Review: Peter Darling

Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Release Date: February 9, 2017
Genres: Retellings, fantasy
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is. But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook-and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

Peter Pan was my favorite movie and story from when I was a kid. I loved everything about it. So now, every time I see a Peter Pan retelling, I have to give it a chance.

This was fun! It had enough elements of the original story to reel you in, but unique enough that it didn’t feel like you were reading the same old, original story. In this version, Peter is trans. He’s escaped to Neverland to finally live as the person he truly is.

“He was struck by the feeling that they were the only two people alive in the world – that this was something beyond any magic of illusion or story Neverland could conjure. Something real.”

Peter’s romance in the book is Captain Hook. (It was everything) You could definitely classify this as an enemies-to-lovers trope. They really don’t like each other at the beginning of the book. Their hatred towards each other and the banter slowly lessens as the book progressed. I really liked how the author showed us how they developed feelings for each other. Nothing was rushed.

While there is a romance, it is not the main focus! This story is filled with adventures. This book has it all: faeries, quests, danger, sword-fighting. Even though this is a shorter book, I thought the characters were really well developed. Peter’s character arc develops fully. He starts out as childish and immature, but by the end you’ll want to be his best friend.

I love that every single character here was neither good or evil. Every character had their flaws and redeeming qualities, I thought it made the story that much enjoyable and realistic. Hook was the best surprise, you thought you knew what you were going to get from him, but the author made sure to deconstruct any preconceived notions you had.

“That’s the trick of growing up. Nothing stays the same.” Hook sounded oddly sympathetic. “You see the faults in everything. Including yourself.”

This was a fantastic retelling! I really wish it could have been a full-length novel because there was a lot more that could have been explored in Neverland.

four star

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