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Alias Hook

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"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan's rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella's knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook's last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

353 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2013

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About the author

Lisa Jensen

5 books193 followers
I've painted pottery, sold movie tickets and books, drawn cartoons, and hand-crafted fabric dolls. Now I get to write full-time; the hours are flexible and there's no dress code. My movie reviews appear on Rotten Tomatoes. My novel, "Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge," came out in 2018, from Candlewick. My historical/fantasy "Alias Hook," was published by Thomas Dunne Books in July, 2014. My historical pirate novel, "The Witch From the Sea," was published in 2001. Visit me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lisa-Jensen-...

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 557 reviews
509 reviews2,413 followers
August 6, 2016
Have you ever wondered what the fuck happened to Captain Hook after the crocodile ate him? You'll find out when you read Alias Hook. But let me tease you a bit--Hook doesn't die...

We all know Hook as that little fucker who likes to ruin all the fun. But if there's one thing that'll change after you read this book, it'll be your view on this guy. Lisa Jensen portrayed him in a different light. We're shown a softer side of him--the side that cares about the past lives of his crew members; the side that can't seem to stop thinking about all the what ifs.

Alias Hook gives us a whimsical, romantic take on the story of Captain Hook. Magic was everywhere, and so were regret, confusion, love, and all these feelings that're new to Hook. It was absolutely fantastic to see his view of the world change, all because of this girl that magically plunked into Neverland uninvited.

Hook and the mortal woman Stella were adorable together. Okay, fine, the romantic pacing wasn't as clean as it could've been. There was this one part where I went, HOLD YOUR HORSES--SLOW THE FUCK DOWN! but after that, it was smooth sailing and I was grinning at their cute and awkward interactions.

The story itself was incredibly fascinating--we're given a chance to view Neverland from another perspective, aside from JM Barrie's. The mermaids were different; Peter Pan himself was very different; everything was new and shiny! It was slow at first, when we were just getting to know Hook, but around the halfway mark I found myself flipping page after page, wanting to get more and more substance from the book.

Another little qualm I had was the writing. Lisa Jensen's prose isn't bad--in fact, it's totally eloquent and elegant... which is just not my kind of thing, personally. I guess you could say I'm a shallow reader, and there were a lot of times where I had to go back a few pages to remind myself of what was happening. I'm not sure if the writing's really hard to get into, or I just have a really short attention span.

Overall, I would still recommend Alias Hook to anyone looking for a different take on Hook's story--one with a swashbuckling hero, a fierce maiden, and lots of magic. That's you, by the way.

Deadly Darlings | The Social Potato | The Book Geek | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for Anne.
4,060 reviews69.5k followers
June 17, 2014
Also reviewed for Addicted2Heroines

So what if Peter Pan wasn't really as cute as the stories made him out to be?
What if he had traded his real life for eternal youth, and now he was just a brat who wouldn't grow up?
Well, a powerful brat who rules the land of children's dreams.
Have you ever seen what happens to little boys who have no adult supervision?!
They go feral rather quickly.
Goodbye, soap and water! Hello, property destruction!
If you've had kids, been around kids, or even just remember what it was like to be a kid, then you also know that children can be incredibly cruel. Mainly, because they have no idea what the word consequences means.
Their saving grace is that they're adorable when they sleep...
Growing up is good. You learn (hopefully) that you are not the center of the universe, that no one is obligated to make you happy, and that you need to take other people's feelings into consideration.
Can you imagine what would become of a boy who had stayed a child for thousands of years?
Yeah. So, Pan is just a bloodthirsty tyrant who still has all of his baby teeth.

And Hook?
What if he were a big bad pirate back in the day? And what if he pissed off the wrong woman?
Oh, let's say...some powerful voodoo priestess?
And what if she decided he needed to learn a lesson, no matter how long it took?
So now he's trapped in a hell called Neverland. Doomed to die over and over again, with no end in sight. His crew is made up of Lost Boys who grew up, and Hook knows nothing he does will save them.
Because the Boy needs evil pirates to battle.

But what about the Wendys?
Well, they never return to Neverland...right?

Alias Hook has a really great premise that was well thought out. I loved how the author turned the original story on it's ear, and then made me question why in the world I ever thought the idea of eternal youth would be cute. It was very interesting revisiting all of the characters I thought I knew, and then see them painted in a different light.
Why only three stars?
Two reasons.
One, I thought I would never finish it. Parts of the story were slow and drug on too much for my taste. I know that's not going to be a problem for everyone, because some readers like to take their time with a book. So, if you like stories with a lot of meaty character introspection, then this will be right up your alley.
Two, I didn't like Hook. I mean, he had a few decent qualities, and he wasn't a cackling villain, but...
That whole rapey/pillagey past he had? Ehhh. Not so much with the liking.
Yeah, yeah, I get it. He grows as a person throughout the book.
I just couldn't get past his...well, past .

On the whole, I'd say it was an interesting look at an old story, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for an adult retelling of Peter Pan.

Thank you NetGalley!
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
January 4, 2016
This was such an exciting, interesting book! I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book and I really liked it. Instead of being a full blown retelling, Hook exists alongside the original story of Peter Pan. Hook is more of the "real" story where Peter isn't a protagonist nor is he a hero. I really liked how this story didn't have a black and white view of good and bad. Neither Peter not Hook was the good guy. Both of them are villains, one more so than the other, but still villains.
I loved the writing style of this book. It was so beautiful and unique.
I really liked the character development from both Hook and Stella. I really liked their relationship as well.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The writing and characters were great and I really liked seeing a very different take on Neverland.
Profile Image for Allison.
554 reviews575 followers
September 10, 2017
4.5 Stars. I didn't love this quite as much as some of my other 5 star books, but it was so much better than many that I’ve rated 4 stars. Days after finishing, I'm still looking back and thinking, wow that was good, so I'm going to round up to 5 stars.

Alias Hook was a fantastic re-imagining of Peter Pan. I absolutely loved it. It's not just a retelling or a fleshing out of the original tale, but completely turns the whole legend on its head. Jensen turned everything around in such a believable way. I feel like she thought of everything, the picture was so complete. I felt like I was in Neverland, and this was the true story of Peter Pan. It's so well done, so realistic, and the flipped take on the old story makes so much sense when you're looking at everything from an adult's perspective.

Neverland still feels magical, because it's still a fantastic place full of magic and legends like mermaids, fairies, and pirates. But it also feels real, treacherous and sad, with everything subject to the whim of a cruel boy who can never grow up. I can still see many of the scenes in my head, the world is so lushly described.

The story is told from the perspective of Captain Hook. He is a weary, desperate man under a curse that forces him to play his part as the adult villain in Neverland. He has been killed by Peter many times, but can never die, never find release from this endless childhood and endless parade of children who consider killing him and his men the best kind of sport. Now something in Neverland is finally changing, and Hook may finally have a chance to escape the curse if he can only figure out what the chance is before it's too late.

