Okay, this was supposed to be a light/fun read... What. Just. Happened?!
Upon reflection I did change my initial review to 4 stars instead of 5 for some really small nit-picky things, but all in all I was REALLY SURPRISED by how much I really enjoyed this book. It was light and fun, I was able to listen to this audiobook while toting my not quite two year old in the car with me and not be concerned over the subject material, but it was so much more than that.
The way the author aged this story up was brilliant. The relationships between Michael, John, and Wendy as they were 'brothers in arms' instead of just brothers and Captain Hook was an ACTUAL captain and Wendy's superior officer made the dynamics of this unexpected origin story something truly magical. We get to keep the integrity of the story we love while exploring it with fresh new eyes. Truly well done.
Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the conversational tone of this book. It's conversational, yes. But it's Victorian-era conversational. Not only is this incredibly hard to do, it's also impressive as hell and leads to a really immersive and satisfying narrative. Especially if you also love classics from authors like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, etc. This is a really great in-between, mixing childhood favorites, historical realism, and setting it against the backdrop of a sweeping YA fantasy world.
I did think that they painted Wendy as a bit of a Mary Sue, she's good at everything, ridiculously beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that every male character seemed ready to propose marriage and be in love with her and completely obsessed with her very quickly. Even Hook, who IS the antagonist of this story winds up fixated on her in his own dangerous way. So, that's why it lost that last star.
All-in-all I'm excited to keep going with the series and much more surprised I hadn't heard anything about it until now. It was quite by accident that I discovered it and I'm really glad that I did.
Second to the right, and straight on till morning!