Author: Wendy Spinale
Everland was the May Owlcrate book of the month. A steampunk/ alternative history retelling of Peter Pan in which Hook decimates London killing all the adults and unleashing a virus that kills the girls almost as quickly. Gwen Darling is one of the lucky ones. She’s trying to take care of her younger brother and sister when a kidnapping leads her right into the path of Pete and the Lost Boys.
I was excited to get this one. I love steampunk and I don’t usually do a lot of Peter Pan retellings. Overall though it fell a little flat which was somehow even more disappointing.
What worked is important and that was actually the set-up. It all did make sense. You could imagine a virus being unleashed during the blitz and I enjoyed that and the descriptions of the dead city. (One of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. London- not an actual dead city.) The descriptions of the city the boys (and one girl) lived were also very good and I think it does a good job of weaving in so many elements of Pan.
I also liked Hook. He’s got some interesting back story and he’s one of those characters that you can’t really, truly hate. I admit it also helped that I was picturing the Hook from Once Upon a Time for the whole read.
Unfortunately it was Gwen that didn’t work for me. I certainly don’t hate the character. She’s spunky, brave and resourceful although I feel like she goes for Pete a little too fast. But there wasn’t much about her that made her standout save the super special status the plot grants her. Her siblings were okay but they felt like those kids you get in movies were you just grit your teeth and wait for them to get off-screen. Pete was typical Pete but I thought Jack and Doc were far more interesting lost boys.
That might be my thing with this book. A perfectly fine quick read but totally predictable with mostly cookie-cutter characters. Reading this one I thought it read a little younger than I would have expected but at the same time there are some child deaths and harsh subjects dealt with like any good fairy tale retelling.
Recommend: 50/50 Everland is an interesting book but I think there are better retellings of Pan out there.