Published by Jeremiah Kleckner and Jeremy Marshall on January 1st, 2012
Number of Pages: 184
Genres: Adventure, Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Purchase: At Amazon
The infamous Jolly Roger and her captor, the Triumph, rock in the violent waves of a passing storm. Deep within the hull of the British flagship, Admiral Charles Price records the life of Captain Hook in shocking detail. How did James Hook come into a life of piracy? What is his connection to the Jolly Roger, the Royal Navy, and Neverland? Why does he hate Peter Pan?
Captain James Hook was a man before he became a legend and a boy before he became a man. These are his tales, as he tells them.
The first chapter is almost exclusively Hook and a ship’s Admiral who has been chasing Hook for 10 years. The first few pages are a little slow, nothing that would have held my attention except that I knew this story was about Hook and Peter Pan. The rest of the story is basically a flashback, Hook retelling events to his captor as they head towards Port Royal where he is to be hung.
From chapter 2 on, the story is told from Hook’s point of view. Though a few chapters have the Admiral interrupting Hook’s retelling, before going back to the story being told. There are lots of things scattered through the book that reference J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. When Peter first appears to a child Hook, he breaks a model ship and Hook cries over it. Peter asks him why he is crying. You also hear about Curly going missing. Long Tom, Billy Jukes, and the rest of the pirates.
Since it is told from Hook’s point of view, Peter isn’t shown in the best light. He isn’t just the flighty boy from the book by J. M. Barrie, or the cute fun-loving kid from Disney. He’s destructive, and kills off the Lost Boys when they become too old.
95% of the book is about Captain Hook, there is really very little about Peter and Neverland in the book. You get to meet famous pirates as Hook grows up and learns to be a pirate himself. Blackbeard and Long John Silver play big parts in Hook’s new life.
Except for the revelation at the end of the book, nothing that happens in the story really tie in with Neverland. There’s a small bit on an island near the beginning, but honestly, if you cut out the glimpse of Neverland at that point, and the few bits where Peter actually shows up? It’s a pirate story. It could have been told about any pirate you’d care to imagine. It was well-written, and I was curious as to what would happen next. But I don’t feel it lived up to the title much at all.
It felt more like it was trying to draw readers in, based on a promise. It would have been a better read if it had just been about a made-up pirate of the authors’ imaginations. Get rid of the sprinkles of J. M. Barrie’s world, and that’s really all it is. A pirate story.
Based solely on that, it would have gotten at least 4 stars. It was well-written, the twists were interesting and fun. I liked how much info about the ships, pirates, fighting, etc. was fleshed out. There was even a small thread of romance.
It just irked me that the story promised things in the title that it didn’t produce. And it felt a lot like the bits of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan that were added to this story, were just added so they could say they were writing about Captain Hook. So if you want a good pirate story, and have either never read Peter Pan, or are able to ignore the references, then this would be good. Otherwise I’d steer clear of it.