(The Untold Stories of Neverland, Book 1)
AGE 15+ DUE TO MILD LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE
Neverland has always been their sanctuary—until now.
Magic is dying in Neverland. Only one pixie is brave enough to search the human world for someone to believe. Tink finds a desolate boy flying in the night, peering in windows, searching for the life he once knew. But can she convince him to abandon his quest and save Neverland?
Discover the untold story of the boy destined to become Peter Pan.
THE TINY PIXIE flew over the dark rooftops to the crumbling tower in the center of the town. Zipping to the top, she chose her usual spot and greeted the gargoyle perched on the edge of the roof. Taking one final look to make sure she had the best view, she plopped down on the tip of the monster’s nose and settled in to watch the boy fly from house to house.
Back and forth, from one window to the next he flew, staying at each only long enough to peer through the panes of glass…searching…
At least he was taking his task seriously, she decided, watching him raise up on his toes in an effort to gain a better look inside one darkened, upstairs room. Some guardians were lazy, but this one was not, which was just as well, she noted, as the small, shadowy figure of a child exited through the window and joined him. A few seconds later, the two flew off into the night sky. The children of humans could be a handful—the ghosts of them even more so, especially when they realized they were no longer among the living. It only made sense to appoint another child to deal with their sorrow and accompany their spirits to the other side.
The source of her attention currently gone, the pixie idly kicked into the open air. Small bits of dust sprinkled each time her feet touched the open mouth of the monster she’d been making a seat of. She glanced down, noticing his bottom teeth now sparkled like gold in the moonlight, giving him an even more ferocious look.
The poor thing looked dreadful, with long curling teeth and bulging eyes—nothing at all like her own pretty, golden self. She gave him a bright smile. Likely, that was the only kindness ever given the monster forever stuck up here on the edge of this roof, so she reached down and gave his hard cheek an affectionate pat before turning her attention back to the sprawling town below. After all, she hadn’t come to save this monster. She’d come for the boy and soon he would need her—but not nearly as much as she needed him.
Wow… That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this novella.
I will admit that I have never read the original Peter Pan although I have read children’s books based on the original. I have seen Disney’s animated version as well as the sequel and the Tinkerbell moviews, Hook starring Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman, and the the musical version with Mary Martin more times than I can count. (I actually have them memorized and usually annoy those that watch it with me.) I have also watched the 2003 movie Peter Pan with Jeremy Sumpter and the newer musical with Allison Williams, AND I have the newest movie Pan with Hugh Jackman on my to be watched list. As you can see, I have always loved the story of the mischievous boy who never wanted to grow up and the tales of his world.
While I have come across the theory that Peter Pan was some sort of reaper charged with taking children’s souls when they died, this is the first time I read a story that used this particular version of the tale. Even though, it gave a melancholic back story for Peter, it was beautifully written. I was completely enchanted by every heartbreaking detail. Thompson goes even further and gives Peter characteristics not usually associated with his carefree nature turning Peter Pan into a far more complex character than any other adaptation I’ve seen.
I absolutely loved the way the details of Peter’s existence were chronicled. Everything that happened, each event and decision shaped the character that eventually took the name Pan. I enjoyed the clever way the author explained why Peter called the fairy Tink and why the lost boys had names like Patch and Toodles. This creative backstory of Peter Pan makes me look at the story in a whole new light.
Now, the story centers on Peter but comes more from Tink’s perspective. The pixies in Neverland need someone to believe in them if they are going to survive. She takes it upon herself to find a way to save them and restore their magic and thus brings Peter to Neverland. From there, the story unfolds and takes on a life of its own providing a new take on a beloved classic. It is amazing to see a story so well constructed that it makes you consider aspects to the story you’ve never thought about before.
The characters are wonderfully depicted and the story sucked me in and wouldn’t let go. This is definitely a 5-Star read. I am in love with the world Thompson has created and I cannot wait to see what other adventures await!
(The Untold Stories of Neverland, Book 1)
AGE 15+ DUE TO MILD LANGUAGE AND VIOLENCE
Archie Jameson sat in the dark corners of the print shop, dreaming of adventure.
Today, it found him.
Caught in a chilly October storm, he ducked into a tavern, hoping to escape the rain. What he found, was a room teeming with pirates. Shanghaied by the most elderly of the lot, Archie found himself serving on a ship captained by the fiercest pirate ever to sail the seven seas—the man known as Blackbeard.
Through a series of thrilling twists, Archie finds himself captain of another of Blackbeard’s ships, the Jolig Roger. In an attempt to flee danger, his ship becomes lost under stars never before seen.
Determined to save both his crew and the woman he loves, Archie will make decisions that will forever seal his fate.
