Happy almost Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday of the year and I thought this book review was pretty fitting for the All Hallow’s eve celebration! 🎃🎃🎃
There were a huge number of people that loved it. It has a surprising 4.09/5 stars on Goodreads so I thought it was something worth reading and I’m always down for a gory and dark story. From the summary it looked like a dark retelling of the beloved story of Peter Pan set in modern day New York (before headed off to Neverland). Buuut, I felt like the minority since after reading it, I was not a fan of this book.
This review is more a critique on the writing of the book with very few spoilers (there’s a minor one towards the 4th paragraph though). So I won’t be adding “spoiler alert” warning for this one.
I enjoyed the concept of going back to how dark original fairy tales were. Instead of a sanitized version of a perpetual forever young boy (Peter Pan in green tights) of Neverland, we get a dark and angry one in “The Child Thief”. I thought it had great potential, but ended up falling through for me because I felt like the author was trying really hard to be gory and dark. Or perhaps it was as if I was reading a book of angry and angsty teenagers (?) while relatable probably if I were in my teen years, but overall was exhausting to read as an adult (for me). I had to put this down when I first started, but was determined to finish it (don’t like reading things half way and not finishing something).
I did enjoy that it was in third person writing (not big on first person writing) and the details that went into dark Avalon as well as the atmosphere and scenery. Although things got messy midway through the book, I thought we were coming from Nick’s perspective (third person limited writing) and saw things only through his eyes with minor instances of straying from Nick’s perspective to Peter’s. It was because it was so heavily leaned on Nick’s side for such a long duration of the book that it made me feel like that was where we were going to stay at. But suddenly– we were in the head of another character. WHIPLASH. POVs started shifting from not just 1-2 characters but like half a dozen of them. I realized the author was going for third person omniscient approach where there’s a fully developed character presence of their own (Nick). But to pull that off, the narrative should never truly jump too far inside a character’s heads to show precisely what they’re feeling. But the author does and fails to be create a seamless and flowing story. Instead, creating a jumbled and jarring mess like I was “swimming through a thought explosion” as Nathan Bransford once said.
I found it bothersome because this leap or “head jump” as they call it was so sudden and out of the blue. It was as if the author decided he didn’t want to stick with Nick anymore and just jump to another character. I get that the writing style is doable, if done well, but I personally thought it messily done making the transitions and flow of the story very choppy towards the end. It was disorienting and I couldn’t stick to any particular scene of the story because of that, and Nick ended up being some trifle character that was killed off (ironic seeing as half the book was from his perspective).
Not to mention, midway through, I just wanted to scream at them: DUDE. Take a breath, get your shit together and THINK. Then there was the cringey thug moments where slag was being used. I don’t know, but it just didn’t seem well written on those parts. But it could just be hard to write since slang is usually better said than written. “Whatup, cuzz” and “dawg” was SO cringey. LOL.
I’m so glad I finished it, never again, dude.
Sorry guys, these last two books weren’t great. I promise there will be better ones!
Author: Gerad Brom
Published: August 25, 2009