The idea of how Neverland works, with the Lost Boys and Wendies always changing, but Hook and Peter staying the same, was intriguing. I instantly felt sympathy for this man who may have started out a real pirate and a ruthless rogue, but who never deserved the 200 years of torment that he's endured under Peter Pan's tyranny. The story of how Hook got to Neverland, how his hand was lost, and of all of the losses over the years that gradually wearied him of this game of war and death, appealed to me right away. And I hated Peter immediately too, that ruthless, almost insane goblin of a child. I’m happy to say, I got exactly what I wanted for Hook out of this tale, and actually gained a measure of pity for Peter by the end, rather than just hating him. There’s emotional complexity to it, and it’s not all just black and white like fairy tales and retellings often are.

There is some romance in the book, and there are a couple of more explicit scenes so that I would only recommend this to adults. Those scenes and the romance are probably what bring my rating down from the full 5 stars. I felt that matters turned to the physical too suddenly. I prefer emotional and sweet romances where you see how a couple falls in love rather than them deciding to jump in bed all of the sudden. So that aspect didn’t appeal to me so much. At least the two people involved talked to each other and got to know each other first, and the romance doesn’t take over the story. It does fit as part of the whole, even though it brings a more modern view of relationships into it - a minor complaint that is completely based on my preferences in this area. It’s saying a lot that this one aspect didn’t detract from my appreciation of the book much at all.

Highly recommended, especially to those who enjoy classic tales retold. This one’s a gem!

**Received free arc for review through NetGalley.com. Many thanks to the publisher for a book I probably wouldn't have picked up otherwise.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,046 followers
June 27, 2014
I picked this up ¬because I’m one of the seemingly-few people who’ve read Jensen’s previous novel, ‘Witch From the Sea,’ which was a highly entertaining historical fantasy of the swashbuckling life. Here, she continues on with the pirate theme, writing a riff on ‘Peter Pan’ from the point of view of Captain Hook.
I have to admit that I had my doubts about the premise. Stories based in another author’s world are often suspect: there are so many ways in which it can go horribly wrong. Probably due to my attitude, it took me a little while to get into the book – but then, it fully won me over.

Captain Hook, the story posits, was Captain Hookbridge – a wealthy, 17th century rake who lived a cruel and dissolute life as a privateer until the curse of a woman he’d wronged sent him into the Neverland. Trapped and unable to die, he endures endless years as the nemesis of Peter Pan that J.M. Barrie’s stories introduced us all to. But one day, the unthinkable happens – an adult woman is found in Neverland. Parrish is escaping the trauma she endured as a nurse during WWII – but no one in Neverland is prepared for what her arrival might mean.

Peter Pan is a particularly difficult story to work with, I think, because it has so much about it to love – while simultaneously being deeply problematic from a modern point of view. I feel that in ‘Alias Hook’ Jensen succeed in capturing the magic that readers such as myself remember from childhood – while simultaneously creating a romantic adventure for adults – which also has a lot to say about what it actually means to ‘grow up.’ Jensen’s message about maturity – specifically ‘manhood’ - is one that a great many people today could stand to take to heart.

As a child – Barrie’s Peter Pan worked for me. The idea of never growing up was undeniably attractive. And, as an adult, ‘Alias Hook’ worked for me. It shows the limitations (and heartlessness) of aspects of childhood [her Pan is a dangerous tyrant in all his innocence]; discusses the problems caused when people don’t learn and grow with the years, and shows the possibility of a richness to life that children have not yet glimpsed. The conclusion is sweet and satisfying, full of the possibility of healing and redemption, without being overly sentimental.

I’m glad to see that, although it might’ve taken quite a while, Jensen’s been picked up by a major publisher. Hopefully more tales of the sea will be forthcoming!

Advance copy of this book was provided by NetGalley. Many thanks for the opportunity to read - as always, my opinion is my own.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,937 reviews799 followers
October 20, 2015
It isn't you, it's me. You are a perfectly nice book and I'm sure there are lots of readers out there who will love you for the book that you are. You and I are just not meant to be.

For me Alias Hook started out quite good in the beginning but as the story progressed my interest in the story declined and it took every ounce of my being just to continue. Not that the book is badly written it wasn't just my cup of tea. The idea was great; Captain Hook, the great villain in Neverland isn't really the great villain. Instead he is stuck there, has been for 200 years, and it is Peter Pan that is the actual bad boy. Then one day a woman arrives in Neverland, why is she there? Who sent her?

The book isn't bad, I liked parts of it. I liked the idea that Hook is the victim and Peter Pan is the one that is tormenting him. How fun is there to be stuck in Neverland, immortal while the crew is mortal and Pan and his boys kill them off and new grown-ups arrive to join the crew on the ship. Not bloody fun I would imagine. But I just couldn't  commit to the story. My heart wasn't in it. And I really, really wanted to like it. Oh well, I guess not every book is for me.

The only thing working really well for me in the book was that I imagined Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook...;)

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Profile Image for Susana.
988 reviews247 followers
June 12, 2014
Another arc requested o_O

3.5 stars

Arc provided by St. Martin's Press through Netgalley

Release Date: 8th July

I was drawn to this story mostly due to this amazing synopsis.

C'mmon! Who wouldn't want to read a story in which one of "history's" famous rivals get their "social roles" switched?

So yes, when it comes to the premise of this story, this would get a five star rating.

Also, let me just say that: the quality of the writing is indisputable.

However, the grand quantity of nautical references _No, I'm not ignoring where the story takes place, and that almost all the characters are sailors _ after a while, started grating on my nerves, since the story drags quite a bit without anything of actual relevance actually happening.

Not being keen on being immersed _no pun intended _ in such a nautical language, I'll have to say that through most of this, its reading wasn't as smooth as I was hoping. But this was my experience with it, and hopefully other readers will enjoy it more than I did.

I'll even admit that this feels as the type of story that will probably improve with a couple of re-readings... especially when combined with more time and patience.

The thing is, calling this fantasy is just the tip of the iceberg. This reads as a complex narrative in which a long number of discussions are held:

When do we grow up? How do we grow up? What is the importance of myths and quests in our formative years, and so on and on...

Someone with a clearer understanding of psychology will probably have a wonderful time dissecting this story, and all its symbology.

But, for now, and keeping my feet on the ground on what I actually felt while reading this, I'll say that the way the initial narrative is told, with its switching temporal perspectives, mostly didn't work for me...

It broke the fluidity of the story, especially since Hook's background ended up being more important than the actual storyline.

Yes, both time frames are important: The past, since it formed the person he is today, and the present, to see how he has dealt with what has been happening to him.

However, Hook's character is mostly so unappealing that, at times, it ended up being a double task...

Do not get me wrong: I like being given a character's background, and considering the story's developments, it was necessary to be told. I can't however help feeling that the POVs told in the past tense should have been quite shorter in order to not clog the story.

Then when it comes to the fantasy retelling per se, I'm afraid this story lacks its own proper magic.

Yes, there are fairies, mermaids, fairy dust, flying boys, and things of the sort in it, but the language and the way the story is told is just too prosaic to actually enchant a reader.

Truth be told, after awhile, I became tired of Hook's voice and of all his angsty moments. He's sufficiently annoying as he is, without having to resort to sporadic bouts of YA drama!

Dual points of views are sometimes tricky, but in this case _maybe from Stella's POV_ it would have helped keeping things more interesting throughout the narrative.

Among the positives I liked how the author was able to connect all of the plot's "dots", until the unexpected ending.

