I have been tempted nearly the entire time I've been listening to this book to give it a 1. However, when I pause to think about all the 1-stars I'veI have been tempted nearly the entire time I've been listening to this book to give it a 1. However, when I pause to think about all the 1-stars I've given and why, I have to bump this up to a 2; because it wasn't as bad as the ones condemned to the bottom of the shelf. That said, it had so much potential, and simply did not deliver. There are only a couple Pros to this story, and the Cons kept beating them down. Let me elaborate (I'll try to balance them out):
Con - Get this... you never even get to Neverland!! That deserve more exclamation points, but I'll hold back. As a prequel to the Peter Pan story, this needs Neverland! But it's only mentioned a handful of times throughout the entire thing, and never realized. It's a dream of James', to find this island where he can rule and be immortal and such, but he doesn't even seem terribly motivated. Or at least not motivated enough. By the end of the story, he has a ship. He's going to try and find the island. Not good enough. We as an audience deserve to see this search. We deserve a conclusion! Not some "Oh, now that I can sail the seas openly and have these bizarre instructions to follow a blue star in Lyra, I think I will." And that's on the last page. Come on. So much wasted time in this piece, so much. Con - The aforementioned wasted time. This is labeled as the "Adventures of a Notorious Youth." What adventures? He goes to school, gets bullied slightly, plays the longest rugby match in the world, gets a little moony over a Sultana, wastes too much time with that lost cause, and verbally duals multiple people. It was a Snark War. I don't mind a bit of snarkiness. But when dialogue is all snark, it gets old really fast. And it was 90% of the characters, not just James. Ever read a book and wonder how someone managed to say so little with so many words? Yeah.
Pro - Here is basically the sole redeemer of this book. James' character and his growth. He wasn't perfect, and that was a good thing. He came into the school quite a sheltered know-it-all, but being around different types of people helped shape his character and his decisions. He warms while holding onto his inner coldness. And even though some of his decisions were poor ones, he learns from them. He also made a few badass ones, I admit. That whole guillotine thing had me on edge and I liked it! I may not have liked him terribly during the whole Sultana thing. But hey, he never really interacted with girls before, he was allowed to be stupid. And he was not one bit afraid to stand up for what he believed in, and that made him admirable. Pro - The message of the power of friendship. If James didn't have Jolly Roger in this story, I don't think it would have been acceptable. It gave meaning to both the boy's actions and showed readers how life-changing a good friend can be. James' having someone to rely on, when everybody else didn't even bother to get to know him and read the label of Bastard, gave him something to fight for. And Roger was indeed loyal, if not a bit puppy-ish. They were great friends.
So, even though I feel it could have been a lot better, it could have also been worse. I think I would actually enjoy a sequel to fill in the adventure it was sorely missing. Let's have James find the island. Let's see how he actually became the man we know from Peter Pan. He's such an interesting character, but didn't have the proper moment to shine. ...more