Gwendolyn Allister has lived a life on the run. For as long as she can remember, her mother has relocated them again and again to escape "monsters". Her daughter believes her to be insane, until she realizes the monsters her mother flees from are real.
One night, after Gwendolyn and her mother moved to London, dark creatures snatch Gwendolyn and her friend, Olivia. They whisk her away to a world of mystery called Neverland where the ground shifts with every moment and Fey dwell in the forests. Gwendolyn loses consciousness and awakens on a massive pirate ship led by a boy who calls himself Captain. However, Olivia is gone.
In the fight for survival, Gwendolyn is forced to choose between trusting a boyish pirate guaranteeing her safety and the charming boy who soars through the night skies. As she struggles to find her friend, she uncovers the truth about good, evil, and herself.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I have read many re-imagined fairy tales, but this is one of my favorites. Lisa Maxwell did an excellent job with building a fascinating new world unlike the Neverland we have heard of before. I love how she transformed the traditional idea of Neverland into a place full of evil fairies and shifting lands. Whenever I read her words about the setting, I truly felt as if I had been transported into the story.
I also really enjoyed the development of the Captain's character. At first, he appears to be a boy playing the part of a ruthless, strong pirate. However, with every interaction he has with Gwendolyn, more and more of his true character is unveiled. His conflicts between good and evil also created a sense of realism. The Captain's character perfectly demonstrates how good and evil is not black and white. His character is humanized as the reader learns his backstory and motivations.
And then, there's Pan. While I admired the characterization of the Captain the most, Pan's character was impeccably done. I won't say to much for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but it was incredible to witness how his layers slowly revealed the truth. His character maintains many of the characteristics of the traditional Peter Pan while also taking on a personality of his own.
My favorite part of the novel was the theme. I LOVED how Lisa Maxwell challenges the idea of good and evil in Peter Pan as she shows readers the importance of looking beyond the surface. She inadvertently urges readers to fully understand situations and to see their own self worth. As Gwendolyn takes her journey of self-discovery, Maxwell encourages her readers to look beyond any self doubt blocking their path.
While I loved almost everything about this book, I really wish Gwendolyn had been a stronger female lead. I admired how she constantly challenged both the Captain and Pan, but it broke my heart to take in her abundant amount of self-doubt. I understand it was necessary to complete her story arc, but I wish she would have depended less on others for rescuing. Her character was endearing, and I would have admired her even more if she had recognized her own ability. Additionally, I wish there would have been more of Olivia. I would have loved to have known her character better, and I think that would have made me connect with her more throughout the story.
This novel is perfect for anyone seeking a fast-paced fantasy filled with magical creatures and captivating characters. It is not part of a series, so it is a great book for readers seeking a quality, stand-alone story.