I liked that, while I was reading it, I was basically clueless as to where this story was going to turn.

And I especially liked how the story ends...

Bottom Line: A very promising story that could probably have benefited from another editing, creating a more balanced equilibrium between the overwhelming historical feeling of it, and the fantasy genre in which it should have "swimmed".

As it is, the fantasy bit was somewhat crushed beneath the somewhat more historical facet.

Now it's up to readers' tastes ;)

Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,095 reviews665 followers
January 17, 2015
Five reasons to grab your ear-buds and listen to Alias Hook

1. The writing is simply wonderful from the way that it flowed to the vivid details of Neverland. This is meant for adults and the language can get colorful, but it also offered a unique perspective casting Hook and his crew in a whole new light.

2. Captain James Benjamin Hook. Ralph Lister did an excellent job of giving him voice and Jenson truly fleshed him out making me see this pirate in an entirely new light. Gone are the images from movies and the Disney animation. Jensen gave us his back story and I found all of the details delightful. We sees his flaws, frustrations and yes his fear of the croc.

3. Stella Parrish is a grown woman who makes her way to Neverland and forever changes James. I adored this snarky, clever woman. She says what she thinks, and it was often hilarious. Her reasons for dreaming her way to Neverland were interesting, and her role in the tale was well dome.

4. It is Neverland! There are battles with the Lost Boys, secrets, fairies and of course Peter Pan. Jensen brought the ship and island to life in vivid 3-D.

5. Alias Hook while based on Peter Pan completely stands on its own and offers a new twist on Neverland.. Lessons were learned, a romance developed, and both Jenson and Lister weaved their magic making me lose myself in the story.This review was originally posted at Caffeinated Book Reviewer
February 28, 2020
"No, it was the glee with which they did it, the jeering, jabbering Lost Boys. We were not in a battle. No lives were at stake. They mutilated me for the sport of it. For the fun.
   That is what it is to be a boy."

James Benjamin Hook has spent 200 long years in Neverland, at the mercy of Pan's dangerous whims, waging a pointless war against the Lost Boys that will never end.

The rules are broken when a grown woman named Stella Parrish appears in Neverland and discovers Hook isn't the villain the tale has made him out to be.  Together, Hook and Stella will attempt to outwit Pan while searching for Hook's redemption with the help of the fairies and mermaids.

There are a number of Peter Pan retellings but this is the first that I've read.  I loved learning about Hook's past and discovering how he ended up in Neverland.  It was fun to see Pan and Hook swap roles as the villain.  The romance between Stella and Hook enhanced the tale without overtaking the plot.

I recommend Alias Hook to readers who enjoy fantasy and classic retellings with a hint of romance.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Kimberly (Book Swoon)  .
442 reviews31 followers
July 14, 2014
"It haunts me beyond all reason, an ache in my heart I can't explain or ignore. And it all began with the damn book. There it sits, the crumbling old thing, on the tea table next to the window. I run my fingers over its nubby, embosses cover, the gilding almost entirely worn away, a boy in leaves and a pair of tarty little mermaids. I needn't open the cover to see what's written there; it's scrawled just as indelibly in my memory: a single word, Believe."

Meet the man behind the infamous Captain Hook and fall in love with the not-so-villain of a hero.

Alias Hook is told from Hooks point of view and presents a thoughtful and beguiling look at the rogue gentleman and how he came to be known as the infamous Captain Hook. The chapters in the beginning of the book alternate between lives of Captain Hook in Neverland, and young Jamie aka James Benjamin Hookbridge. We see him become a privateer only to be captured and imprisoned in deteriorating fortress on one of the many French islands. Later he is released with nothing but the rags on his back, he works his way back to Jamaica, only to find that he has been betrayed and lost all those he has ever loved. Angry, he assembles a crew and takes to the sea terrorizing the Caribbean. This young version of Hook has suffered at the hands of many. Angry and vengeful, Hook was born.

But, through Hook's point of view, and eventually through Stella's eyes, we begin to see the many layers to him. A man who has lost nearly everything, tormented endlessly by Pan and the lost boys, lonely and vulnerable we see him in a completely new light.  We begin to understand how he lives this heart wrenching, never ending cycle. One that he knows is futile and with no escape. We see the cruelty of Pan and the lost boys, as children with no moral or conscious. I did not think it would be possible, but I completely fell head over heels for this anti-hero. The villain that needs to be redeemed. Intelligent, kind, and seductive, Hook ensnares the reader's heart before you know it. What happens after the pirate Captain Hook is thrown to the alligator brings a whole new dimension to the story, and Hook's character.

An enchanting and forbidden look at Neverland

Have you ever gazed upon the lovely maps often included with the story Peter Pan and wondered what lies hidden beneath those realms. I have. The kid in me was practically bursting with excitement over the prospect of an author taking me on an exploration into these uncharted realms. Yet, I was nervous that the magic they created as a child would not hold over as an adult. But, they did. I was completely captivated by the magic in Lisa Jensen words, and her beautiful descriptions.

With Alias Hook, Lisa Jensen takes us to the heart of Neverland like we've never been before. As the story unfolds, and Hook and Stella embark on a quest to set themselves free from Pan's clutches and the endless  cycle he creates in Neverland. The reader gets a firsthand look, a forbidden look denied adults, into the very heart of Neverland's realms. From forest glens and realms of glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the enchanted realm of the lorelei's underwater grotto, to the First Tribes and their secret ceremonies, the once forbidden realms open up and their magic and mystery are revealed.

Beautiful writing creates a rich fantasy world and a romantic story that makes us not want to put the story down, wanting to escape to Lisa Jensen's world a little longer.

This is a story to be savored, not rushed. It needs to be enjoyed slowly for all its nuances. There is wonder and magic, as well as danger and death to be found in Neverland. Cruelty and despair go hand in hand with hope, forgiveness and love. Alias Hook feels at once like a lush historical, yet elements of fantasy are breathed into the pages. I was held spellbound by this story, and did not want it to end. It's pure magic for adults!

My Rating: 5 stars. I loved it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Thomas Dunne Books for the review opportunity!

Profile Image for Rashika (is tired).
976 reviews710 followers
May 17, 2015
Actual Rating 3.5

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Alias Hook has gotten so much praise and given everything I had heard, I was curious about this book and wondered if it would live up to the praise it had received. I am not a hundred percent sure it did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but I also struggled with it which is why I cannot say it’s the best book I’ve ever read.

Alias Hook starts off painfully slow. The writing style was pretty but I didn’t get sucked in by it. It just seemed prose-y to me and made my reading experience excruciating. To add to that, the pacing was slow so while I liked the setting and I liked what the author was doing with the world building, I couldn’t really get into the book until half way through. To add to that, because the writing wasn’t working for me, I couldn’t really picture some of the more imaginative things in the novel.

Once I hit that half way mark though, I was sucked in by the book. That was when things turned around. Maybe at that point I got used to the writing and was able to appreciate the book but whatever the case, after that halfway mark, this book just became infinitely better for me.

