this story is not warm, fuzzy or heart-warming (apart from Jamie’s protection of Charlie). Jamie has a raging heart and an empathetic soul. I thought he was by far the most enjoyable character. Lost Boy didn’t come across to me like a fairy tale at all. The fight to stay young and free is justifiable but there is a point where Pan’s carefree attitude forces Jamie to think like an adult. CH injected a sense of morality and heart into a carefree world.
Christina Henry writes a cracking tale. I couldn’t get enough of her writing. CH doesn’t play it safe at all and I think that is what made the book so much more enjoyable. Violence, reality, adult themes and manipulation all play a part in this story but it still manages to retain an air of childish wonder. It is a great effect and I look forward to getting my hands on her re-imaginings of Alice In Wonderland to see what she has done with that story too. I have given Lost Boy 5/5 stars because it exceeded my expectations by a mile and I won’t stop talking about it now for some time.
About Christina Henry
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the CHRONICLES OF ALICE duology, ALICE and RED QUEEN, a dark and twisted take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as LOST BOY: THE TRUE STORY OF CAPTAIN HOOK, an origin story of Captain Hook from Peter Pan.
She is also the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS series (BLACK WINGS, BLACK NIGHT, BLACK HOWL, BLACK LAMENT, BLACK CITY, BLACK HEART and BLACK SPRING) featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle.
ALICE was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Books of the Year in Science Fiction and Fantasy for 2015. It was also a Goodreads Choice Award nominee in Horror and one of Barnes & Noble’s Bestselling Science Fiction and Fantasy novels of 2015.
She enjoys running long distances, reading anything she can get her hands on and watching movies with samurai, zombies and/or subtitles in her spare time. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.