Christina Henry - Lost Boy, everything you need to know before reading

And so he did!



Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.
Peter lies. 
After Christina Henry’s masterful retelling of Alice in Wonderland, she brings her talent to J.M. Barres’ story of Peter Pan, subverting the tale into a darker frame as we see Peter Pan through the eyes of his greatest enemy and former best friend…Captain Hook.
“Peter will say I’m a villain, that I wronged him, that I never was his friend. But I told you already. Peter lies. This is what really happened.”
Jamie, the narrator of the story, is one of the first Lost Boys and Peter Pan’s best friend.  Though he looks to be between eight and twelve, he is in reality 100 plus years old and he has slowly grown disillusioned with his endless childhood and the burdens placed on him by Peter’s callousness, irresponsibility, and perpetually need for adoration.
“I had been with Peter longer than I’d been in the Other Place, longer than I could count, anyway.”
Jamie assumes responsibility for the boys Peter brings over from the Other Place though Peter insults him by frequently comparing him to the dreaded grown up for babying and mothering the boys. It doesn’t take long for Jamie and the others to realize that never growing up doesn’t mean immortality. Neverland is an island of adventure of unseen dangers with pirates, crocodiles, sharks, mermaids, and other vicious beings inhabiting the landscape.
“The island takes them and chews them up.“
And when the boys succumb to death one by one (through illness or other methods), Jamie is the one who buries and mourns him. When Peter lures an orphaned five-year-old to the island against Jamie’s advice, Jamie finds himself in the role of protector when Peter grows jealous of Charlie and seeks to permanently get rid of him.
“I stared after him, felt the familiar mix of love and worship and frustration that I often felt with Peter. You couldn’t change him. He didn’t want to be changed. That was why he lived on the island in the first place.”
Fans of Disney’s or Barres’ versions of Peter Pan will be hard pressed to conjure up the usual feeling of nostalgia over their childhood favorite with this version. Though this is a story filled with the magic and mayhem of childhood fantasies, it is also a story of murder, madness, and violence. Henry keeps the story fresh and energetic with diabolical twists and turns to keep us guessing. Dynamic characterization and narration bring the story to life as Henry shows us how Captain Hook came to be and why.
“Peter needed to be the hero, so somebody needed to be a villain.”
In here,  Peter Pan is a narcissistic sociopath who uses the island of Neverland and the fear of growing old to entice children into joining him in his never ending quest for adventure and excitement. But as always, promises from the devil come at a high price. 
“To Peter, all children were replaceable (except for himself). When he lost one here on the island he would go get a new one, preferable an unwanted one, because then the boy didn’t miss the Other Place so much and he was happy to be here and to do what Peter wanted.”
Christina Henry, presenting a story reverse to Peter Pan!
There is a Lord of the Flies feeling in here as Jamie gives voice to the rot and anger festering underneath the surface of Peter and the island. Peter encourages the violence and bloodshed of the their games and it’s only after Jamie rips aside the last remaining vestiges of his childhood does he learn exactly why.  Peter’s final and most brutal betrayal of Jamie combined with Henry’s subtle nods towards Wendy and Tinkerbell floods the story with anticipation and sorrow as Henry prepares us for the end.
“Peter will never let me go. If I’m not to be his playmate and friend, then I am to be his playmate and enemy. He brought me to this island and he swore I would never leave and so I haven’t.”
Once again, Henry takes readers on an adventure of epic and horrific proportions as she reinvents a childhood classic using our own fears and desires. Her smooth prose and firm writing hooked me up instantly and held me hostage to the very end. I am firmly team Captain Hook and I hope there will be a sequel.

Reviews

1. This was a lot of fun.  I am not really someone who reads a lot of fairy tale retellings but the idea of this one really appealed to me.   I really don't know a whole lot about the original Peter Pan story besides what I know from Disney which was probably one of the things that made me want to pick this book up.  It did start out a bit slow for me and I was able to set it aside but once I really got going, I didn't want to put it down.  This was really a great read.

I have a weakness for villains but Jamie really doesn't feel like a villain in this story.  I really enjoyed seeing Peter Pan, the island, and the other boys from Jamie's point of view.  Jamie was the first boy that Peter brought to the island and he is the favorite.  He takes care of the others and keeps things in line.  For a boy that will never grow up he is really very mature.

