Sometimes you find something when browsing your Kindle that you just have to read even though you have your doubts. The Neverland duloagy by Anna Katmore is one of those finds. So, being the intrepid reviewer that I am, I decided to binge read this series.
Why is there a boy who doesn’t want to grow up?
How can an apple start the sweetest romance in fairytale history?
And what does a ruthless pirate have to do with it all?
Angelina McFarland loves reading fairytales. But she never dreamed of falling right into one herself. That’s exactly what happens when she slips on her balcony and a flying Peter Pan catches her mid-fall.
Ending up in Neverland where no one seems to age and laws of nature are out of control, Angel has no idea how to get home. Worse, the ruthless Captain Hook captures her and keeps her trapped on his ship, the Jolly Roger, where she gets caught between the lines of a timeless battle. But the more time Angel spends with the captain, the more she sees beneath his ruthless façade.
As Angel desperately tries to find a way to return to her real life, she discovers a train ticket to London in her pocket. It won’t be any help in getting off the island, but as her memory fades away the longer she stays, this is all she has left to remind her of her former life and why she can’t give up trying.
Or is staying in Neverland forever the better choice after all?
Grab a happy thought and follow Angel on an adventure that will keep you breathless and smiling long after you read the last page…
But utterly horrible.
It’s actually one of the better reads I had when exploring the vast world of self pub (though to be honest, I usually don’t have the best of luck with self pub).
The premises intrigued me and since I imagine Captain Hook love interest (or really any Captain Hook) looking like Colin O’Donoghue I think it’s obvious that I’ll read any Peter Pan retelling for the mind candy. And the whole twist with Peter Pan was good too if not original (cough, Once Upon a Time had Evil!Pan first, cough).
But other than a great premises and some okay kissing scenes this book blew.
Though compared to it’s sequel (spoiler alert) it is a freaking masterpiece.
Let’s talk about what didn’t work since there’s a lot.
First of all that name. Sorry to the Angel’s in the world, but when a YA author names their character Angel alarm bells immediately go off especially when they have a personality as bland as cardboard like this angel is.
Also, it probably doesn’t help when you state that a character is British but she uses American English and slang. Um, Brits don’t call fries fries. They call them chips.
Oh, and when she has hobbies like a forty-year-old. Because most seventeen year olds I know, don’t like babysitting their four-year-old sisters all the time. Just saying.
Then there’s Hook:
Never was there never a Hook like this. Honestly, I think Ms. Katmore was just charmed with Colin O’Donghue so much that she decided to have him star in her book but as a blonde to make him different.
The big twist that Hook and Pan were brothers in this book might’ve also not have hit me so much because there was a similar twist on Once Upon a Time involving Pan’s genealogy with one of the main characters. Though that twist had a bigger payoff.
In the end, I just didn’t know what Katmore wanted to do with these characters. Because other than saying oh he’s my brother and it being the catalyst for the curse…really, no connection.
Much like I didn’t really get the Hook and Angel relationship. Oh yeah, there were some halfway decent written kissing scenes but it was insta love complete with leather pants.
Well, that part was original.
Oh, wait, never mind they have leather pants on that show too.
Well, that blows.
But this Hook’s blonde and likes feathers so that counts. Well, the Disney Hook liked feathers too.
Let’s talk about Peter Pan then. Maybe he’s original.
Bigger brat than the Peter Pan on Once Upon a Time?
Well, that’s debatable and I’m not sure if that’s such a good thing.
Honestly, the entire character read like a five year old throwing a temper tantrum. Even his so called tragic backstory was ridiculous and over the top.
The only thing I can say is it would make for a fairly decent soap opera and that’s about it.
But this book isn’t a soap opera.
Another problem with the Pan character was the syntax that Katmore chose. This was actually a problem with Hook too. It just felt out of place. Like
Wendy Wannabe Angel, the boys spoke with pure modern day American accents despite belonging to fantasy world that took place at least a hundred years ago.
I get that Katmore is not a native English speaker, but these are things that an editor could’ve worked with her on. It just made the book seem almost lazy.
