Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.
But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.
This was so much FUN. Everything I want a retelling to be. It was true to the original in many ways, and yet different enough to fully stand on its own.
In this installment, Peter is trans. At home in the real world, he is Wendy, surrounded by a family who doesn’t understand him. It’s no wonder then, when facing the prospect of growing up in a female body and being forced into marriage, that he instead flees to Neverland.
The beginning of this book is…well, I didn’t like Peter very much. To be frank, he’s an insipid little shit, so focused on warring with the pirates for his own entertainment and distraction that he doesn’t really get that actual lives are at risk.
He learns this lesson the hard way, and becomes a much more likeable character afterward, which, I’m assuming was one of the main intents of his character arc. A lot of times this transition from an unlikeable to likeable character doesn’t really work for me, because authors tend to half-ass it. Chant pulls this off perfectly. By the end, I loved his character with my whole heart.
Okay, so this is also a love story, between Peter and Hook. As much as I love them together, and nearly wept happy tears when I got to their HEA, it should be noted that their romance isn’t the main focus of this story. It’s more of a wildly entertaining action/adventure, complete with romps through fairy-filled forests, danger on the high seas, sword fights with dread pirates, and a frantic race through underground caverns in search of treasure.
There’s even a battle with a frigging kraken!
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book, but have already purchased a paperback, because I NEED this on my retelling shelf in my library, so I can escape back into Neverland whenever the real world becomes too much.