Alias Hook is a darker retelling or sequel to Peter Pan. This has become a fairly popular conceit in recent years—reexamining the monstrosity inherent in a boy who never grows up, in a world of endless games. To call this a reimagining does a disservice to J.M. Barrie, whose original story was far more ambivalent about the title character than many of the subsequent adaptations. Jensen uses Hook as the lens to follow in Barrie’s footsteps. She approaches Hook on his own terms, as a pirate with a past full of bloodshed, slaughter, rape, and pillage who has been trapped in an endless, pointless battle with a tyrannical boy for an eternity.
This is a dark, twisted, oddly hopeful love story with a dark, bitter Hook at its center. His experiences and character are well, even lovingly, drawn. Jensen clearly has an interest in pirates and it comes across clearly. After an eternity of pointless battles with Peter Pan, that leave Hook unable to die and forced to rebuild and fight again, a woman arrives in Neverland, too old to be a Wendy, and everything changes.
Alias Hook is a romance as much as it is a meditation on childhood, dreaming, war, and stories, and it fulfills the themes and questions inherent in the original and adds more of its own. This is a familiar world, yet so very different. Like a dream. I enjoyed this book immensely, but then I always routed for Captain Hook. Always.
***Received copy from NetGalley for review