“Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It’s my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy.”
Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.
With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.
Worldbuilding: Alias Hook is, in my opinion, a work of worldbuilding art. The fantasy realm of Neverland blends with a 1700’s world and a few instances of the 1950’s.
Characters: I will admit I wanted to read this especially because it was Hook’s story. I never liked the heroes in stories I read as a kid, I always liked the “villains” instead, and Hook was one them. I always found Peter Pan highly irritating, so when I had the chance to read Hook’s story instead, I dove in.
Lisa Jensen builds a complex, deliciously layered James Hookbridge alias Hook, a man of his times, restless, proud, brave and thirsty for adventure – in some ways, perhaps, still a child. I fell in love with him by the end of the novel, and hoped madly for him to get a HEA ending. I’m glad to say he did, imo, considering the history teacher Stella there 😀
Stella, his savior and lover, was just what he needed. I loved to see how she opened up his heart and helped him get over the emotional blockages. I’m labeling this an Adult read, and also a romance, because yes ladies and gentlemen, Hook falls in love with Stella, and more over, I believe they get their HEA together at the end there 😀 Brilliant!
Favorite Character: James Benjamin Hookbridge, alias Hook xDD
Plot: The story was awesome, though I’d say definitely more character driven than action driven (again one of those classic traits). Don’t get me wrong, we get lots of action too, fights with the Pan brat, encounters with the Indians, with mermaids – a lot of fun action, some brutal fighting, the works. To me though, the character building shines the most and I loved the novel for it.
Writing: Present and past tense narrative, first person narrative from Hook’s POV, 2 timelines that come together (Hook’s real life, ie the past, and the present Neverland). The style might not be to everyone’s taste though, it has what I call classical writing style, rich, descriptive, historical period adapted voice. I loved it to bits, though.
Curb Appeal: Interesting cover, hooking blurb – lots of potential for impulsive buy.
All in all, I thought this was a brilliant read, a great romance, a fun adventure, and some much needed justice done to one awesome character, Hook. Though I don’t regularly fall for present tense narratives, don’t generally like more than one timeline in a story, I LOVED this novel, this is how awesome a reading experience it was.
I fully recommend this read, I enjoyed it to bits, and give it the Bomy Award of Excellence, making Alias Hook one of the best reads of this year.