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The Child Thief

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  10,172 Ratings  ·  1,565 Reviews
Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief—and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is not Neverland.
Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now t
Hardcover, 476 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Harper Voyager
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Karen Not as dark as I anticipated. I was hesitant to read it, but I love Peter Pan and Arthurian legend, so I went for it. Don't get me wrong, there was…moreNot as dark as I anticipated. I was hesitant to read it, but I love Peter Pan and Arthurian legend, so I went for it. Don't get me wrong, there was definitely some explicit gore and major moral ambiguity, and I certainly wouldn't let my 11 year old read it. Having said that, I thought it was fantastic and thought provoking. Not as gruesome or dark as say, George RR Martin's stuff. Plus, the illustrations are phenomenal and just add to the story. Definitely check those out prior to/while you're reading.(less)
Ayanna At one point in the book the author mentions a "Wendilyn" when talking about Peter's previous encounters.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
121st out of 1,943 books — 7,802 voters
Hush, Hush by Becca FitzpatrickFallen by Lauren KateShiver by Maggie StiefvaterPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-SmithCity of Glass by Cassandra Clare
Best Book Cover 2009
82nd out of 317 books — 3,039 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily May
Jul 11, 2015 Emily May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of DARK retellings
If the girl could only have spoken to the other boys and girls, the ones that had followed the golden-eyed boy before her, she would have known that there is always something left to lose.

This is a story you know - in a way. You remember how it goes, right? A boy called Peter appears to children and promises to take them to a better place, a place where they will never grow up and never get old. Of course we all know this story. But... what if it wasn't all that it seemed? What if Peter held

This is a MUST...READ...ALERT fellow Goodreaders. Not only is this a gorgeously imagined and supertastically crafted retelling/reimagining/expansion of Peter Pan, but it's also hands down, down, down the BEST version I have ever experienced…which, no offense to James Barrie, includes the original.

This is a fantasy master-piece and has earned a prominent place on my list of all time favorite novels. This is not to be missed.

Before I stumble further into the puddle of gush I’m dripping, you shou
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE)

This retelling brilliantly succeeds in going to the very core of what gives this heartbreaking feeling to Peter Pan : The raw loneliness of the Lost Boys, and the ambiguity of Peter : a hero, you think? Really?

Well now. There's no such thing as a hero in this book, and it was fantastic. What is it with anti-heroes that captivates me so much?

"The thief saw the fear, the confusion, and he smiled.
What had led this child here : abuse, neglect, molestation? All of the above perhaps? It really did
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
May 01, 2013 Kat (Lost in Neverland) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who are not affected by heavy gore and swearing
When you think of Peter Pan, you think of;


Or maybe;


The Child Thief has none of that. None at all.

Upon finishing The Child Thief, I had an overwhelming urge, as if by magic, to go outside and play.

So outside I ran, no shoes, completely barefoot, ran around in the grass, jumped high on the trampoline, feeling invigorated. My hair flew like it had a mind of its own, I could feel my hands and feet getting dirtier by the second; but I didn't care. Out of breath, I collapsed onto the trampoline, hair
Dan Schwent
Feb 23, 2011 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A runaway named Nick is fleeing the wrath of a drug dealer when he runs into an odd boy named Peter. Peter saves Nick and takes him to Avalon, recruiting him into gang of nearly feral boys called The Devils. With Nick's help, can the Devils overcome the Flesh Eaters, the transformed men who defile and destroy Avalon?

I picked this up because I'm interested in the unsanitized versions of familiar fairy tales. It turns out Brom is, too. Like a lot of people, I was familiar with Brom's art when I pi
Chantal  (Every Word A Doorway)
"The darkness is calling. A little danger, a little risk. Feel your heart race. Listen to it. That’s the sound of being alive. It’s your time, Nick. Your one chance to have fun before it’s all stolen by them, the adults, with their cruelty and endless rules, their can’t-do-this, and can’t-do-that’s, their have-tos, and better-dos, their little boxes and cages all designed to break your spirit, to kill your magic".

Buddy read with Nina (Click for her review).

I loved it. I loved it. I loved it.
Richard Derus
Rating: 5* of five

I can't praise THE CHILD THIEF highly enough. I read it several Christmases ago at the behest of a graphic-novel loving friend and, in spite of hating comic books and disliking the work necessary to decode them, I took a chance on this book.

1) Not a graphic novel.
3) Read the revised review at my blog.

