Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Captain Hook is tired of Neverland. He’s tired of losing men to Peter and the Lost Boys. He’s tired of being subject to the whims of a child. More than anything, he longs to leave Neverland, but he knows that won’t happen because Neverland responds to the will of Peter Pan, and Peter wants him to stay. So instead, he wishes for death, something to end the monotony of his everyday existence. That is, until he finds a grown woman, Stella Parish, walking around the woods of Neverland. Peter doesn’t allow adult women into the land of fairy tales—how did she get there? Could she be the key to Hook’s escape, once and for all?
I’ve always been captivated by the Peter Pan story. Not the idea of never growing up or being a child forever, but by the story of Hook. That’s why when I first heard about Alias Hook, a fairy tale for grown-ups starring a character I’ve been fascinated by for a long time, I was instantly intrigued.
It took me a long time to actually sit down and read Alias Hook, but once I did, I found myself completely immersed in the story. Lisa Jensen brings the world of Neverland to life for the reader, and it’s a gorgeous, cruel place. You can see the toll it’s taken on Hook and understand his frustration with his existence. I absolutely loved the characterization of Hook in this novel. He’s such a powerful, resourceful figure, but he’s also petulant. He’s been subject to the whims of a child for so long that he’s forgotten in some ways what it is to be an adult. He’s an incredibly convincing character and a wonderful anti-hero to center the novel on.
This is truly a fairy tale for adults, and I absolutely reveled in reading Alias Hook. From the setting to the character descriptions to the twists and turns of the story, I couldn’t get enough of this novel. I’m not sure I can adequately describe how much I sunk my teeth into this book; I read it in one sitting, desperate to understand what would happen in Neverland and eager to see the ending Hook created for himself. I think that even if you aren’t a fan of the Peter Pan story like I am, if you enjoy antiheroes (or you’re just a fan of Hook on Once Upon a Time, you need to give this incredible, gripping, gorgeous novel a chance. You won’t regret it.
A note about this book: The author chose to stay true to J.M. Barrie’s use of language and use specific terms that are derogatory by today’s standards to refer to Neverland’s indigenous population. I wish she hadn’t made that choice because it pulled me out of the narrative and filled me with distaste. I can anticipate the arguments for making that choice (the time period, the source material), but it doesn’t change the fact it was unnecessary. It would have been just as easy and convincing to omit or change those terms. It’s a flaw in an otherwise incredible book, and one I didn’t wish I had to address.