Hook’s Tale by John Pielmeier

3 Stars (3 / 5)

Published by Scribner  ::  288 Pages 

Long famed as a vicious pirate, Captain James Cook (aka Hook) was in fact a dazzling wordsmith who left behind a vibrant, wildly entertaining, and entirely truthful memoir. His chronicle offers a counter narrative to the works of J.M. Barrie, a “dour Scotsman” whose spurious accounts got it all wrong. Now, award-winning playwright John Pielmeier is proud to present in this crucial historic artifact in its entirety for the first time.

Cook’s story begins in London, where he lives with his widowed mother. At thirteen, he runs away from home, but is kidnapped and pressed into naval service as an unlikely cabin boy. Soon he discovers a treasure map that leads to a mysterious archipelago called the “Never-Isles” from which there appears to be no escape. In the course of his adventures he meets the pirates Smee and Starkey, falls in love with Tiger Lily, adopts an oddly affectionate crocidile, and befriends a charming boy named Peter-who teaches him to fly. He battles monsters, fights in mutinies, swims with mermaids, and eventually learns both the sad and terrible tale of his mothers life and the true story of his fathers disappearance.

Like Gregory Maguire’s Wicked, Hook’s Tale offers a radical new version of a classic story, bringing readers into a much richer, darker, and enchanting version of Neverland than ever before. The characters that our hero meets lead him to the most difficult question of his life: whether to submit to the temptation of eternal youth, or to embrace the responsibilities of maturity and the inevitability of his own mortality. His choice, like his story, is not what you might expect.

Who is Captain Hook? Where did he come from? This book seeks to answer your questions!

Hook’s Tale was hard for me to get into at first because of the style that it is written, frilly and long winded like Treasure Island or Robinson Crusoe, which is fine because some people like that but for me it’s hard to pay attention. If you can hang in there for the first 75 pages or so you are in for a real treat though because the story itself is very cleverly woven around the things we already know about Captain Hook.

One thing I enjoyed about the story was that Neverland was actually a “Bermuda triangle” of sorts, where ships would sail in on accident and then couldn’t find their way out again. The mystery of the slowed aging was also an excellent aspect of the book. Ok, cool, no more sailing into outer-space on a pirate ship, I dig.

The characters themselves are expertly written, building on what Barrie had written already and adding to what may have made them, them. Peter is a child obviously, always living in the moment as we know that children do. ‘Yesterday’ could be the day before or years ago, ‘tomorrow’ having the same span of time. I loved the dynamics with the Indians and the mermaids. You get to find out where all the other crew mates of the Jolly Roger came from, the Lost Boys, uuhhgg *gasp* it was a wonderful continuation, and hard to talk about without spoiling it!

This book is all about the imagery so there are long passages of description, clothing, scenery, ships rigging, lots of time spent describing, especially in the first 20% of the book or so. Once the characters arrive in Neverland there is much more action and less narration happening which is great for the story. The world created by the author has the look and feel, even the smell of the Neverland that we know and love. Even though I haven’t read it, it is how I would imagine the real Peter Pan story would be written, which is great.

Peter Pan and Captain Hook, originally illustrated by Nadir Quinto.

One thing I loved so much about this story is the END!!

OMG the end was so amazing, because you know that somehow we have to get from this young, fun loving friend of Peter Pan to the hardened, horrible angry Captain Hook. But HOW?! We arrive there in a heartbreaking fashion, which is extra special for me because I enjoy it when a book rips my heart out. And I’m not just saying that either, I truly love it.

I think this story is exactly what a young adult or adult reader would crave to read when they wanted to further explore Neverland and how the story that we know with Wendy began. If you enjoyed Wicked by Gregory Maguire or Heartless by Melissa Meyer, or anything to do with Peter Pan and Neverland, than I think that you would enjoy this book as well.

*I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review from NetGalley*

You can purchase this book on AMAZON

Check out the authors Homepage

Or see it on the Simon and Schuster Website

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Sara is a book hobbit that lives in a house of all boys, located in the promised land. Books stack the walls to the ceiling in some places, and she just keeps adding more. She was raised on top of a mountain that is locked in the dead of winter ten months of the year. She wears a size eleven shoe and enjoys her chicken cooked on the BBQ grill. In addition to reading she enjoys pinning crafts on Pinterest that she will never make and watching movies about people with sad lives or documentaries about serial killers.

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