Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Source: from publisher for review
Review Summary: This was a truly delightful story, with the setting and emotional impact amped up into something awesome for a perfect, adult fairy tale.
Before he was sent to Neverland by a curse, Benjamin Hookbridge was a ruthless privateer. Now he’s simply a storybook villain, at the mercy of his childish opponent. His hatred has kept him from imagining any way out but death until Stella Parish enters Neverland. Although Hook fears this is just another trap of Peter’s, her faith in him and in the magic of Neverland might be exactly what’s needed to set him free.
I found this book based on a blurb from Elizabeth Blackwell, author of the fantastic adult retelling of sleeping beauty, While Beauty Slept. Usually I don’t pay attention to author blurbs, but you can bet I’ll be taking her recommendations from now on! Although the feel of Alias Hook is different, I think both books share some qualities which make them successful. Both have placed the characters in more real danger than in the originals. This made me more emotionally invested in their stories, less certain everything would work out, and more moved by the character’s struggles. Both have added other adult elements as well, including more complex relationships. They’ve also made the settings far more vivid and impressive. The way Lisa Jensen imagines fairies and mermaids would be more at home in epic fantasy than in a traditional fairy tale. Epic is really the only word I can come up with to describe the amazing world she created. She has invented an incredible, unique take on the whole mythology of Neverland which I loved learning about.
As you might expect, Hook is a classic anti-hero. He certainly doesn’t imagine himself as a hero at all! Reading about his character growth and his relationship with Stella was so satisfying. Both characters were intriguingly complex and I loved them both. The writing was beautiful and poetic, making it easy for even a non-visual reader like myself to imagine the story playing out as a movie in my head. I don’t know what else to say about this superlative story that will do it justice. Really, everything about it – writing, characters, plot, setting – was perfection. If you loved While Beauty Slept, enjoy fairy tale retellings, or like stories about redemption, Alias Hook should be at the top of your to-read list.