GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Book Review: Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
by Christina Henry
July 4, 2017
304 pages 
Publisher: Berkley
From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a familiar story with a dark hook—a tale about Peter Pan and the friend who became his nemesis, a nemesis who may not be the blackhearted villain Peter says he is…

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first—and favorite—lost boy to his greatest enemy.

Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter's idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock—the kinds of playthings that bite.

Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Peter lies.

Lost Boy is the untold story of Captain Hook, villain of Peter Pan fame. Some readers may be familiar with Christina Henry’s other retelling, The Chronicles of Alice duology. Once again, Henry has expertly hit the mark holding my rapt attention throughout her reimagining of a classic tale. I was simultaneously drawn to and repelled by the magic of Neverland Island and one of its principle residents.

Prior to becoming the infamous pirate Captain Hook, Jamie was Peter’s right hand and stalwart protector of the lost boys. My love of Jamie was an instantaneous as my hatred for Peter. It’s curious how Henry takes a seed of truth — Peter Pan is manipulative, selfish, and reckless after all — and manages to sow such contempt for a beloved literary character. Conversely, Hook is ruthless and crazed in his singular hatred for Pan, but how did he get that way? It can’t possibly be as simple as literary history would have us believe.

Lost Boy is a fantastic adventure story with a Lord of the Flies sensibility. Henry evokes Golding when the boys revel in their kill while en route to a pirate raid: “Somewhere along the way they’d all stripped down to their bare skin and painted themselves with blood. They were dancing and jumping whooping around the fire.” And we know how these things inevitably go: “Boys got hurt. They fell. They bloodied one another’s noses. They called one another cruel names. Sometimes they got eaten by crocodiles. Sometimes they got stabbed by pirates.” And the horror and devastation is rampant in Lost Boy. Henry’s telling of atrocity, though, is simultaneously tender and graphic, delicate and horrific.

As the book proceeds, Jamie’s love for Peter begins to wane. He realizes Peter has been duplicitous and not even Jamie, the island’s premiere lost boy, is spared Peter’s nefarious machinations. Henry has a way of temporarily relieving her readers’ fears and trepidations only to blindside us with the demise of those we were so sure would prevail. And so you’re compelled to read and read until finally you, and your beloved friends, can find rest. But, because we know better, that rest never comes.

Henry’s writing is among the most substantive and touching in the fantasy genre. As far as I’m concerned she has license to re-write any classic she wishes. Lost Boy has been perhaps my most meaningful read of the year thus far. I couldn’t wait to start, but was terrified to finish. And, for the record, if you love a little boy, which I do with all my heart, this book is all the more raw, poignant, and devastatingly tragic.

Review: Alice (The Chronicles of Alice #1)
Review: Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice #2)

Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
CHRISTINA HENRY is the author of the national bestselling BLACK WINGS (Ace/Roc) series featuring Agent of Death Madeline Black and her popcorn-loving gargoyle Beezle. She is also the author of the forthcoming dark fantasy ALICE (Ace Trade).

She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.


  1. Putting this one on my To-Read-List. Thanks!

  2. This is so going on my list. This is the second time I've seen it and both times I've read the same thing. How the reader was blown away. (Although this one was a little more detailed)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Glad I was convincing! Lol. This book is not to be missed. The Alice duology is excellent as well.