Captain Hook is a character I won’t be forgetting any time soon. The author takes her time developing him and it shows. The details which have gone into showing us what made Captain Hook the person he is today are evident. He is a fantastic character and one I loved reading about. Jensen’s original take on his character made me excited and it was so easy to sympathize with him. Moreover, I just loved the development he underwent over the course of the book. At the beginning of the book, I sympathized with him even if I didn’t like him (Pan is SCARY) but by the end of the book, I loved him. He is such a sweetheart. Can you imagine that word being used to describe Hook? It works in this case though. He is smart, a little rough around the edges but really a great guy underneath all of that.

His supporting lady was equally awesome. Stella is a fantastic character who isn’t just casted as a romantic interest but rather a person. She gets a back story too, we get to know her better and even she undergoes some development. There were some things about her past revealed that did weird me out a little but sometimes you just got to role with it. I love how loyal she was to Hook and I love that she is also smart in her own right (and a little history nerd!).

The romance between the two (*gasp* Hook in love? What’s next, Hook on Ice?) is beautifully done. I don’t lie when I say it’s one of the best ones I’ve read this year. It’s so heartfelt and it’s developed so beautifully. You cannot help but want to ship these two damaged characters!

My biggest problem with the plot, as I mentioned earlier, was the pacing. I was bored out of my mind for a good chunk of the book, but on the other hand, I cannot help but want to give this book credit for its rather original take on the Peter Pan fairy tale. Whoever said young boys who live forever cannot be scary? (In fact who said they aren’t??) There are elements to the way the plot is laid out that will make you want to high five the author. I’d say, even with my issues, that the author does do justice to the fairy tale and brings it to life in a completely different but fascinating way.

The ending is the one thing I am of two minds about. On one hand, I loved it! On the other hand, I wondered about the way we got no explanations about certain things. I don’t think I’d say the ending was rushed or anything, I just think more time could have been spent on it to show the readers how things worked out.

This is a very compelling re-telling of Peter Pan and it is one I would definitely recommend but with a note of caution in regards to the slowness of the first half of the book. I was not thoroughly enchanted by this one as many readers were but I finished the book with a giant smile on my face and what else can you ask for?
Profile Image for aileen | ✾.
359 reviews223 followers
January 30, 2020
Turns out Neverland is so much more than just a place of childish innocence. Loved this to the very last page!
Profile Image for Amy Bruno.
364 reviews486 followers
July 3, 2014
Posted at Passages to the Past: http://www.passagestothepast.com/2014...

Peter Pan was one my favorite children’s stories when I was little…fairies, flying, lost boys, mermaids, what isn’t there to love? Then came the release of the movie HOOK, starring Robin Williams, when I was a teenager and it was fantastic to re-visit the magical world of Pan, Tinker Bell, and Captain Hook. Now as an adult I am back again in Neverland, but this time author Lisa Jensen has turned it on its head! Take everything you know about Peter Pan and throw it out the door because nothing is as you remembered.

Alias Hook is a darker, R-rated version of the Peter Pan story that you know, as told from the villainous Captain Hook, but as the real man behind the legend. He tells of his life as the son of an aristocrat and how he ended up stuck for centuries in a Neverland purgatory, endlessly harassed by Pan and his Lost Boys. That sweet chance at freedom will come to Hook in the form of Stella Parrish, but it won’t be easy to break the spell keeping him there.

One of the things that I love best about my Kindle is the ability to highlight passages, and boy did I highlight the crap out of this book. There were so many fantastic lines and quotes that I wanted to share but didn’t dare since I have an early reviewer copy. However, I stalked Lisa Jensen on Facebook and ran the lines by her and she kindly confirmed that the quotes I used in this review did make the final version.

There is no other way to describe Jensen’s writing other than magical. I was “hooked” from the very first page…and yes, that pun was indeed intended  …and didn’t want to put it down until I absolutely had to, or when threatened by my husband or kids. Jensen is a natural storyteller, and she knows how to suck a reader in and keep them enthralled. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read Alias Hook and I cannot wait to see what else in store from Lisa Jensen. Whatever it is, I’ll be checking it out for sure!
Profile Image for Catie.
1,391 reviews56 followers
August 3, 2015
Fun re-telling of Peter Pan told from Captain Hook's perspective. Loved the imagery and the originality of the retelling. I understand the audiobook is delightful, so if I'm ever in the mood for a re-read I may listen to the novel instead. If you're a lover of fairy tales, re-telling of fairy tales, dashing anti-heroes, gutsy heroines, true love, mermaids, and fairies this is definitely the book to read.
Profile Image for Kimberley doruyter.
813 reviews95 followers
October 13, 2015
if you fins yourself having fallen a little in love with Once Upon A Times hook, you will love this.
the slightly poetic style of writing makes far an almost dream-like story, can't wait to dream again.
Profile Image for Emily.
415 reviews327 followers
August 9, 2014
Originally appears at Oh Magic Hour.

I received this book for free from NetGalley and Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alias Hook is a really beautifully written take on the Peter Pan tale that we all know and love. Not quite a retelling, the novel reads more like a sequel — continuing where the J.M. Barrie version left off. (Barrie, we learn, was actually a Lost Boy at one point, who went home and wrote a glowing version of Pan’s tale.) In this take on Pan, Peter is actually just as crazy as you would think someone stuck in eternal boyhood would be. He’s selfish and violent and has no understanding of the consequences of his actions. Hook, on the other hand, is a man who is trapped in Neverland, sent there by a curse from a scorned lover and unable to escape. He is unable to die, but all of his crew members certainly can, and so he is just trapped watching his men suffer at the hands of the eternal boy for centuries upon centuries. Little wonder Hook has developed such an intense hatred for Pan.

Jensen not only treats Peter and Hook with an incredibly nuanced hand, but she also provides Hook with an oddly believable backstory. For everyone who spent time wondering how Hook ended up in Neverland, Alias Hook provides an incredibly plausible (as plausible as fantasy ever is, I suppose) take on this question. I don’t want to spoil it all, but I personally really enjoyed reading how Hook fell into piracy in his actual life, and how his decisions prior to coming to Neverland influenced his eventual trip there.

I should note that this is no children’s story or Disney movie; this is definitely an adult take on the tale. And as in many adult fairy tales, there is a bit of a romance. In the beginning of the novel, Hook and his crew discover a grown lady — the first to ever enter Neverland — named Stella Parrish. At first thinking her presence must be some plan of Pan’s, they take her onto the ship to try to uncover what she is doing there. When it becomes obvious that she is not some secret of Peter’s, Hook begins to think about how he can use her in his own fight against Pan. And then he starts realizing that she has good advice to give about how to handle Peter. And then, eventually, that maybe she can be good for him in other ways as well.

I thought Stella was a great character — strong and independent, with her own troubled backstory. No one without pain in their life ends up in Neverland, and Stella is definitely no exception, but I loved watching her path to self-forgiveness and how she used her growth to aid Hook. Their romance felt natural to me, though I do wish Jensen had allowed us to see a bit more of the development between the two characters.

I have seen some criticize the story for being a bit slow in the telling, though I did not particularly feel this way. I liked how the language drew me in and the story unfolded. However, I will admit that there were a few stops and starts toward the end that had me feeling as if nothing good would ever happen to poor Hook. I was hoping that he would end up with his own happy ending. And while, for me, the end was definitely satisfying, there were definitely a good number of fits and starts. Over the last half or so of the book, there were just constant obstacles set in Hook’s path — I just wanted the guy to catch a break!

