Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Book Review: The Neverland Wars, by Audrey Greathouse


The Neverland Wars
Audrey Greathouse
Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Clean Teen Publishing
May 9, 2016
Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Source: Amazon Kindle Store


Book Synopsis: Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home. 

However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality. 

She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance. 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30120253-the-neverland-wars




The tale of Peter Pan and the Lost Children in Neverland has always been one of my childhood favorites! I am especially fond of the Disney version, too. So I was very much interested when I discovered this contemporary retelling! I even bought the Kindle Edition for my Android phone, although YA Bound Book Tours had already sent me a complimentary e-book copy in exchange for an honest review.

Unfortunately, this new re-working of the beloved story simply was not a compelling read for me. 

At first, I was pulled in, as the introduction to the main character, Gwen, when she was a toddler, was cute and enchanting. However, once the story fast-forwards to sixteen-year-old Gwen, I began to lose interest. It didn't happen right away; I really enjoyed the initial interactions between Gwen and her little sister, Rosemary, who was a cute, lovable kid. Gwen was appropriately protective of her, and they related well as sisters. It was later, when Gwen decided to go off to Neverland to join Rosemary, who had been kidnapped by Peter Pan, that my interest began to seriously wane.

As the story develops, Gwen turns out to be a rather dull character, and her bond with Rosemary inexplicably becomes less important to her. She's supposed to look out for her little sister, as well as bring her back home, safe and sound, but, once in Neverland, Gwen becomes more interested in Peter and the kids there, as well as what's going on with them, which isn't that much, anyway. This is totally out of character. Besides, I  can't really see why she likes Peter, as he's not a very interesting character, either.

This brings me to the plot itself. There's really not much of one; at least, not for the first 30 chapters. One fairly interesting event was the introduction of the little expedition, led by Peter, to visit the Indians, on the other side of Neverland. The reader is introduced to a bit of fascinating folklore in this part of the book. Beyond this, though, there's not much else going on. As to the supposed "war", there were just vague references to it. No actual conflict was involved.

The character of Peter Pan is another thing about this book I didn't like. Peter is supposed to be this very fun-loving, playful kid who doesn't want to grow up. In fact, the plot synopsis describes him as "impish and playful", but I saw little, if any, evidence of this in the novel. Instead, he's pretty serious most of the time, and even in a bad mood quite often. I also didn't like it that he would sometimes put Gwen down, as well as talk down to her. He just didn't come across as very likable, and I really couldn't see why the Lost Children stayed with him, when he really wasn't that much fun to be around.

I also disliked Gwen and Rosemary's parents. They came across as rather unpleasant, and much too strict with their kids. Plus, they really seemed to lack a good relationship with them.

Neverland itself was not that enchanting, either. In fact, it struck me as a very boring place to visit, let alone live in. There were mermaids and fairies, but they just didn't grab my interest, either, because they didn't do much of anything. Overall, the world-building was practically non-existent. I just couldn't really get much of a feeling for the place.

Speaking of fairies, the one who was always flying around Peter in this book was named "Hollyhock". I don't see why the author renamed this fairy. In the original version, her name was "Tinkerbell". If Peter retained his name, why couldn't his fairy sidekick have retained hers, as well? Besides, the original name is so much prettier! It also has a rather whimsical aspect to it, giving readers the picture of a dainty, very feminine little fairy that darts around playfully, producing little tinkling musical sounds as she does so. In contrast, the name "Hollyhock" just sounds like the name of some flower or plant. It conveys nothing at all to the imagination.

Another thing I disliked was the obvious Harry Potter influence, with Gwen's dad being involved in the use of magic for "business matters". This sounded too much like the type of thing the Ministry of Magic does in the HP series.

I kept struggling to finish the book, but finally gave up halfway through Chapter 32.  (The book has a total of 48.)

In addition to all of the above, what really clinched it for me was reading a couple of negative reviews on Amazon, both of which stated that this book starts out as a young adult read, and ends up introducing very adult themes toward the end, such as underage drinking, cursing, and drugs. I decided not to stick around to find out more.

MY RATING: 




2 comments:

  1. I am sorry this wasn't better for you, Maria. I like the story of Peter Pan too. It's where I got my name from, if you believe my mom (my dad says they put a bunch of names beginning with "W" in a hat and my name is what was drawn). My daughter was first introduced to Peter Pan in her Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon which she loves. She's seen the movie, but thought it was boring. Haha

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    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Yeah....I'm sorry too, as I REALLY wanted to like this book....but unfortunately, I just couldn't. It just became such a chore to continue with it! So I finally had to give up. And I can't believe all the five-star and four-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads!

      Wow, that's such a CUTE story about how you got your name! I'm inclined to believe your mom. I guess I just want to believe that you were named after the female main character in the original Peter Pan story, lol.

      Every child is eventually introduced to Peter Pan at some point. It's just one of the classics of childhood. I've never heard of "Jake and the Neverland Pirates", since it's been a while since I watched cartoons, lol. And I had NO idea there was a movie, too! I'll have to check them both out! Thanks for the info! And I would be inclined to trust Mouse's taste. Kids always see certain things so much more clearly than we grownups do!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a nice comment!! :)

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