Saturday, May 27, 2017
The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse
When it comes to classic novels in which to make adaptations or reimagining of Peter Pan is a popular candidate. While not exactly my favorite story (I always kind of thought Peter Pan was kind of a jerk) I did know there was a wealth of potential for a great new story with classic characters and set ups. The title also pulled me in, seeing as how much I liked The Looking Glass Wars, and just the idea of Neverland being at war with anything is interesting enough. Let's see how it did.
Gwen Hoffman feels cheated. Being a teenager is not agreeing with her (despite being relatively popular, getting good grades, getting attention from boys, etc.) and she finds herself wishing for her childhood back. But when her little sister, Rosemary, gets whisked away one night, Gwen discovers a terrible truth. Magic is very real and adults are stealing it from the young to solve their real world problems. It's then that Gwen meets Peter Pan himself and journeys to Neverland for the experience of a lifetime and bring her sister home.
I'm just going to get it out of the way: this book is silly... and not in a good way. While I didn't necessarily hate the protagonist she has major issues. As I hinted at before, she has it pretty easy but still mourns her lost time being a kid and cannot relate to her teenage peers. While I can get behind anyone who thinks the song "Teenage Dream" is horrible, she has the potential to deeply annoy a lot of people. Also, nobody really stands out or has anything resembling a personality in this thing. Pan is generic at best and bland at worst. The Lost Children blend together and I cannot tell them apart for the life of me. The only other characters that we're supposed to care about are the fairies and they make a point of telling you that they have no personality whatsoever besides a specific vice. Apparently we are supposed to care about this.
The writing itself has problems as well. The point-of-view constantly shifts, the action is slim to none, and the foreshadowing is incredibly heavy-handed. For a book with the word "war" in the title, there's not a lot of warring that goes on in it. One reality bombing (you heard me), and a barely worthwhile casualty and that's it. The rest of the book is just basking in Neverland whimsy and Gwen making up BS excuses about how she needs to go back. And what's waiting for her back home? A house party complete with booze, drugs, swearing, and sex. Yeah, great tone there. An entire book on whimsy and wonderment and you throw in a den of teenage sin to contrast. Real nice.
Also, addressing the natives of Neverland, the author uses a term that is not...generally favored by the public. While the logic behind using the term does make sense, it's still squicky. Also, it sets up a heavily implied love triangle between Gwen and Peter, who have no chemistry whatsoever, and Gwen's crush Jay Hoek (seriously, who do you think you're fooling with that name?) who is just as uninteresting as everyone else.
This book was just kind of a mess. The title is a lie, the characters are bland, the pace is slow and nothing is really gained or lost throughout the entire thing. I didn't care for it. At all really. The further I go into this, the more I realize that I don't have a lot of good things to say about it so, yeah, this is another one for the Waste Bin of Despair.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you want me to read or a recommendation you'd like to see here? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next Time: I see a red door and must have it painted....green?