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, while Peter Pan is a tale that celebrates the joy of youth, Alias Hook is a story about the beauty found in growing up. Growing up isn’t about things being easy or fun all the time; they are about feeling your pain and learning from your pain, and leaving behind the immaturity of youth. I loved watching these characters grow and definitely recommend this book to you.

Profile Image for Karissa.
3,972 reviews195 followers
June 28, 2014
I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley to review. I love fairy tale retellings and was absolutely hooked (pun intended) when I read the synopsis of this expansion on the Peter Pan fairy tale.

Captain James Benjamin Hook is a well educated privateer when he is cursed to play the eternal villain to pack of malicious little boys led by Pan in a war that never ends. This all changes with the arrival of Stella, a forbidden grown woman in Neverland whose very presence defies Pan. The magic of Neverland opens up to Stella in ways Hook never imagined and, in Stella, Hook sees his chance to finally break the awful curse he’s been a slave to all these centuries.

This was a very excellently written extension of the Peter Pan story featuring Captain Hook. This story is somewhat sympathetic to Captain Hook and tells us how he came to be cursed to an eternity in Neverland. We learn about Captain Hook's background and history and also watch him struggle in an eternal battle with the forever child Pan.

Stella is a woman from the 1950’s who is sick of dealing with all the war of that era and dreams herself into Neverland. Stella knows a lot about folklore and may finally be the chance to break a centuries long curse that Hook has been looking for. She is so different from the woman Hook has dealt with in the 180o’s that he is absolutely enchanted by her wit, knowledge, and daring.

This book is absolutely beautifully written and engaging, I loved it. There are tons of literature references, battle scenes, adventure, and some romance. Also magic, faeries, mermaids, and curses.

The whole novel gives a new twist to the tale of Peter Pan and explores the darker side of a tribe of boys who is eternally youthful and hence eternally cruel in the way only young boys can be. Most of the story deals with Hook trying to figure out a way to break his curse. Throughout the telling of his tale we go back into his youth and see how he got to the point where he is now.

The story also broaches the topics of fate, destiny and true love. The story is mostly told from Hook’s perspective and I loved his wry and witty tone. This is definitely a book for adults only; there are explicit sex scenes as well as quite a bit of violence.

Overall this was just a spectacular read and I recommend it to everyone. The story was a wonderful balance or beauty, adventure, magic, romance, battle and literature. I would especially recommend to those who are fans of the whole Peter Pan mythos.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,666 reviews1,231 followers
July 29, 2014
Abso-bloody-lutely loved this one!

Full review TK.


An advance copy of this novel was provided by the publisher (galley and audiobook versions) in exchange for an honest review.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.

After the mediocre Second Star  earlier this year, I've been on the lookout for a really standout retelling of Peter Pan. Alias Hook isn't strictly a retelling; it's more of a continuation of the story from Hook's perspective. I like Hook. I like him even more now that the gorgeous Colin O'Donaghue is bringing him to life on Once Upon a Time. However, I quickly had to give up on any preconceived notions that I'd be able to visualize him as this Hook. :(

I never expected the pirate captain to be so poetic or so well-spoken, though. This Hook, who is actually James Hookbridge, a privateer-turned-pirate who has been cursed to remain in Neverland for the last 200 years or so, is quite eloquent. Because of his plight and the bit of his history we see through flashbacks, he's a right sympathetic villain. (The story of how he came by his hook is also quite different from what we've been led to believe, but that's for you to discover on your own.) And when Stella arrives in Neverland, Hook becomes an entirely reformed villain.

I went into this book fully intent on shipping Hook and Stella. Mission accomplished. However, it wasn't really their romance that I was a proponent of. Instead, I liked how their relationship affected Hook...for the most part. I don't place the responsibility fully with Stella, but he did become a better man once she was in his life. I just wish their relationship hadn't gone from zero to sixty in 3.5 seconds. It wasn't insta-love but the transition from possible friend/foe to love progressed rather quickly. Maybe it was Stella's fervent wish to belong in Neverland or simply Hook's desire for something, anything different from the constant battles with Pan, but they fell into each other pretty hard and pretty quickly.

I liked how the curse and Stella and the faeries were all linked, how it all came full circle and yet none of it felt contrived. I liked that Hook was the narrator and that Peter Pan seemed like he was the true villain in all of this business, even if that's not the entire truth. This is the second retelling I've read where Hook was the love interest and the third where Peter was portrayed in a not-so-favorable light, but Alias Hook made it so much easier to believe that this might have been how the tale really should have gone.

I don't believe I've ever listened to a novel narrated by Ralph Lister before, but he was very well cast as James "Captain Hook" Hookbridge. He very much sounded the part of a forty-year-old pirate who's tired of his existence but doomed to continue it for another 200 years or so. However, he also voiced the rest of the characters with efficiency and without making any of the female characters too high-pitched or otherwise annoying. If you have the opportunity to listen to this story, I highly recommend it over reading the text. I had a print version for review that I was having trouble getting into, but I had no such issues with the audio.

I feel I should also mention that the ending of this novel is fairly open-ended, with the resolution of the main story arc complete but the future of select characters open to interpretation. (I didn't mind where the book left off, but I know some who need an obvious HEA and like to know that one exists prior to starting a novel.) Alias Hook is an adult novel, and while the story itself might appeal to a younger generation, the prose is so lush and the narrative so verbose -- and some of the situations rather adult in nature -- that it is better suited to the young-at-heart who wish to revisit Neverland, not those visiting for only the first or second time.

GIF it to me straight:
Profile Image for Rinn.
291 reviews213 followers
January 16, 2015
I received a copy of this book for free from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Also posted on my blog, Rinn Reads.

Forget what you know about Neverland, and what you know about the story of Peter Pan.

Opening with a scene of carnage, akin to nothing like we know from J.M. Barrie’s tale, Alias Hook takes the traditional story of Peter Pan and turns it on its head. It’s not a retelling as such, but an extension of the original from a different point of view. For starters, it’s set about forty years after Wendy, John and Michael have left Neverland. It’s also told from the point of view of the infamous Captain Hook.

From the very beginning Hook feels like a real person, albeit a rather unfortunate one, whose mistakes have led him to where he is now. He’s nothing like the nasty pirate captain we know, but instead he is resigned to this eternal life that never moves forward. A well-rounded and deep character, we learn more of his history as the book goes on, thanks to chapters set in London, Bristol and Jamaica – these also serve to remind us that perhaps Hook, or James as he should really be known, is not the villain here.

In fact, the most villainous character was Peter himself. Constantly taunting Hook, commanding his boys to kill Hook’s men whilst he himself watches and laughs, killing Hook again and again with glee, Peter is a malicious and spiteful little brat that you feel absolutely no sympathy for. He is a coward (a codfish!), attacking and taunting when and where he knows Hook is weakest. Lisa Jensen has brilliantly reversed the roles, and as a reader you really begin to feel for Hook, whilst hating Peter – who is quite frankly a little bit creepy.

