Review by Shellie for Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen.
Shellie’s quick take: Geared for an adult reader, this is a fun and entertaining imagining of the life and times of Captain Hook before and after his ill-fated story with Peter Pan. And it has romance.
Shellie’s description: Captain James Benjamin Hook has survived the attack from the mythical crocodile that purportedly ended his life, but he is consequently trapped in Neverland - a purgatory with endless battles against the boys of Neverland which serves as entertainment for the “Pan”.
But things aren’t as simple as they seem. Hook is not really the evil bad guy that the stories about Peter Pan have led readers to believe. He has a complicated past which has helped him to be caught in Neverland. And Peter Pan is not the sweet child that we all have learned to love. In this story Lisa Jensen writes from the debonair and educated perspective of the persecuted Hook.
Shellie’s thoughts: This was such a fun read. The best part was the excellent voice of Hook. Written in first person and spoken with an affluent old fashioned British accent (Jensen does a fabulous job with this as well as with the more working class accents of the pirates too), we get to hear the other side of his in-depth story.
And it feels authentic, like one is reading historical fiction although set in a make-believe setting which is a combination of realistic and fantastical. The book also has a map of Neverland which further adds to the book’s appeal and understanding of the story line.
In addition to the fantastical setting the reader gets romance, drama, violence, fairies, mermaids, Indians and the Lost Boys, all combined with realistic and fairytale elements. I like this so I would categorize the book as historical fantasy. We find out about how Captain Hook lost his hand, his hedonistic experiences during the late 1600s and early 1700s, why he is actually a protagonist that we should be rooting for – all with romance, drama, and violence; elements that help to create an intriguing story.
This is recommended for readers who enjoy historical fiction and who love pirates, since you will get what feels like a realistic version of them. It doesn’t hurt that Lisa Jensen has historical knowledge and has written previously about the subject – and you can certainly tell that she is a veteran writer. It is highly recommended at 4 stars. A fabulous re-telling of Peter Pan, it eloquently captures a blend of historical fiction and fantasy.
Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan | 7/8/2014 | Hardcover | 368 pages