Alias Hook

July 9, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 22

18404312Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
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.


22 Responses to “Alias Hook”

  1. April @ The Steadfast Reader

    I love when people love books I love. 🙂 (But then don’t we all.) My review is too far distant to put in the ‘Recently Posted’ field here… but really your review was much better anyway.

    Epic is EXACTLY the word I was looking for. Most of all, I love what Jensen did with the characters. They’re so fully formed and fleshed out. I have tons of love for this retelling.
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Guest Post: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – A Reader’s RetortMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      It is wonderful to find people who love the books you love. I think I read your review when you posted it, but I’m going to revisit it now that I’ve read the book too. I’m sure it’s fantastic 🙂

      I wasn’t sure epic was precise enough, but I couldn’t come up with a better way to succinctly express what I meant. The way she imagines fairies and mermaids is so vibrant and unique and exciting. I would love to see them in a movie!

    • DoingDewey

      Perhaps it’s because he’s the villain of a children’s story and so not too evil, but I think he is a particularly sympathetic villain. He made a fantastic anti-hero!

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, I’d forgotten about him in Once Upon a Time! He’s really does make a great anti-hero, perhaps because he’s a villain in a children’s story, so he’s not known for doing anything too terrible 🙂

    • DoingDewey

      Perhaps, but I feel like the story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook is such a part of our culture, you probably already know everything you need to in order to appreciate this as a retelling. I think I’ve only seen the Disney version though, not actually read the book, so I could have missed some references. It was a wonderful book, I’d definitely recommend it.

  2. Lisa Jensen

    Thanks for the great review! I am SO glad you liked Alias Hook! Character-building is one of my favorite things too, and with James Hook (yes, I’ve always had a soft spot for him too), I thought there was a lot to work with. I’m very pleased that these characters worked for you!
    Lisa Jensen recently posted…LAUNCHED!My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks for stopping by! Like many book bloggers, author’s are the only celebrities I get all fan-girly about and I adored your book, so it’s a lot of fun to have you visit my blog 🙂 I loved the characters and the setting and most especially the character growth. A truly fantastic retelling!

  3. Elizabeth Blackwell

    I just had to stop in and say hi as well! I’m so thrilled to support Lisa’s book–honestly, I never would have blurbed it if I didn’t love it. Thanks so much for bringing attention to new writers…the blog love makes a huge difference.

    • DoingDewey

      Aw, thank you! And thank you for the fantastic recommendation! I loved both this book and yours, so I’m thrilled to do what I can to support them both 🙂