Everything changes in Hook’s life when a grown woman suddenly appears in Neverland. Stella has no idea how she got there, or why she is there, but her very presence changes Hook’s outlook. Their relationship had its odd moments, but there was a scene where they were discussing swearing – ‘God’s wounds’ and the like being very offensive in Hook’s day, Stella explains modern (or rather 1950s) swearing whilst claiming that it’s no longer inventive – that I really enjoyed. I have to say that was one of my favourite scenes, with its contrast between the two time periods, and these two people from such different eras bonding over something like cuss words!

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this is definitely an adult retelling – Hook wonders through the forest and finds fairies having orgies, indulging in drugs and generally doing the sort of things you might see in town on a typical Friday night… But this sudden shift of the traditional tale from children to adults allows for so much more; it opens up a chance for a real exploration of the darker elements of Neverland, a land built from the imagination of children, yet very adult in appearance.

Although the story is quite slow-paced, with a lot of reminiscing, and not particularly hugely eventful, it really drew me in with its solid character building and play on a well-loved story. It was a really interesting perspective, filled with all the familiar denizens of Neverland. Unfortunately the conclusion, whilst satisfying, wasn’t quite what I wanted – but not all fairytales have that perfect, happy ending.
Profile Image for Tanja (Tanychy).
589 reviews258 followers
July 2, 2014
Review also posted at Ja čitam, a ti?

With this book being actually the second retelling of my favorite childhood story about Peter Pan and portraying him like a bad character I though that this time it won't suit my ideas about Peter. But once again, I found myself believing the story and actually rooting for my last favorite childhood character, Mr. Hook.

"The Neverland must have its wildness, its terrors," she tells me. "Here, children must find not only their happiest fantasies, but their most violent and terrible nightmares. They must face their demons and laugh at them. That is the key to growing up."

The quote from above tells you a lot about this story. This is not a fairy tale we all grew to love, but rather a different take on the story. Different take about Hook and his life. While reading this story you find out why Peter and Hook are really enemies and what actually happened to Hook to be the only adult in the Neverland. Or at least what he though before we meet Stella, a woman who is not Wendy but still is in Neverland. "How is that possible?" he wondered.

Hook cannot answer that question but he knows one thing and one thing only. He must save her from Peter who will do everything to make her life miserable like he made his. But he never dreamed that she will be what he was waiting for. What will keep him sane in the never-ending cycles of his life which is cursed to last forever.

"That is everything," she rebukes me gently, dark eyes glittery in the firelight. "Kindness freely offered that asks for no reward, love that values another above yourself, the wisdom to live without fear. That is the best of life."

This is not only a story about Hook and Stella, even mostly it is just that. But it's also a different take on Peter and the Lost Boys and even Wendy. But this story despite being dark and mysterious is also romantic and vivid. It's about redemption and finding oneself in hopeless situations.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy this story very much. I loved the writing and the whole world-building. Neverland seems closer than ever now. However, it took me some time to get into this story and actually start to like Hook. It was a bit slow at the start.

Needless to say, this book has one of the prettiest endings out there. I loved it how the author left us some space to imagine how everything went on, but at the same time there are no doubts in your mind.

P.S. Hook, you are a great character and all, but sorry, Peter has my heart and some part of it will always be his.

**Quotes have been taken from the uncorrected proof. They might change in the final version of the book.
Profile Image for John Sprague.
11 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2013
Alias Hook turns the Peter Pan story on its head by making Captain Hook the hero and Pan, a spoiled brat, a petulant little jerk drunk on his own power, the villain. Although based on a children’s tale, in this story the children are selfish sadists. The childishness in ourselves is the enemy here. Hook’s longing to escape the rule of childishness draws Stella, another would-be adult, into Neverland, and together they conspire to evolve their way out of it and into the adult world by confronting and overcoming their own childishness. The book is an allegory, yet the Neverland Lisa creates stands on its own as a fully realized micro-world.

The book is well paced, maintaining a momentum that carries you from each chapter into the next. Most chapters end with a cliffhanger that propels you forward. It is essentially a love story, but also a tale of starting over, of fresh beginnings, of rebirth.

A novel based on a children’s story is not something I would ordinarily pick up, but a dear friend wrote this book, so I was eager to read it. I found it to be a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience, and highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Bekah.
432 reviews45 followers
November 12, 2015
Aaahhh! What a thrilling, aggravating, exciting, frustrating, wonderful adventure! Part Retelling, Part Origin Story, Part Action Adventure, Part Steamy Romance. I had a marvelous time with this story, even if I was left screaming at the open-ended conclusion. Jensen wove such an intriguing and unique tale, turning the tables and letting Captain Hook tell the story from his view. I often use audiobooks as a supplemental addition to the physical book I may be reading, but this was the first story I absorbed solely via audiobook. The narration by Ralph Lister was wonderful, he brought such life to the characters and the world they were in. I will most assuredly be going out to find a physical copy of this book, because it was so wonderful that I just have to own it! I am so glad I decided on a whim to borrow Alias Hook from Overdrive!
Profile Image for Jenny Q.
1,008 reviews54 followers
July 21, 2014
Read the prelude and enter to win a copy @ Let Them Read Books!

3.5 Stars. I was so excited to read this book, especially because I've not really been a fan of Peter Pan. I always thought he was a bit of a brat, so I was very intrigued to read about him from the viewpoint of his great nemesis, Captain Hook! As the son of a wealthy British shipping merchant in the eighteenth century, James Hookbridge had the world at his feet and took full advantage of the pleasures it had to offer. In love with the sea and life on board a ship, he happily took on a privateering commission and swashbuckled his way across the sea, seizing the riches of enemy ships and leaving a trail of female conquests in his wake. Until the day he was captured by the French and thrown into prison to rot for several years. Upon his escape, he emerges into a world much changed, where everything he once loved has disappeared and a bounty has been placed upon his head for piracy. Angry and lost, he decides he might as well earn that bounty and throws himself into the cutthroat world of pirates. But along the way, he breaks yet another heart--only this time with disastrous consequences--and the beautiful Caribbee witch Proserpina banishes him to the Neverland to atone for his sins.

For two hundred years he has languished there, a mere plaything for the boy tyrant Pan and his band of Lost Boys, forced to be reborn every time he is killed while he watches a stream of his men find their way into the Neverland only to be killed in truth in Pan's bloody games. He longs only for the peace of eternal death--until something that has never happened before forces him to re-examine everything he thought to be true: a grown woman stumbles into the Neverland. First mistaking her for a spy and then for a witch, Hook is finally forced to consider that twentieth-century Stella Parish may be something else entirely: she may be the key to his salvation, his freedom, and his heart. But when Pan finds out a woman has entered his domain, he becomes determined to find her and kill her for breaking his laws. Hook and Stella must navigate the pleasures and the terrors of the Neverland together in their search for a path home, battling the magic that bends to Pan's will but also finding allies in unexpected places, before Peter Pan can seal their doom.

