Dark Fairy Tale Retelling Review: Darling Girl

May 24, 2022 Uncategorized 0 ★★★

Dark Fairy Tale Retelling Review: Darling GirlTitle: Darling Girl: A Novel of Peter Pan
Author: Liz Michalski
Source: Bought
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: A gripping read, but not special enough to be memorable.

This dark, modern, adult retelling of Peter Pan was a pretty decent thriller. The story focused on Wendy Darling’s granddaughter, Holly, who’s a scientist at a cosmetics company. Her daughter has just gone missing and she’s sure Peter Pan is responsible. Although the original story paints Peter as a hero, this book explores the way a boy who’s never grown up can be a danger to others. That basic premise felt like an obvious direction to take this story, but the author did a great job building suspense. I couldn’t put this book down as I waited to find out what had happened to Holly’s daughter in the present and how she was connected to Peter in the past.

Unfortunately, this was a thriller where the reveals didn’t live up to the suspense. The answers to my questions weren’t memorable enough that this book will stick with me. There were fascinating elements to the world the author built, but a full, cohesive explanation of how the world worked wasn’t forthcoming. The big reveal was something I realized about 100 pages in advance. And the denouement was anticlimactic, mostly relying on a small amount of character growth from our protagonist. This character growth also felt unearned. It seemed like Holly mostly just got worn out doing things the wrong way and finally changed her approach to the world out of exhaustion, rather than real growth. While this book was a fun read that I enjoyed while it lasted, it lacked a standout element – plot, character, or world building – to make it something special.

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