I read Everland by Wendy Spinale and let me just say – I’m lovin’ all these fairy tale re-tellings. Keep them coming, universe! Pretty please 🙂 Read on for my spoiler-free thoughts on this steampunk Peter Pan tale.
YA Fiction! This is a Peter Pan re-telling without the magic. “What???” you ask. “No magic?” Yes, no magic. I read it anyway and I’m not sorry. This broadening of my bookish horizons is going great! As mentioned above, this book leans heavily towards steampunk and also dystopia.
Young adults and bookworms of all ages who are fans of Peter Pan and the Neverland crew.
In war-torn London, a disease fatal to adults has ravaged the population, leaving those under or around the age of 18 to fend for themselves. Gwen and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey, are three such survivors. They must scavenge the desolate wasteland while hiding from Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer, aka Hook, and his invading German army of Marauders. Hook and his men are on the hunt for survivors and if Gwen wants to keep her siblings alive she’ll have to team up with the mysterious Pete, the feisty Bella, and their band of Lost Kids in the fight against the Marauders.
Post-apocalyptic London – pretty cool! I mean, in a what-a-riveting-take!-(pun-intented-because-steampunk)-but-GOOD-GOD-I-hope-that-never-actually-happens sorta way.
Spinale did an AMAZING job with these characters! They were reminiscent of the Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinker Bell we grew up with in Disney’s Peter Pan, but they were also very unique – yet another case of a fairy tale re-telling done right (I’m looking at you, Lunar Chronicles!).
What I liked
I found the beginning to be a bit slow-going, but it picked up pretty quickly and maintained a steady pace throughout. There were twists and turns that kept me on my toes – which I always appreciate.
The story was written from the perspectives of two characters – Gwen and Hook – allowing the reader to get to know them both while providing a comprehensive vantage point of the plotline, setting, and other characters. Speaking of setting, the world-building was excellent – there’s so much going on! I also really liked that Everland didn’t end with a major cliffhanger. All the major plot points at the forefront of this tale were pretty much wrapped up with the exception of the (potential) groundwork for the next book(s).
By far, my favorite aspect was the parallels to the classic Pan tale. More specifically, the Disney movie – since I have yet to read J.M. Barrie’s original (it’s on my bookshelf, waiting for me). Spinale got the quirks, personalities, and memorable one-liners down pat for all the major characters – Wendy, Michael, Peter, Tinkerbell, etc. These, of course, aren’t their names in Everland, but you catch my drift.
What I liked a little less
There was really just one teensy little thing… Sometimes the character parallels seemed a little forced. I still loved them overall and think Spinale did a spectacular job of capturing their essence, as I said above, but every now and then…it was a bit much. This happened maybe two or three times in the entire story, among all the awesome lines and parallels, mind you – so all in all, this is a very minor thing. It’s also possible that I’m the only one in the entire world universe that felt this way.
I also had to be reminded that this is the first book in what will be a series. That’s what happens when you wait two months to read a book. You forget things. …Or is that just me? I’d give Everland 4/5 stars.