'Even the most evil had a tender side, and the most pure the propensity for destruction.'
I never thought I'd say this but here goes: I'm in love with Captain James Hook. Don't be fooled by the cover, this is less a fantasy bodice-ripper and more a fairytale legend getting the happy ending that he deserves.
I've always loved all things Peter Pan and Neverland, and for some unknown reason I have often had sympathy for Hook ( I remember even cheering him on at a local pantomime once!) Recent TV adaptations, Once Upon a Time in particular, have definitely begun to portray him in a more attractive light - in a dark and brooding bad-boy sort of way - which only adds to his appeal!
This story sees Hook still hell bent on revenge on Peter, but it turns out that he has good reason! Pan is presented as little more than a vile mischievous imp, and it is interesting to view his relationship with Hook from the Captain's point of view for a change. One hundred years from the day their feud became serious, Hook's fairy godmother Danika has decided that it's time for Hook to settle down, and chooses Trishelle Page - with a troubled past and severe disillusionment when it comes to love - as his perfect partner. Only trouble is Trisha is from Earth, and the idea of Kingdom and Neverland is laughable to her, never mind the concept of fairy godmothers! As their worlds collide, Hook and Trishelle are told that they are destined to be together and are given three days to fall in love, but with each of them adamant that they will never love again, time is fast running out...
I picked up this book on a whim as an Amazon freebie, and I'm so glad that I did! I loved Hook from the moment he is introduced. In my mind, he was a sort of mash up between Colin O'Donoghue's Hook in Once Upon a Time, and Joseph Fiennes as The Bard in Shakespeare in Love - dark and delicious. It was nice to see his tender side too, and I loved how Hook called Trishelle 'little bird.' All of the characters are well thought out and the descriptions of Neverland, The Jolly Roger and the undersea world of the Seren Seas were truly enchanting; you could picture the setting as if you were watching it on screen. Told from both Trishelle and Hook's perspectives, you can't help but will them to get together, and the banter between them is brilliantly well written. Hook just oozes sex-appeal whilst Trisha is feisty and quick-witted. As for Peter, 'Pan was looking less and less like a romantic figure symbolic of perpetual childhood and more like a snot-nosed imp.' As I've grown up, I too have come to realise that Peter is far too cocky for his own good, and it is refreshing to see a narrative take Hook's side for once.
Full of humour and romance, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Other reviewers have mentioned how unbelievably quickly Trishelle gave up her life on Earth for Neverland, but then who wouldn't want to spend eternity sailing the seas with a sexy pirate!?
I would say that I'm eager to read the rest of the Kingdom series, but Hook has always been my favourite fairytale bad boy so I'm not sure this one can be topped. Nevertheless I'm interested to see how the other fictional baddies find their happy-ever-afters.
5/5 stars - Witty, compelling, and set in the most magical of fictional worlds, Hook's Pan is a book that you'll want to read over and over again.
This book was read as part of Fairytale Fortnight!