The Child Thief by Brom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This version of Peter Pan's story is very different from the one that Barrie wrote, and refers less to the original than Maguire's Wicked did (probably for copyright reasons). The author says he was inspired by the original text, which he claims is watered down here in the US. I'm sure he's thinking of the movie/theatrical versions, because anyone that reads the books gets that Peter kidnaps kids, that something - one's never quite sure what - happens when the children become teens, and that this is not the sweetest of fairy tales. Wendy's reaction to Peter as a grown-up alone should tell the reader that!
However, as I said, there is no real mention of the original source material here. For example, Barrie had a succession of "Wendys" following the original, Brom has several girls (including Sekou, who is something like 200 years old) in his tribe, none of whom are filling in for their mother).
I did like this take on the story - the blending of the Old Ways, Avalon, the founding of America by religious fanatics, the "saving" of lost children. What I found annoying was the assumption that an adult version of the story required the use of adult language. Really, in Roman or Medieval times did they really use the f-word? It feels anachronistic at best and sloppy writing at worst. And having Peter be 1400 years old, but somehow manage to wander into Avalon during the Roman era was another example of sloppy. By the 600s, Rome's empire in England was long gone.
Peter's final scene was very powerful, showing that even seemingly ageless sprites can change - a little. One wonders if this will lead to a sequel. I hope not. Please, let this stand on its own and tackle something else.
(Free ARC provided by publisher)
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