Enter a Neverland where magic is as sinuous as a snake and twice as deadly. In ALIAS HOOK author Lisa Jensen puts her own twist on J. M. Barrie’s PETER AND WENDY and the result is an imaginative, dark ride through a fascinating, purgatory-like landscape. Our guide through Ms. Jensen’s Neverland is Captain James Benjamin Hookbridge, the man who comes to be Hook, the foil to Neverland’s boy ruler. Hook is a Restoration-era privateer who is vain, proud and not wholly likeable. Ms. Jensen gives us his backstory, showing the man before the myth, and though this part of the book is long and not exactly captivating, it does show readers how and why Hook came to Neverland and became the number one villain in Pan’s personal game. And once Pan sets his sights on Hook, the boy, who is a dark and twisted version of the beloved character, will not let the pirate go. Pan’s will and Hook’s own reticence to see that he needs to change and grow keep the two locked in a never-ending battle that Hook will always lose.
Hook’s one last shot at salvation comes in the form of Stella Parrish, a woman whose mere arrival in Neverland is a shock to all who live there. Stella is the catalyst for Hook’s change and watching him grow from the morose, frustrated pirate to the man he is meant to be is interesting. Hook and Stella’s journey takes them through Neverland and this is where ALIAS HOOK truly comes to life. Ms. Jensen’s insight into the world of magic, the relationship of male and female, and the true nature of boys who run free without ever seeing the real consequences of their actions is marvelous. This isn’t a light book, but it does become fascinating. I loved seeing the ins and outs of Neverland and by the end of the story I could not put ALIAS HOOK down. The story has many ups and downs, but in the end I’d say that ALIAS HOOK is a complex, interesting adult fairytale.