Book Review: Hooked (ARC)

Published: July 12th 2022

Author: A.C. Wise

A gorgeous literary feminist take on what happened to Wendy and Captain Hook after Neverland from the bestselling author of Wendy, Darling, perfect for fans of Christina Henry and V.E. Schwab.

Exploring themes of grief, survivor’s guilt and healing broken bonds, Hooked is a modern-day Peter Pan story, perfect for fans of retellings, Christina Henry and V.E. Schwab.

Once invited, always welcome.
Once invited, never free.

Captain James Hook, the immortal pirate of Neverland, has died a thousand times. Drowned, stabbed by Peter Pan’s sword, eaten by the beast swimming below the depths, yet James was resurrected every time by one boy’s dark imagination. Until he found a door in the sky, an escape. And he took the chance no matter the cost.

Now in London twenty-two years later, Peter Pan’s monster has found Captain Hook again, intent on revenge. But a chance encounter leads James to another survivor of Neverland. Wendy Darling, now a grown woman, is the only one who knows how dark a shadow Neverland casts, no matter how far you run. To vanquish Pan’s monster once and for all, Hook must play the villain one last time…

Before even beginning Hooked, I was initially confused if this was a sequel to Wendy, Darling or not as they feature the same characters and seemed to be related. There is enough information in this story to read it as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the two stories together.  Hook was introduced in Wendy, Darling where readers learned that Captain James Hook and his crew escaped Neverland on their ship. In Hooked, readers learned what happened to them.  Many years have passed, and Hook is no longer a pirate and has developed an opiate addiction.

Hook lived his life in Neverland after washing up on its shores a long time ago where he became the enemy of Peter Pan. The two fought the same battles repeatedly where Hook had to relive losing each time. When the chance to escape, he took it without thinking; however, the link to Neverland is never lost. Samuel, the ships doctor, escaped Neverland with Hook. Samuel was a great character, although I wish he were explored in greater detail. The two of them were greatly enjoyable as Hook is clearly a broken man, but Samuel still cares for him. Samuel’s character was the highlight of the novel, for me.

The pacing for this story is a little slow as it takes awhile to build up everything. The timeline changes between present-day London and Hook’s past in Neverland. The POVs also switch between Jane, James, and Wendy. Jane, Wendy’s daughter, is now studying medicine after her own adventure in Neverland eight years prior. Her relationship with her mother, Wendy Darling, is complex, especially after everything they went through with Neverland. The three characters meet when they begin to investigate a monster haunting London, which brings them all to face Neverland again.

One main issue with this novel is that it is not really marketed as a sequel nor is it written completely as a sequel yet, for me, it is a continuation of Wendy, Darling and this should be a duology. Due to this disconnect, I believe this could change how the reader relates to the story. The story focuses on James and Jane, mainly, with some Wendy, so it was nice to see the continuation of Jane and Wendy trying to navigate the tension that exists between them. The characters made a very interesting team and I enjoyed how they came together to try and defeat the monster and deal with their past experiences in Neverland. Overall, this was an interesting story, and I would read more from the author.

**I want to give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Titan Books, for a review copy of this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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