Review: Lost Boy by Christina Henry - 9/10*
Everybody has their own story to tell, and more often than not people only see things from one perspective. In the original Peter Pan Captain Hook is an angry, perhaps slightly jealous, tyrant. But why is he this way? Christina Henry weaves a terrifying narrative together in response to such a question, a response that has the potential to alter the reader's perception of the original work forever.
It certainly changed my ideas about Peter Pan. The reason for that is how strikingly well the story is put together. There is nothing in this speculative prequel that could not have happened in relation to the original work. Taken in a certain light, the actions of the childish Peter are as twisted and evil as Henry made them out to be. He has the carelessness of a child, and with such carelessness comes a misunderstanding of the needs of others. Peter is unaware of how his actions can be considered bad; he doesn't set out to do evil: he accidently does so with his selfish ways. And because of this he has the potential to ruin many lives.
The boys are taken to Neverland to suit his purpose and it is very much his island, existing for his personal enjoyment, rather than creating a sense of community. The death of the boys means little him as he has a very vague concept of death in general, a product of his immortality. They are all replaceable and inconsequential. Each boy has deluded himself into thinking he is special, that he is Peter's favourite, but in reality he has been manipulated by Peter. He convinces people that he is their friend, so he can use them for his own entertainment. Whether that is frightening pirates or exploring the many dangers of the island, all the boys are at Peter's disposal. Jamie, our soon to be Captain Hook, was no different.
Told in the first person from his perspective, the narrative tracks his disenchantment with a friend he once loved. After a series of careless deaths and unfortunate encounters, Peter's spell (this charming illusion) is broken. The shift is gradual, as the friendship between the boys slowly breaks down. One only cares about fun and games, and the other is starting to grow up leaving the whimsical nature of the ageless lost boy behind. The end result is inevitable and deeply saddening. What Christina Henry does so well with her adaptation is to create a situation which is so plausible in relation to the original work. Her Peter is violent and unpredictable when his actions are considered beyond the heroics he defines them as. Indeed, not everything is as simple as it seems in Neverland.
The story is highly reminiscent of The Lord of the Flies by William Golding in which a group of children form their own society centred on ideas of violence and disastrous attempts of immature governance. I personally recommend this book to those who enjoyed the work and wish to read about similar themes in a fantasy-based setting.