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Lost Boy by Christina Henry

book cover of Lost Boy

Lost Boy provides us with an origin story for Captain Hook, one exceedingly grim and full of carnage but also one with a lot of heart and soul behind it. In this book, Peter is a cavalier and self-obsessed boy, using his incredible charisma to convince young boys to join him in the Other Place so he can have them for playmates forever and ever… at least unless they die prematurely, in which case no matter, he can always go and get some more. Jamie, the protagonist, tries his best to protect the other boys and becomes increasingly disillusioned with Peter's reign of chaos.

It is a good book. I felt, personally, that the first part of it dragged on too long: not content with showing us one or two or three awful things Peter did to cause suffering among the boys, Henry shows Peter doing tons of such things. I felt like the first half (or more) of the book was a bit of a slog as a result: I didn't particularly enjoy reading about three-year-old Charlie crying and being threatened and feeling terrified and I was so impatient to get to the part of the book where things start coming unstuck for Peter. That part did come, and I was rewarded for my persistence, but it still felt a bit unsatisfying that a book of less than 300 pages could drag.

Pacing issues aside though, if you like dark retellings and you’re suspicious of everything in Peter Pan, this is a good read.

★★★½

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.