Peter wasn't the lovable innocent child that I know from the Disney movie.  Not at all.  Peter was cunning and thought only of himself.  He brings boys to the island so that he will forever have playmates and he wants them all to love him.  That doesn't mean that he cares about them all that much because if they die or get hurt he can just go and get more boys.  Peter wants things the way that he wants them and he has all of the power on the island so the boys follow his lead.

The story had a lot of exciting moments.  I was happy to see the things that I remember from my limited knowledge of Peter Pan including the pirates, the tree, and mermaids.  I was also thrilled to see a few surprises along the way.  This was definitely not a Disney movie and some of the scenes were actually quite violent.  There were plenty of characters to like and a few to hate.  Once the book hit the mid-point the action really didn't let up until the final page.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought it was a really well done story with great characters.  This is the first book by Christina Henry that I have read but I hope to read more in the future.
2. What a fun adventure! If you like the classic fairy tales and the delightful twists authors come up with to tell the story in a new way, then you need to pick this one up!

I reviewed Christina Henry’s earlier book, Red Queen, and was very excited to see what she had to offer next. This time, we go on an adventure with Jaime, the first Lost Boy, as Henry retells the tale of Peter Pan. This Peter is a little crazier than other Peters we know and love. He’s hot-headed, impulsive, and hedonistic. He is more selfish and determined to never grow up. His determination is so strong that he implies that anyone who grows up on his Island will be sentenced to death. In contrast, Jamie is patient, thoughtful, and selfless. He serves as the gentle right hand The Lost Boys can run to for problems whereas they follow Peter Pan for fun. This creates a fascinating relationship dynamic that pulled me through the book, racing with them all across Neverland.

Henry nails her plot progression, moving through each event seamlessly. Each part of the book is well crafted to build Jaime up until he’s ready to take on the mantle of Captain Hook. However, unlike Disney’s version, by the end of the book you’ll find your sympathies lie more with Jamie than Peter. This twist makes the story more thought-provoking than I expected it to be. Fortunately, I was prepared to read Peter Pan as a bad guy thanks to the TV show, Once Upon A Time. However, Jamie is not as suave as Killian Jones or as eligible (he’s only 14!). That’s not a bad thing though. Rather than providing fan service, Henry sticks to providing a good story.

Her attention to detail is also impressive and her imagination answers many questions I’ve always wondered about the story of Peter Pan, like:
  •     Why does Capt Hook only pillage Neverland? Aren’t there other islands to raid?
  •     How do Peter Pan and The Lost Boys stay so young for so long?
  •     Why does Capt. Hook hate Peter Pan?
  •     Why aren’t there Lost Girls?
  •     Do the boys actually suffer the consequences of being young and under no supervision? Do they get sick? Do they get hurt?

Christina Henry addresses all of this and more. I’m not going to hint at the answers…you’ll just need to read this book and find out.

I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoyed her Alice books or any one who enjoyed Once Upon A Time when it was the Peter Pan season.
3. Lost Boy was everything I wanted, and so much more! I was honestly blown away by how beautifully it was crafted. Christina Henry took everything I thought I knew about Peter Pan, and completely flipped it upside down. If you read this book, you will never see Peter the same way again. It really messed with my head, because the events of this book are completely unexpected, but also make complete sense within the world of the original story.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book, particularly Jamie. When I watched the Disney movie as a child, I never thought I would one day empathize with Captain Hook. But Christina Henry clearly has magical powers, because that is exactly what happened. I loved how complex he is as a character, especially as he struggles to weigh his own conscious against what Peter wants. And Peter… Peter is something else. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I love characters like Henry’s version of Peter. And I mean love from a literary standpoint. Because as a person, he is evil and I hate him. Viscerally. And you know a book is good when it elicits that strong of a reaction.

The only thing I wish we had gotten a bit more of was setting. While this book is completely different from the original story (it’s a prequel), and does stand on it’s own, I feel like having knowledge of that story (in the form of the Disney movie) helped me with some of the context. And I wish I hadn’t had to rely on that so much. This book is very dark, and it doesn’t exactly mesh well with the images of colorful mermaids and cartoon crocodiles.

I absolutely loved this book! Christina Henry has a way of making stories dark in a way that seems so realistic. It’s easy to identify with the characters, the plot is exciting, and it’s a whole new twist on a story I grew up with.

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