Wendy Darling by Colleen Oakes ~Goodreads~
Published by SparkPress 2015
Paperback 324 pages ~The Book Depository~
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book via Netgalley in exchange for an hones review.
Wendy Darling has a perfectly agreeable life with her parents and brothers in wealthy London, as well as a budding romance with Both, the neighbourhood bookseller’s son. But while their parents are at a ball, the charmingly beautiful Peter Pan comes to the Darling children’s nursery and- dazzled by this flying boy with god-like-powers- they follow him out of the window and straight on to morning, to Neverland, a intoxicating island of feral freedom.
As time passes in Neverland, Wendy realises that this Lost Boy’s paradise of turquoise seas, mermaids, and pirates holds terrible secrets rooted in blood and greed. As Peter’s grasp on he heart tightens, and the boy who desires her- have the potential to transform into an everlasting nightmare.
I was very excited when I was granted permission to read this book centred around one of my favourite fictional lands Neverland, the cover looks amazing and I was ecstatic to begin reading this book…
We meet Wendy Darling going after the bookseller’s son Booth, but due to social class and the dismissal from her parents it was inevitable that their romance couldn’t blossom because of this divide. This relationship seem to be forgotten after a couple of chapters when we’re faced with Peter Pan, a vibrant boy full of spirit and adventure a characteristic that all the Darling children are keen to be a part of as they reach Neverland and meet the Lost Boys.
However I came up against a number of issues I found rather disturbing in this book.
I felt that Peter Pan’s innocence was pretty much dismantled in this book, he’s a fourteen year old boy. Yes, boys at that age are mischievous and are growing at a fast rate but the way Peter acted towards Wendy and Tink were rather a little too mature for this book in my opinion. I know this book is meant to be a retelling and not everything is going to be how it was originally represented, but replacing Peter’s whole persona just didn’t do it for me- I ended up disliking him to me he wasn’t Peter Pan.
Again, like Peter. The eldest boy of the Darling family Michael was completely different to how I would want him to be- again this is probably because of a fixed view I have of these well known characters. He was spiteful and had no respect for his older sister Wendy, he clearly learnt from a young age how women of that time were treated and followed in societies footsteps.
The only two girls that properly featured in this book were Wendy and Tink, both with no backbones. Their own dreams and ambitions are crushed by the men that surround their lives, they don’t have opinions of their own and they’re the perfect example of how women were oppressed during the 19th century so if anything good came of this book it’s how true it is with regards to the time its set in. Both Wendy and Tink are smitten by Peter, just like the original story only that Peter’s control over them isn’t innocent or oblivious he knows exactly what he’s doing and has them both on a tight leash.
The book didn’t really flow or feel magical with it’s writing style, I could quite easily put it down as the language didn’t persuade me to carry on reading. There wasn’t a great deal of plot, it seemed to drag on drastically and the big chapters didn’t help with this.
It all seemed to centre around Peter, Wendy, Tink and the Lost Boys. Outside characters didn’t appear to be in the spotlight at any point, the Lost Boys seemed to face no challenge of stealing from Captain Hook- I expected more of a classic Pan and Hook showdown.
Overall, I feel that this book was okay but not what I hoped it would be. I feel like it’s foundations could have maintained original persona’s of the characters and built up a world in a darker way but to not the extreme of displaying elements of abuse. I feel that perhaps my opinions were tarnished by my love for the original tale, I’m not sure I will be reading the next instalment of this series but I may be open to reading a different book from this author in the future.