I'd been so looking forward to reading Second Star: a retelling of Peter Pan with a love triangle between Hook, Peter and Wendy? Count me in! Luckily, I wasn't disappointed.
It started off positively, setting the scene and introducing characters: Wendy as our central protagonist, and her two younger brothers as the lost boys, missing presumed dead. The big thing for all the characters was surfing, not magic - the beautiful comparison between surfing on the waves and soaring through the skies, the vastness of the heavens and the depths of the ocean. I may not be a surfer but I love the sea, so this was intrinsically attractive to me.
Wendy sets out looking for her lost brothers, but finds a lot more: Peter and his lost boys, are squatting in an old millionaire's mansion, with Jas (Hook) at the other side of the beach. The "evil" part of Hook? Jas is a drug dealer, selling "dust" to runaway teens and party animals. Jas and Peter used to be friends, surfing companions, before Jas turned and they swore to stay within their boundaries of the beach. Wendy's search starts with them, but who can she trust? Can she even trust her own experiences, or is the magical world of Kensington a figment of a drug-induced hallucination?
The parallels between Second Star and Peter Pan are not, of course, perfect. Hook as a drug dealer and Peter as a surfer worked very well, but I felt uncomfortable with Belle, the character of Tinkerbell. I know that her jealousy features quite largely in Barrie's original, but it felt a little false here. Belle was the character I was most dubious about, although, oddly, I quite liked her.
So, if you are looking for a very close re-envisioning of Peter Pan, you may be a little disappointed. If you're looking for a well written, very engaging book, then you'll be pleased. Personally, I love it - and would like to read more of Alyssa Sheinmel's books; her style is very soothing and lyrical to read.
But first, I went off to read the original Peter Pan! It's reminded me how much I loved it as a child, and I'm also keen to find some other modern day retellings of this much loved story. Anyone got any ideas?
Second Star will be released on May 13th 2014. I received a free copy of this ebook, but all thoughts and opinions are mine.