The first thing that struck me about this book was the absolutely gorgeous prose. Hook's world, both before and after he finds himself banished to Neverland, is brought vividly to life with lush description and rich emotional undertones. The narrative switches back and forth in time, heightening anticipation and deepening mystery as Hook's history alternates with the present day in the Neverland, and Hook himself is a wonderful character. A beautifully flawed antihero. Yet in spite of all those positives, I didn't end up loving the book as much as I'd hoped I would. Though the writing is lovely, it's rather wordy and thus makes for a dense read. Slow pacing coupled with large chunks of time spent on introspection also contributed to my feeling at times that I was slogging through the book, even though I anxiously wanted to see how it would all play out. And then there was a twist near the end that I didn't see coming--yet made perfect sense, but I didn't feel like enough time was spent developing the repercussions of that twist to make the ending as believable and satisfactory as it should have been. Still, the book is beautiful, a worthwhile read for fairy-tale lovers, and a must-read for fans of Peter Pan.
Profile Image for Stephanie Swint.
165 reviews40 followers
June 2, 2014
Lisa Jensen wrote this beautiful retelling of Peter Pan from the view of the infamous pirate Captain Hook, a villain children have been taught to hate, the token grown up presence in Neverland. Much in the same vein of 'Grendel' by John Gardner or 'Wicked' by Geoffrey McGuire we learn the human side of Hook and how true Winston Churchill's statement, "History is the story of the victors" is. In this case, the story of Peter Pan written by J.M. Barrie, a former Lost Boy enthralled with his hero Pan, is a very biased perspective of Neverland, Pan, and Hook.

Hook is a tragic character. We meet him 200 years after he was cursed to live in Neverland continually leading men to their death while battling Peter Pan. After his original crew were slaughtered by Peter Pan, Hook finds men, former Lost Boys that grew up and dreamed themselves back to Neverland,. They are littered in the forest with little memory of their adult lives. He takes them in, teaches them to fight, feed themselves, and take care of the ship. Few ever learn much before they die at the hands of Pan and his Lost Boys. It is a game to Peter, but Peter and Neverland need Hook, the antagonist, the grown up responsible for everything bad any grown up has ever done to children, the scapegoat.

This is a beautiful work of literary fiction about what it means to grow up mentally not just physically. Hook has his own reasons for being in Neverland. He did not end up there because he was a mature, healthy, or even rationale man. He did many bad things before he ever came to Pan's territory. Parrish is an adult woman who appears in Neverland out of the blue. She should not be able to be in Neverland, she should not exist, she was not brought to the Island by Peter. She throws Hook's whole world out of balance. Hook must find out why she is in Neverland and as he does so he slowly begins to trust, show kindness, and develop a friendship with her.

'Alias Hook' is a character driven piece of literary fiction. While there are battles with Pan, and Hook is a fearsome pirate, there is less action than one would think.There is large amount of introspection and if you are looking for a simple action/adventure this isn't it. Jensen's world building based on Neverland, an island most people can picture in their head either from Disney or our own child imaginings of Barrie's tale, is unique, beautiful and rich with detail. This is a positive for me, but I could see how some would not enjoy the level of detail into Hook's thoughts or the descriptions of Neverland flora and fauna.

I have a weak spot for retellings of villains. I enjoyed this immensely. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Grendel by John Gardner or a similar retelling, those that enjoy historical fiction, and literary fiction. It is touching and will leave you feeling good.

I received 'Alias Hook' by Lisa Jensen from Netgalley and St. Martins Press in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ♛ Federica ♛.
295 reviews
October 22, 2017
"Thus was the Fall of Man perpetrated; Eve tasted the forbidden fruit and transmitted all she knew to Adam in a kiss. But what if Eve forsook Adam and kissed the Serpent instead?"

This is my new favorite thing. This brilliant, witty novel is everything I've ever wanted, everything that you, even if you don't know it yet, have ever wanted.
Although it's no surprise whatsoever that villains will always have a special place in my heart, Captain Hook is possibly the one who most fascinated me since the very beginning, the one who left me with the unstoppable thought: He deserved better. And I'm so glad someone else had the same thought and decided to act on it, because this piece of art was simply sublime.
This story isn't exactly a retelling of Peter Pan since it takes place in the aftermath of the events that happened in it. We get to see a softer, wounded and almost delicate side of Captain Hook, as J. M. Barrie never let us glimpse.
The writing style was just goosebumps-y, almost poetic, perfect for this very well-educated, shrewd and clever man.
The only hesitation I had about this book was due to the fact that, since the very beginning it was pretty clear that, alongside our favorite villain, there was also gonna be an original character. Infamous OCs are dreaded in mere fanfictions, let alone in books. If you think that about this particular story, let me reassure you because you really need not worry. Neverland is probably the only fantasy world where anything can happen and new characters will always be welcomed; furthermore, Stella's presence makes absolute sense and you'll slowly come to love her and consider her as part of the original book.
Truth be told, it took me forever to write this review, and in the end it's not even that great, but I just wanted to thank this amazing author for writing something so hardly desired by my little, now happy, heart. Now I can't wait for July 2018 to come, so I can read her newest novel set in the world of Beauty and the Beast, which just happens to be my favorite Disney movie of all time.

Favorite quotes:

1. "The world made me, and now it must reckon with me."

2. "The most interesting things slip out unbidden when people are divorced from their wits. Shameful secrets. Hidden desires. Buried memories."

3. "The world needs magic, now more than ever. If there is no safe pace for children to dream, how will they ever dream themselves a better world?"

4. "[...] children must find not only their happiest fantasies, but their most violent and terrible nightmares. They must face their demons and laugh at them. They must conquer fear. That is the key to growing up."

5. "Whatever else might be said against me, and there are volumes, at least, at last, I have loved."
Profile Image for Kirsi.
420 reviews16 followers
February 26, 2022
This was definitely not a sugar and sprinkles kind of a Peter Pan retelling. It was more like dark chocolate and truffle with a hair-raisingly bitter double espresso, and I liked it a lot.

As the title suggests, the focus of this novel is entirely on Hook, which suited me just fine. As the tale unfolds, we gradually discover who he used to be in the real world, what turned him into a pirate, and what eventually landed him in Neverland and into the neverending vicious circle of fighting Pan and losing and never being able to leave.

In this story, Pan and his ragtag bunch of lost boys are exactly as cruel, mercurial and out of control as children can be at their very worst. There's a reason for it, which gets explained later, but these kids are a terror in every sense and Pan is the worst of all. The indians, fairies and mermaids are also forced to put up with him and cater to his whims or risk losing their own sanctuary. Hook has no allies here, nobody who could or would help him against Pan. His own crew has been slaughtered and replaced so many times there's not an ounce of competence or camaraderie left, yet Hook himself always survives.

Right in the beginning of this book, Hook is done. He's so goddamned done with that little flying monster and his games and would do absolutely anything to be able to finally die and get away, but he has already tried everything and it has gotten him exactly nowhere. He's at the absolute end of his endurance, when the unthinkable happens - a grown woman, an actual mother, the anathema to everything Pan's world stands for, appears in Neverland.

And a tinkling little voice whispers to Hook something about a last chance.

This book turned out to have more depth than I initially thought. Looking at the premise, I took it for a romance - which it is, but it goes much farther than that. It's ultimately a book about change that needs to happen if you find yourself stuck in a rut and want to break free. It's about owning up to past mistakes and changing your course to avoid repeating them over and over again. It's about realising you might not be alone despite all evidence to the contrary, and having the courage and humility to ask for help when you need it.