Why make money for people who don't respect my data, except as they can profit from it?
Natalie Monroe
"In a small corner of Prospect Park, in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, a thief lay hidden in the trees. This thief wasn't searching for an unattended purse, cell phone, or camera. This thief was looking for a child."

THIS. This is how you start a book. This is how you grab my attention, keep me reading through lectures, ignore my duties, and instill a burning need to search up The Child Thief fanfiction ASAP. Because I have to know what happens next. And once writers grab you by the have-to
Final rating: 6/5 stars

“Don't let them win. Don't let them beat you. Don't let them steal your magic.”

Oh my god. What a book.

What a fantastic-twisted-sadistic-manipulative story of Peter Pan....But it's nothing like the Peter Pan i knew.

This story is so dark, very very dark, and even though i read some dark books, they were nothing like this. Some may even want to throw something out of the window (like i did with poor pencil) after they finish the book.

And i have to say one thing - my c
Vane J.
Aug 31, 2015 Vane J. rated it it was amazing

This review was also posted on Books With Chemistry.

In a small corner of Prospect Park, in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, a thief lay hidden in the trees. This thief wasn’t searching for an unattended purse, cell phone, or camera. This thief was looking for a child.

I think you all know I’m a girl with a twisted mind. The dark, gory, pessimistic and disturbing things fascinate me to no end. That is not something new. Since a kid, I was pretty cynic. It is no surprise then to say I always saw
Someone needs to add some words to the English language so that I can accurately express my feelings towards this book. But, alas, I'm stuck with the boundaries that this language limits me too, so I will work with this.

There is a certain kind of magnificence that can only be possessed by the darkest of things. While a flower my look pretty, a concert may be exciting, a roller coaster may be thrilling, they don't have the power to change your life and convert your way of thinking like this book
Will Byrnes
Jun 10, 2015 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
$1.99 on kindle 9/8/2016. I don't care for Peter Pan that much but I have heard good things about this book and it's cheap :-)
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
4.5 stars

“If you don't learn to laugh at life it'll surely kill you, that I know.”

Was a group read with Novel Books and Reading Challenges

The most curious question is, how could I have not heard about this book before it was announced as a group read? Apparently it's well liked, artful, tastefully twisted, a modern day play on the old lore of Peter Pan (which I already find fascinating). It's almost a criminal shame this hadn't hit my radar until recently.

It's clear to see from the blurb and div
"And the stars winked back, for Peter's smile is a most contagious thing.”

Peter Pan's story is one of my favorites,so I was really excited to read this book. I was looking forward to see how the author had created the whole story of Peter Pan into something very dark,because after reading the first few pages,I knew that this book wasn't like the original version.

I was surprised with how a fairy tale could turn so creepy and horrifying,because believe me,this book was terrifying.There were a
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Oct 19, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2009, cover-love
In the seedy underbelly of New York and Boston, children are being neglected, abused, molested, beaten up and forced to run away from home. These vulnerable, unloved children are not entirely alone. Watching from the trees and shadows and fire escapes is a wild, charismatic half-fae boy called Peter. He rescues them from abusive parents, from street gangs and from the hardships of their world, and offers them the chance to live in paradise, to play games with other children and never have to gro ...more
6.0 stars. This one goes on my "select" list of 6.0 star books and my list of all-time favorites. See my expanded review here. I absolutely loved this book from beginning to end. Dark, disturbing and beautifully written with breath-taking pictures that truly enhance the reading experience. Highest possible recommendation.

Revised, expanded review

Jan 18, 2012 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2011
I don't know how I feel about this book.

As a child fairy tales creeped me out. Who wouldn't be with wolves killing and eating grandmas, people being shoved in ovens, talking pigs.....wooden boys.....eek. I wasn't even fond of Santa.

So it shouldn't have been any surprise to me that I wasn't all that in love with this book. It was well written and I understood the concept, but I just couldn't bring myself to like it. This part (view spoiler)
Nov 18, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing
I deeply admire this book. It is brilliant, dark, stunning, imaginative . . . all those adjectives people throw around when reviewing great books. And this is a great book. Absolutely wonderful.
Alicia O'Carrick

“It’s at a secret place. An enchanted island. No grown-ups allowed. It’s full of faeries, goblins, and trolls. We stay up as late as we want. No teachers or parents to tell us what to do. We don’t have to take baths, brush our teeth, or make our beds. We play with spears and swords, and sometimes,” he lowered his voice, “we fight monsters.