Discover the untold story of the man who became Captain Hook.
AN ETERNITY PASSED before Big Ben tolled five bells. They were heavenly peals to Archibald Jameson, who began to wonder if time had somehow gotten stuck or if the gigantic clock across the square was broken. Stretching out his long legs, he stood up from the desk and scooted around the corner, taking care not to bump the towering mountain of paper at the edge. Naturally, it was the largest stack in the entire room—the work that he had yet to finish. If he was even a fraction as meticulous a man as his father—the very man who left him the shop—he would have stayed, locked the front door, and remained into the wee hours to finish the work, however long it should take.
But he was not his father, and he had no intention of pretending to be so. While he was very good at running the print shop, it wasn’t something he enjoyed. It was only what he must do to ensure his survival. Remaining any longer than necessary just wasn’t going to happen as far as Archie was concerned. His inheritance should have been a blessing since he was the youngest of four sons. Without the steady work the shop provided, he might as well have lived out on the street, begging for what scraps could be found. To him, the feel of the paper and smell of ink felt like a prison where he was trapped day in and out. His only release came in daydreams. As he pondered another life or another world, the work piled up before him. He spent hours upon hours each day, dreaming of adventure, of places and people that always made those in his life seem dull in comparison. Those daydreams made his life bearable.
But even the daydreams wouldn’t hold him there once Big Ben chimed its fifth peal. He never stayed a second longer than required.
He blew out lamps and turned over the sign in the window, then pulled on his frayed, black frock. He took one last glance around, then slapped on his hat and stepped outside. Chilly air greeted him as he pulled the door shut, listening to the muted sounds of the doorbell. He turned the key in the lock and jiggled the knob.
Odd, he thought. The tinkling sounds he heard earlier sounded nothing at all like the brass bell on the frame of that door. Odd, indeed. Perhaps it was the remnants of his latest daydream, for the door had never sounded that way before. Still pondering the bell, he turned and rammed directly into a young boy, who let out an audible oof, as he landed on the side of the street.
“I do beg your pardon,” Archie said, offering both his apologies and his hand to help the boy up. The lad flashed a smile, showing a unique set of small, pearly white teeth, before he took Archie’s proffered hand and replied, “Quite alright.” Without waiting for Archie to say anything more, the boy took off, disappearing around the bend.
Hunching over against the cold wind that sent leaves dancing about his legs, Archie shoved his hands deep into his pockets, and made his way down the bricked street, no longer in the rush he was in moments before.
“Mary, I don’t see how we can afford to keep her.” The booming voice was startling. Archie glanced up at a window, which was open in spite of the chill. “Let’s see, two pounds nineteen…”
“Now, Mary, hold on a moment. I have the tally right here. Do you think we might try it for half a year on say, five five three? Only half the year, mind you. Oh, drat, I forgot to figure in colic.”
The voice of the man and his wife argued back and forth as Archibald stood, rooted in place, wondering at their strange conversation. As this was his normal route home, he walked by No. 27 every evening. He half-hoped this financial dispute might possibly involve their dog. If it did, he would be more than willing to step up and offer to solve their financial dilemma. He lived alone and the thought of the trim Newfoundland he had seen carrying in bottles of milk from the front steps bolstered his spirits.
The talk of colic, however, kept him from knocking on the front door.
“Shall we say one pound? Yes, that is what I’ll put down. But what of mumps? I’ve heard that can be quite taxing. I daresay that should be twenty shillings there. Don’t give me that look, Mary.”
It was at this point a sharp cry of an infant pierced their conversation and Archibald was quite certain that Nana the Newfoundland was most assuredly not the topic of money, colic, mumps, and their current distraught state. He shook his head, wondering about the sanity of the Darlings in No. 27 as the silhouette of a woman he presumed to be Mary shut the window and the voices muted.
Poor Nana, Archibald thought, to be stuck with people such as that.
He didn’t even want to think about the child whose fate rested on the odds of her contracting whooping-cough and so he openly wished the inhabitants of No. 27 would not be so lucky as to have any additional offspring. He voiced exactly that, and in that same instant, heard that funny peal of bells again. This time it sounded suspiciously like laughter.
He spun around, searching for the source, and saw only a crone of an old woman who stepped out of No. 31. She heard his wish and obviously didn’t agree with his rather bold assessment. Archie was fairly sure she hadn’t laughed a day since she had been born, and moreover, he was absolutely certain that glorious day of her arrival had been at least a century earlier.
“Well,” she puffed up, looking much like a wrinkled, ancient bullfrog before she croaked, “I never!”
“Yes, madam. I should hope for precisely never as it seems the most promising period of time,” he smiled and bent, giving her an elaborately low bow to thank her for her agreement. “For to wish them more mouths to feed, when one seems to be their undoing, would be bad form, indeed.”