I really liked this book because of its adult tone. It's much darker and more brutal than most other Peter Pan inspired stories I've read, but it also packs a heavier emotional punch. The ending was also quite good and felt much less jarring than in many other retellings. The last sentence was so unexpectedly sweet and perfect it left me a bit misty-eyed.
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,564 reviews475 followers
September 28, 2018
I love a good retelling, especially Peter Pan retellings. Add in the fact this story was following Hook, and I was more than willing to dive in. In fact, ever since Colin O'Donoghue won my heart with his Hook in Once Upon A Time, I’ve been more than willing to read alternative Hook narratives.

With Alias Hook, we had something completely original. I went in with numerous notions of how the story would play out, at the same time being completely clueless as to what I would be receiving. Although the story did not touch upon any of those notions I did conjure up, it was an interesting tale. It brings about something completely different to Neverland, providing a story unlike any retelling I have ever read before. Without a doubt, this is one of the most unique takes on Neverland that I have ever come across.

However, I wasn’t as crazy about the story as I would have liked to be. In fact, my rating was all over the place with this one. There were times when I did not care, times when I was completely hooked to the story (bad pun, I apologise), and times where I was indifferent. Some aspects of the story really grabbed me, other aspects of the story bugged me, and other aspects were merely okay. Hence, deciding upon a rating was extremely difficult.

In the end I opted for the two-star rating because I had been hoping for something more, for my mind to be blown. Yes, this was a unique take on Peter Pan. I enjoyed being given something different, yet it failed to earn a spot in my top Peter Pan retellings.

If you’re a fan of retellings and enjoy Peter Pan, then this one is worth it for something very different. It will appeal to many, I’m sure, but it wasn’t quite for me.
Profile Image for Liene.
95 reviews1,752 followers
May 20, 2017
I rarely add books to my "Favorites" shelf, but this made the list the moment I read the last word.
This book is EVERYTHING a Peter Pan retelling should be.
I am an avid lover of Peter Pan, the original as well as its many interpretations. A retelling must bring something new or different to a tale but remain, in some basic way, true to its source material. And Alias Hook does this brilliantly.
This book expands on and explores the universe created by J. M. Barrie so beautifully and believably. It allows you to examine a well-known tale from another perspective without taking away from the original. It does not seek to make a hero out of Hook by making Pan a demon, rather, it takes a closer look at the implications, motivations, and many gray areas that Barrie himself alluded to. Barrie never suggested Pan was perfect, angelic, or all-good. And if Pan is not entirely good, Hook cannot be entirely evil.
This book was so true to its source material, true to the characters created by Barrie, and yet told a completely new story. I enjoyed every page and have nothing but praise for the work Jensen has done.
Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jana (Nikki).
290 reviews
July 4, 2014
This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved...


For some time now, I've been on the lookout for retellings of any sort. I love them to death and cannot seem to resist them. Retellings of classics, retellings of fairy tales -- you name it, I want to read it. One retelling that I've been dying for is a good retelling of Peter Pan. I want a fresh take on Neverland, something that surprises me and gives me some darkness, but that also maybe retains some of the sparkle of the original. These are big shoes to fill, but hey. I can dream.

Now, Alias Hook is not technically a retelling of Peter Pan. It's more like a continuation of the original fairy tale, an expansion, a reimagining of what Neverland is all about.

Alias Hook is told from Hook's (James Hookbridge's) perspective, and paints a very different picture from the Hook we all know. Hook has been trapped in Neverland for 200 years, fighting the same unwinnable fight over and over. Hook's curse is that, somehow, he can't be killed. But his crews die off and are replaced with new ones (previous Lost Boys who dream themselves back after they grow up), time and time again.

Hook's "present-day" narration is interspersed with flashbacks to his past, when we learn that he grew up a gentleman, fond of music and building toy ships. He becomes a privateer, but after a series of unfortunate events (what, I don't want to give any details away!), he takes to piracy, and eventually finds himself in Neverland -- where he's faced with failure after failure, fight after fight, and let's just say time hasn't been very kind to him.

Is it any wonder I so often tried to kill him? Would not his death break the enchantment of this awful place and release us both? But I can never best him. He flies. He has youth and innocence on his side, and the heartlessness that comes with them. I have only heartlessness, and it is never, ever enough.

I really liked the first 30-40% of the book, where we learn about Hook's past, and see his "descent" into piracy before coming to Neverland. He's very aptly painted as a sympathetic villain, and I definitely have a soft spot for those types of characters. I was never bored, and found all the backstory really interesting and believable, for the most part. It's darker, and not YA-type material, and I enjoyed it as a change of pace from my "norm" of YA retellings.

Even though Hook is the main character and protagonist of Alias Hook , Peter Pan - oftentimes portrayed as Hook's "opposite" - isn't made to feel like a complete villain himself, which I found surprising and interesting. Yes, Pan is Hook's nemesis and he's definitely not the shining innocent hero of the fairy tales, but there's some depth and complexity and "grey areas" explored which I appreciated (and actually would've liked to see more of).

My issues, however, started when Stella Parrish, a governess from 1950's London, arrives in Neverland. I was all for a bit of romance for Hook, and was really looking forward to seeing how Stella could change him, and how they would figure out a way to escape Neverland together. Stella shows up about 20% into to the book, and from there until about 60%, I quite liked her and Hook's interactions. Stella wasn't the most interesting character ever; I didn't dislike her, really, but she did come across as a bit flat. And by 60%, I hadn't felt any chemistry between her and Hook - maybe it was a slow burn, would I would've been totally on board with. ...But nope, that wasn't it.

At that point, they jumped straight from "allies" to "in love", and from there on out, I just couldn't understand why. They became that "I don't want to live without you" sort of couple, which is all well and good when there's some kind of buildup. I just felt like their feelings dropped from the sky out of nowhere, which made it feel forced and unbelievable to me. Which was especially unfortunate, because this totally undermined Hook's character development for me - yes, Stella changed him, but when I never saw any real chemistry or depth of feeling between them, the reasons for that change never made sense.

Now, maybe all this could've been overlooked, or at least less of a prominent issue, had the plot in the last 40% of Alias Hook been as interesting and compelling as the first 60%. Unfortunately, the last half was just... really, really not my thing. So many things are packed into the last sections of the book, it felt to me like the characters were going in circles trying and then failing and then trying again to find a way out of Neverland. It didn't feel like a build-up to a climactic and satisfying ending - it felt like one of those fairground rides that spins you in horizontal circles and it's fun for a while, but then you just want it to be over, and getting off is the best part. =S

Argh, that sounds so harsh, but that's really the best way to explain how I felt. The last 40% felt endless, and it could've been shortened immensely in order reach a resolution sooner. And while those sections could have been shortened, I felt like the epilogue could've actually been expanded a bit, because where we're left is a little too open-ended for my liking - but maybe that's just my preference for loose ends to be tied up, especially in a standalone.

In conclusion...

For the most part, I liked this book. I really enjoyed the picture we got of Hook as a sympathetic villain, and all of the flashbacks to his past were really interesting. Where things fell apart for me were in his and Stella's relationship, and while I was ultimately satisfied with where things ended up, I would've liked a tighter resolution and a bit more of a solid, not-open-ended conclusion.

I'd still recommend checking out Alias Hook if you're a fan of Peter Pan/Hook and are looking for a more adult take on the fairy tale.


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