My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
How can I describe Peter’s face, the pieces of him that stick to my heart? Peter sometimes looked aloof and distant; sometimes his face was open and soft as a bruise. Sometimes he looked completely at Tiger Lily, as if she were the point on which all the universe revolved, as if she were the biggest mystery of life, or as if she were a flame and he couldn’t not look even though he was scared.
Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this prequel/retelling of “Peter Pan,” though told from Tinkerbell’s point of view, is really the story of Tiger Lily. With the touching feel of a coming-of-age novel, Tiger Lily struggles to find her place in the world — torn between her arranged marriage in her village, the intrigue of the modern world of the Europeans who have landed on the island, and her new-found adventures with her beloved Peter and the Lost Boys. In a story of first love, jealousy, betrayal, and finding oneself, the author adds depth to the classic tale and makes the reader see it in an entirely new light.
I’m a big fan of “new twist on old story,” and by the end of this one, I was pretty content with how the author had spun this tale. It stayed true enough to the classic in characterization and feel, but added a few new twists along the way that made it interesting and kept the reader wondering how it was all going to work out in the end. Although not entirely what I expected, I did like the resolution; it was touching and true to life, though not completely “happily ever after.”
It did, however, take QUITE awhile for the plot to build up, and it was really more of a character-driven novel than a plot-driven one; not a lot happened until near the very end. Tink’s point of view was confusing at times, since apparently faeries can “read” feelings, so often we’d know the emotions of other characters and what they felt, but would then jump back to a first-person narrative that would throw me off, forgetting who it was that was actually narrating. Tink also didn’t really add anything to the story, just kind of flitting about without any real purpose in teh plot.
Also, some things about Neverland just didn’t seem to add up. The ageing/not ageing thing confused me; there seemed to be no clear rules about who did or why, and the same seemed to hold true for the rest of the “magic” on the island; it seemed it was only really added in when it suited the author’s purpose (such as the existence of faeries, for instance). Same with the marooned-Englishman-turned-missionary, the drunken and nefarious Captain Hook, and the creepy serial killer Smee — people whom I thought were going to important parts only served as a shallow, two-dimensional plot devices. Rather disappointing in that respect.
Overall: A sweet, though painfully slow story of first love that ties in the classic “Peter Pan”