4/5 trails of gold dust.
What a wild ride! Having grown up knowing the story of Peter Pan and friends from the movies but never having read the play, this take on the classic story was amazing! Wendy Spinale did a great job weaving the tale of Gwen Darling in a steam-punk-like, dystopian London now called Everland after a deadly virus is leaked after bombings put into place by the Bloodred Queen of Germany and her son, Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer, or Captain Hook as he’s begrudgingly known as. The story of losing and finding that which is important to us, in this case family, freedom, and a sense of innocence, isn't neccisarly new but this take on it was new to me. I've always loved the thought of London itself so books that are centered in that city always get my attention, so although I am typically not a fan of retellings, the setting and suggestion to read it made me give it a shot. "Everland" pulled me in quick and nearly made me forget that it was heavily inspired by Peter Pan and Wendy's adventures. The description of what would be the sets of different events was laid out perfectly. I could almost see the story unfold as if it were really happening and I were a fly on the wall.
Spinale’s story is a quick pick up if you are interested in dystopian literature as well as retellings. For those of you out there reading YA that want an adventure with the hint of romance without it being the main theme, this book is for you! Gwen is capable of fending for herself and her siblings with only a little bit of encouragement from Pete, Bella, and company. She is a true warrior! There are also a handful of overlapping themes throughout the story and you could connect it to many other YA books. I really enjoyed the new take on the story. I picked up on what I feel like was supposed to be a big surprise pretty early on but it was kind of set up that way so I’m not sure if it was supposed to be shocking or not? Either way the twists and turns that this story brought were entertaining and I would certainly recommend to those interested in dystopian literature and retellings as well as fans of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, and the original play Peter Pan by Sir Jame Matthew Barrie. A big thank you to the subscription company, OwlCrate, for including this book in their May Steampunk box!
The only way to grow up is to survive.
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.
Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.
Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?
~~~~~~~~~~About The Author~~~~~~~~~~
Wendy Spinale is a former character actor for the Disneyland theme park (so she is very familiar with the world of make-believe). "Everland" is her debut novel, and is slotted to be book one of three in the series.
Wendy lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find more from and about Wendy on her website at: http://www.wendyspinale.com/