Author: Lisa Jensen
Published: May 1st 2013 by Snowbooks Ltd.
The life of Captain Hook does not end with him being eaten by the infamous ticking crocodile. Instead, that was just one of his many near-death encounters. Every story needs a villain, and for that reason, Peter Pan refuses to allow Captain James Hook the respite death brings, even though his crews are killed and new ones are brought in.
Hook believed that it was his fate to be forever trapped in the nightmare which is Neverland but as strange and wondrous dreams begin to haunt him, and things are happening in Neverland that surprises even him, Hook begins to wonder. Everything changes when Stella Parrish, a full-grown woman finds her way into Neverland thus making her into a forbidden being. With the innocence of a child and the ability to understand the creatures in Neverland, Stella might just be his ticket back to the real world. Or they could both be stuck there forever.
This is the story of Neverland told from an adult viewpoint. Truthfully, I find this sheds more light on the Neverland and Peter Pan of my childhood. In my childhood days, I first watched the Disney animation of Peter Pan, then I moved on to “Peter Pan, Return to Neverland”. In both animations, it was cheerful, bright and everything a child could dream of. Who wouldn’t want to go to Neverland and glide in the sky? Even though now I’m already twenty, I still sometimes wish that I could stay a child forever and be like Peter Pan, shirking all my responsibilities and just simply throwing all caution to the wind. But that is only one side of Neverland. Then, I only knew about the bright side. Everything changed when I watched the live-action movie of Peter Pan. I watched that movie around ten years ago and the only scene that stuck with me was the mermaids in the Mermaid Lagoon. I remembered thinking “This wasn’t the Neverland I used to know”. It wasn’t. Neverland had a sinister touch to it ever since.
I see Alias Hook not as a retelling of Peter Pan, but as a continuation of his tale. Told from the viewpoint of Captain Hook, every part of Neverland becomes shrouded in mystery. At the same time, I was given the chance to get to really know Captain Hook before he came to Neverland. Who’d guessed that the author would’ve portrayed him as an educated and wealthy man? Rather dashing, too, I might add. When reading this book, my interest in him was rekindled. Little was known about him in the original Peter Pan story and the stories but in Alias Hook, I see the cold-hearted and menacing villain, but I also see a broken and tormented man beneath it all. I see a man with a heart capable of love and mercy. He was tired of deaths and wished only for his own death. Hook reminded me of Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Ever heard of adults describing children as heartless? Well, those heartless acts are clearly outlined and described in this book. Peter Pan must be the most heartless boy of all and yet all of us must have looked up to him at least once in our childhood. We admired him for his bravery and courageous act of standing up against Captain Hook. We wanted to be like him, the leader of the Lost Boys. But in Alias Hook, those courageous attacks against Captain Hook and his crews became a game that ends in blood and death. Peter Pan was portrayed to be a egoistical little monster that wanted attention of every creature in Neverland.
Stella was a new and welcomed character in Alias Hook. I loved her wittiness and her bravery. Just like a woman, she could be pushy at times and could easily hustle Hook into doing what she wanted him to do. Then again, Hook was caught by surprised the moment he laid eyes on her. She was unpredictable and so innocent it hurt. The extend she would go in order to get Captain Hook out of Neverland was beautiful and it was something only a woman in love could do.
The storytelling and the language style was engaging and very well written. Hook does not speak vilely and in a foul manner. Instead, his was a poetic style interlaced with quotes especially when he speaks with Stella. The way the creatures of Neverland, namely the fairies and the mermaids, were described so vividly and so beautifully certainly encouraged me to imagine it in my mind’s eye and actually live the story as it progresses. Neverland never seemed so real to me as when I read Alias Hook. This book was a perfect tool to re-explore Neverland and at the same time get to know the other characters that were less talked about in Peter Pan.