Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen. St. Martin's Griffin, 2015. Paperback. 368 pages.
This book was hard to get into, and there were a few chapters towards the beginning where I was still very unsure whether or not I wanted to continue on with the story. I plowed through, however, and I must say that it paid off, and I'm glad it did.
The world of Neverland is fantastic. I love what Jensen has created, from the nuances and 'rules' that Peter Pan has for the world, to the way in which Neverland exists and people can visit, to the various inhabitants of the land. Jensen has captured a unique magic that combines the nostalgia and excitement of youth with the adventurous and difficult journeys of adulthood, including both love and loss.
I liked the different aspects of Hook's character we were able to explore. He is jaded and hopeless, stuck in a land where he can never win, never leave, and never die. But at the same time, we are able to discern a small hope in him that surfaces at various moments throughout the novel in some truly beautiful, exciting moments.
I loved Stella. She is a bold, exciting, and endearing character. This story would not exist without Stella, and she is the perfect catalyst for ever aspect of change that occurs throughout the story. I loved the interactions between Stella and Hook, and their chemistry was simply perfect. They just fit so well - they bickered and they had different hopes and dreams, but it all came down to them at the end, and I think it was written wonderfully well.
On the whole, I have very conflicting thoughts on this book. I loved the concept, the storyline, the worldbuilding - all of the major components of this book were brilliant. It was whimsical, fantastic, and well thought-out. Where my hesitation comes in is with the writing style. This book contains a very elegant prose style, and because of this the writing did not always feel exceptionally accessible. I kept having to reinforce my reading and make sure I was focusing on the story and not zoning out instead. It's not that the content was boring, but that the writing is just hard to connect with at times. But... although the prose is somewhat difficult to connect with, it is also very beautiful at the same time. There were many times when I wished to highlight or mark various passages, and I felt very moved by many of the emotions and events Hook undertook.
Overall, I am giving Alias Hook four stars!
And if you are looking for even more Peter Pan-inspired stories that are absolutely gorgeous, I would like to take the time to highly recommend you go check out Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson!
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