A Dark, Twisted & Engaging Retelling | Review of ‘Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook’

By Cynthia Ayala

Lost Boy by Christina Henry
Berkley Books
Image Credit: Goodreads

“There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy. Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter’s idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knives and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite. Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.” —Goodreads

Published July 4, 2017, by Berkley Books Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry is standalone retelling about the origin of captain hook and his relationship with Peter Pan.

Between Peter and Hook, who’s the real villain here? It has always been safe to assume that Captain Hook was the villain, but the question of where he came from and why he hates Peter was never answered. Peter did take his hand after all, but was that it? Henry offers a new look at the story bringing to life the relationship between the two, and man, is it incredible.

Lost Boy is an incredible look at Neverland and Peter Pan. Peter isn’t the hero here, no one really is. He’s a kid who just doesn’t want to grow up, and sure, everyone sometimes wishes at one time or another that they had never grown up. To stay a child forever is just a fantasy and that’s the idea that Henry sort of capitalizes on. Peter wants to have fun, but an island is a dangerous place, unknown to the children who only have to follow after Peter. They aren’t really given a choice as his charisma wins everyone over. But Jamie has been on the island the longest, he’s been a child for so long, with his memories of this life before Peter haunting him. What’s so striking about that is that it doesn’t come all at once, it’s a narrative that sort of just springs on the reader and on Jamie, this giant revelation that everyone senses are coming but can’t quite see until the end. The reader sees the disenchantment that has fallen over Jamie as Peter’s carelessness of the boys begins to crack that charisma. Not only for Jamie but also for the other boys. It’s an amazing narrative that is believable.

Heroes tend to create their own villains, and Peter has done that here. He did that with his selfishness, his lack of care for these boys here. And while that may seem like it would be out of character, it’s not. Henry did a fantastic job tying together elements of not only J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan but also Disney’s, to make this origin story powerful because Henry structures the story in such a way to make every element seem so wholly plausible. There’s really nothing to suggest otherwise. Peter is a child who brought kids to Neverland on a whim, to his own enjoyment because he was lonely. And through Jamie, the reader gets a feel of this island and the dynamics of the place.

In a way it’s a heartbreakingly beautiful story about how Captain Hook came into being. He’s such a riveting character and the way the story develops, how it shifts and grows, and how the tension drives the story, it sucks the reader in. It’s a dangerous tale that highlights Peter’s quick to anger childish nature and Jamie’s disillusionment. They went from best friends to mortal enemies and that shift in the narrative, in perspective, it creeps on the reader, it makes the reader feel for Jamie, it creates sympathy for the kid everyone knows is the villain. Except he’s not, not really.

This story is a great adventure, it has such a level of darkness to it that is key in Henry’s storytelling. The level of horror functions in a very sophisticated manner, it adds to the story without taking away from the story. It’s a brilliant story that is breathtaking in every way, creating believability and coupling it with an amazing voice to tell a rich and darkly twisted story. (★★★★★ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

Page count: 292pp

Age Range: 16 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-3995-8402-2

Publisher: Berkley Books

List Price:  $15.00

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One thought on “A Dark, Twisted & Engaging Retelling | Review of ‘Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook’

  1. Glad you enjoyed it, really great review! I recently purchased this and cannot wait to delve into it. Peter pan has always been my favourite children’s story, so to hear it from Hook’s perspective? So cool!

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