Everland by Wendy Spinale


“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

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Personal Thoughts:

Will it baffle any of you if I said I haven’t read the original story of Peter Pan? Though I’ve watch a lots of movies, series, and animations about the boy who never grew up, I never really got the chance of reading the original story of Scottish novelist and playwright, J. M. Barrie. With so many books in my shelf, I am also surprised that I don’t have any copy of the classic and original tale of Peter Pan.

But even without reading the original story, I am pretty aware how Peter Pan’s story goes. As I’ve said I’ve seen different versions of it already. And reading another version in this new novel by Wendy Spinale is a welcome experience.

In Wendy Spinale’s take, Peter Pan’s story is twisted and re-imagined into a darker version which is set in a steam-punk/dystopian world.

Told from points of view of Hook and Gwen Darling the story set in a post-apocalyptic version of England after most of the humanity was destroyed by a epidemic virus.

Hook is a young German officer looking for a cure to Horologia virus which he believed can be found in a girl that is immune to the disease. Gwen maybe the only immune which makes her a target of Hook and his crew. And to complicate things, Gwen sister is captured by Hook. With the help of Pete and his team of Lost Boys, Gwen will do anything to rescue her sister. Is saving one life worth risking few more or worst the rest of the humanity?

“You’re a brave girl trying to go back for your dad’s tags. Mad in the head, but still brave. You two are a lot like each other, maybe even more than you think.”

Wendy Spinale’s Everland is a re-imagining of Peter Pan story that’s sure to delight readers. It’s fast-pace and thrilling that not only tell a new adventure of familiar characters but also a new and imaginative world for readers to get lost into.

The characters are equally charming and interesting like the original characters where they are all based. Pete is funny and sarcastic. Gwen is loving and caring, plus more daring and stronger than Wendy. Belle is a sweetheart, a bit possessive of Pete but in the end shows maturity and truly helpful to Gwen and others. Hook is rightfully devious. And Lily is very helpful and whom I hope to be have more exposure in the next installment, as well as Doc, jack and the other lost boys.

“…intelligence and maturity cannot build a city. It’s true, I might be smart, but I could never have done the things Pete has done. It takes heart and strength, overcoming tragedy, to have the will to build something as fantastic as the Lost City.”

All in all, Everland is an exciting start to this new retelling series. It’s imaginative, thrilling, and entertaining retelling of Peter Pan. Whether you have read the original story or not, Wendy Spinale’s take about the boy who never grew up will surely delight you from start to end. A story that will reminds you that sometimes growing up is a choice not everyone has.

* This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.


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