The old woman gaped at him, mouth working like a fish out of water. Then, she clamped it shut in a fierce scowl, and proceeded to slam the door with as much vigor as her frail limbs could muster.
Archibald smiled to himself, silently touching the brim of his hat in mock farewell before he spun, leaving the occupants of both No. 27 and No. 31 to their own devices and ignorance. He continued his stroll down the street in much better spirits, knowing that he bested the old woman and possibly even the Darlings without their even knowing it, though he was certain his sentiments would most certainly be relayed by their overly observant neighbor.
Ah, well. They should have known better than to trifle with something such as a child. A small victory, certainly, but victory nonetheless if it caused them to think of someone other than themselves.
The breeze picked up and proceeded to burst insistent, frigid puffs that threatened to dislodge his hat. He clamped one hand on top, squishing it down around his lean face as he resolutely lengthened his stride and marched on, determined to make it home before the storm set in.
He’d almost made it to the corner, to the place where he normally made the left on N. Westburl, and then a right onto 43rd, followed by a various assortment of other long deviations that would get him safely home, when a large crack of thunder shook the air. He decided that just this once he might consider taking the most direct route, albeit dangerous, foreboding, and possibly life-threatening. He stopped right on the bend of the street, uncertain for a fleeting moment, until the next jolting crack of thunder made up his mind for him. He headed straight along Market Street, which followed the length of the Thames River, hoping that the seedy individuals who lurked around the pier were as mindful of the storm as he, and would not cause him trouble on this particular evening, for even though he was quick-witted and could talk himself out of most troubles, sailors tended to be a harder breed of people. They were a sharp and cunning lot, and Archie did not know if he could outsmart anyone else that day, and didn’t wish to press his luck.
He made it past the pier, hesitating just long enough to glance at the small boats tied to the dock. There were obviously people about, and so far he had been lucky enough not to encounter any of them.
But one final ground-shaking crack and the tinkling sound of bells changed it all. The clouds overhead clashed and he ran for the shelter of a nearby tavern, barely escaping the torrent of rain.
Archie had never been in The Captain’s Keg before. He stopped just inside the door and let his eyes adjust to the dark, smoke-filled room. He realized that not only had he run into the very people he wished to avoid, but that he also had a new problem.
These men weren’t just sailors.
He was ready to run back out and take his chances of drowning in the street, when he heard the same tinkling of bells from earlier. This time, it sounded like mocking laughter.
Well. He might very well be losing his mind, but a coward he was not.
He straightened to his full height—all six feet and four inches of it—and removed his crumpled hat with a flourish, tucking it under his arm. He walked proudly down the three steps that led into the heart of the tavern—to a bar, teeming with pirates.
I thought that Pan was brilliant but Hook blew it out of the water.
This one is much longer than Pan and it chronicles the events that lead a man named Archie to become the infamous Captain Hook. Similar to the movie Maleficent, it shows the villain doesn’t necessarily start out evil and just maybe there is more to them than just being bad.
It takes a great amount of talent to make a reader feel sympathy for a character that has always been portrayed in a negative light Thompson not only made me feel sympathy for the villain but I fell in love with the man who became Hook. She gave the scourge of Neverland an incredible backstory filled with familiar characters like Smee and Tinkerbell and also some unexpected ones including Blackbeard. Through twists of fate, Archie goes from printer to pirate to captain before finding himself on the coast of an island that will forever change him.
The story was riveting; I honestly could not put it down. It definitely earned a 5-star rating. One of my favorite things about the book is the clever way the author constructed the story by taking creative liberties with the details. In this story, the man I’ve always heard called Captain James Hook started life as Archibald Jameson and he worked a mundane job that he hated. Then there is Hook’s ship, the Jolly Roger, which was a Dutch ship named the Jolig Roger (same pronunciation just a different spelling) which was originally captured by Blackbeard. Hook’s wasn’t the only name the author played with; Smee is a shortened version of the surname of the ship’s surgeon and Tiger Lily is a name given to the Indian girl because Archie knew he couldn’t remember her real name. These are just a few ways the way the author worked the the tale around familiar details from the story. Everything from names to how a ship of pirates and a tribe of Indians ended up on Neverland was cleverly woven into this tale.
I am thoroughly impressed with these first stories and I look forward to reading more about Neverland’s inhabitants. I will be watching for more of The Untold Stories of Neverland series.
K.R. Thompson was raised in the mountains of rural Virginia. She resides in Bland County with her husband, son, two cats and an undeterminable amount of chickens. She is an avid reader, firm believer of magic, and still watches for evidence of Bigfoot in the mud of Wolf Creek.