When I was little…I was in love with Peter Pan. But I had only the Disney version of it; I didn’t realize how horrifying, how bloody and epic the original wa
May 24, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mark by: Stephen
Having listened to 'Little White bird ' on the radio a few weeks ago I realized that Mr Barrie was not a gentlemen i would have allowed anywhere near any of my children if i had any. One very weird and odd man. This book takes his character of Peter Pan and wraps around him an incredible tale running back and forth through history sweeping up in his wake ancient druidic struggles against 'modern' belief, legend and myth, history and the modern day. We follow the Child Thief in his 'collecting ' ...more
Oct 03, 2016 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2016
Okay, it’s unpopular opinion time, as I go against the 5-star flow for this book.

3 stars, and I’m being generous.

"The Child Thief" is an original take on the Peter Pan story, complete with outstanding illustrations by the author (who is also an artist, apparently) at the start of every chapter. The story itself is very dark and brooding; even early on, somehow I knew not to expect a happy ending.

I’m not going to reiterate the plot; read the blurb for yourself. But just know ahead of time that th
Li Seagull
May 14, 2012 Li Seagull rated it it was amazing



This book BLEEDS awesome. Why oh why oh why oh why did I not find it sooner. (Thanks to Demo for telling me to. And thanks to Hyacinthe for having a copy and stuff.)

So, like, I have pretty much no complaints or regrets regarding this book. The prose is, like, fucking poetry (and, I must say, a
Sep 20, 2012 MLE rated it really liked it
Shelves: yad
Beautifully dark, and lyrical this felt like the story Peter Pan was meant to be to me. I love the moral complexity, and ambiguity to this re-imagning. The use of traditonal mythology is effective, and true to the old tales.
Aug 21, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I was expecting when I started reading this book was a Peter Pan retelling. What I wasn't expecting was a horrifically dark and thrilling masterpiece.

This ain't no children's story!!! I will not be reading this one to my kids at night!
Our story, like all peter pan stories, begins at a child's windowsill. Peter coaxes a poor child to follow him to Neverland (Avalon), with promises of taking her away from her wretched life and never grow old. But Peter is not exactly the fun loving Peter Pan
Aug 19, 2015 Brian rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Brian by: Richard Derus
Shelves: read-to-wife
FanFic pulled off, picture perfect.

If you take the Peter Pan story away from Disney, peanut butter and Sandy Duncan and give it the sharp nails it should have, this is what you get. I love what Brom does here - he writes like he doesn't give a shit if he's shattering all of your childhood images of Neverland and Tinkerbell. He's got it floored the whole way through and knows we just passed that sign that says Bridge Out.

I wish Papa (Richard) was still active on GR so that I could give him the pr
Feb 09, 2016 Megan rated it it was amazing
10/5 STARS

“Ever the contradiction, Tangnost thought. One moment a cold-hearted killer, the next a sentimental boy, always the eternal optimist despite a lifetime of tragedy. Of course, that’s his glamour. The very thing that draws the children to him, that make them love him despite so many contradictions.” (p.239)

This has easily become one of my favorite books ever. EVER. Why hasn’t someone forced me to read this before now, why isn’t this 7 books long with movie adaptations and an animated spi
Jubilation Lee
Y’all, I love me some Peter Pan. Mary Martin, Disney, Finding Neverland, that film that came out ten years or so ago and made me feel super awkward because I definitely shouldn’t crush on a fourteen-year-old… I adore it all.

Waaaah, guilty as chaaaaarged!!

But anyone who has ever read the original Peter Pan will totally agree with our author’s feeling that Peter’s a little on the Creepy As Hell side.

Brom specifically notes the part where, when the Lost Boys start to grow up a little, or there get
Nope, that sale ended. Boo.


Oh, what a deal. This fantastically dark, beautiful novel is on sale for Kindle for only $1.99. Get yours now.


Dammit, I've been thinking about this book ever since I finished it. I can't get it out of my head. It's haunting me. And you know what? A book that sticks with me that much deserves those five stars, so it's getting them.

Be aware, though, dear reader, that I cannot vouch for your sanity or ability to sleep once you've read it.

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Gerald Brom is an American gothic fantasy artist and illustrator. Brought up as a military dependent he was known by his last name only, and now signs his name as simply Brom.

An Army brat, Brom spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories he has been obsessed with the creat
More about Brom...

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“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.” 295 likes
“If you don't learn to laugh at life it'll surely kill you, that I know.” 174 likes
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