And if that didn’t make it seem lazy then there’s the plot.
With a really lame cliffhanger.
That’s the problem with a lot of YA these days. Predictable and lame cliffhangers but at least most of them would attempt a plot. Neverland does not. Save for Angel whining about going home and she does nothing (absolutely nothing) to get home. It’s Hook that does all the dirty work. And Pan (sort of, though if you ask me he’s a waste of space). Really, the whole book could’ve been resolved nicely in one installment. But no….Katmore decides to end it with a cliff hanger which leads to the monstrosity that is Pan’s Revenge.
“Are you ready to be kissed?” he breathes against the corner of my mouth.
My knees start to tremble and there are butterflies in my belly now. Way too many. “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“I think it’s the best idea I had in a long time.”
Desperate to leave Neverland and find his love in this notorious town called London, James Hook makes a grave mistake. He puts his own wishes above those of his half-brother and once-arch-enemy, Peter Pan.
The consequences alter Peter’s life in a way no one could have foreseen. The boy who wouldn’t grow up swears revenge, and what better way than by stealing Hook’s girl?
The first to arrive in London, Peter finds Angel once again without any memory of ever being in Neverland. That gives him time to plant the idea of a ruthless pirate captain in her mind—someone who tried to kill her once and is now on his way to kidnap her again. If only this stubborn girl would stop playing with Peter’s head. He’d completely forgotten how beautiful she was. Or is it only because he sees her through different eyes now?
Through a shower of falling stars, a loop around the moon, and then a hard left at the Clock Tower—when James Hook finally arrives in London, he has to fight with a vengeance for his love and face a boy who grew up after all…
Better known as Peter Pan Got Hot So That the Author Could Implement the Love Triangle Trope.
I kid you not.
That’s really why I think this book exists becuase there’s no other reason.
And let’s not get me started on the ending.
I should warn you that this part of the binge review is going to be filled with spoilery rants so if you are serious about reading this and don’t want your spoiler cherry popped please hit the little exit button now.
Aren’t gone. Well, I guess I’ll start with the plot for this one. As redundant and predictable as Neverland was at least it made sense the plot in Pan’s Revenge not so much.
First we have the Pan growing up and not turning into Robin Williams so there really is no excuse for that. Especially since said Pan now looks like an Abercombie model.
And then Pan basically manipulates are now amnesic heroine (yeah, she went with that trope) so that we can have a lame love triangle.
And then she basically copies and paste the same insta love kidnapping scene from the first book to this one.
And then the ending.
And then at that point my head explodes.
Before I get to just how heinous the ending is, I just want to talk about character development or the lack of it. The first book was bad enough to the hastily put together characters, but this book is a level worse because the flat character. I kid you not they digress and a good example of it…well, the ending.
That’s what I started thinking about the last ten percent of this book. The first ninety percent bad but perfectly acceptable. The plot was getting resolved and everything and that curve ball.
Has Katmore ever heard of stupid characters getting their just desserts?
Am I suppose to feel pity for said villain because he’s Peter freaking Pan?
Um, Once Upon a Time didn’t show sympathy and that’s one thing I think they succeeded on that stupid arc.
Look, that character did horrible things. I wanted a payoff instead of every character giving up something for him.
And a first born child for that stupid piece of shit.
Well, it’s sort of interesting given the twist that Once Upon a TIme threw. Ah, not really. It was more or less like a huge cheesy wink like here’s my inspiration.
Of course, Katmore might’ve never seen that show and this might be purely a coincidence. But that aside.
Who would give up their oldest child to a piece of shit who tried to manipulate you and ruin your life.?
Well, they’re brothers so that is an excuse for everything.
Just having the same blood running through your veins isn’t going to make you want to give up your first born child to the idiot. I’m sorry.
And family can be shitty.
Like Peter is.
I mean, he essentially tried to steal your girlfriend, dude.
Does this make sense?
Well, in Katmore’s universe it does.
Utter, utter fail. Which is a pity because while the first book has it’s issues it has potential and the plot of this one holds such promise too.