ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

Read this if you’re in the mood for: adult fantasy, fairy tale retellings, literary story, great world building, character driven novel

Summary: 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 never-ending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

Read this if you like:
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
TIGER LILY is a wonderful YA example of a Peter Pan re-imagining. Both of these books feature underrepresented characters in the Peter Pan world and make the world of Neverland so much larger than the original.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Like WICKED, ALIAS HOOK goes above and beyond the existing fairy tale world and feature sophisticated, witty writing.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
Of course, you won't have the same appreciation for the retelling if you don't love the original too. Jensen channels the spirit of Barrie's writing while still creating something entirely new.

The Rec: This book was a definite departure from my usual fare. I’m not usually one for adult books, especially adult literary books. And even though I love a good fantasy story, I’m not always a big fan of fairy tale retellings--they often just don’t grab me the way other stories do. But this one caught my eye, so I decided to give it a shot, and I’m glad I did!

ALIAS HOOK is marketed as a retelling, but it really is so much more. Jensen does a wonderful job of taking the familiar landscape of Neverland and making it fresh and exciting. She does the same for Peter Pan and Captain Hook. You think you know them? Think again. She takes Hook and spins him in a totally different way, taking the time to answer the question--why is an adult ship captain from the 1800s stuck in Neverland? She does the same for Peter Pan, and in a wonderful twist that I loved, our beloved boy who won’t grow up becomes an excellent villain. Jensen applies the same careful thought to the Indians and the mermaids. When it’s all put together, it almost makes you forget that Jensen didn’t come up with this land and these character by herself in the first place.

Jensen’s story also shines with the introduction of her own original character, Stella. In Stella we’re able to get a sense of time and how long Hook has been in Neverland, and how simultaneously out of touch Hook is with the current world and how some things never change. And of course, who doesn’t love a good love story? Jensen doesn’t fail her readers there either, and I found Hook and Stella’s scenes together the most page-turning of them all.

The Caveat: This is not a YA book. It most definitely falls into the category of adult literary fiction. I still wholeheartedly recommend this book, but you should be aware that this won’t have the usual tone or writing style of most YA books.

You should read this book because: ALIAS HOOK is a beautifully written re-imagining of Captain Hook and Neverland.

Read this book!
ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen (Thomas Dunne Books, July 2014)

Recommendation by: Sara
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.