Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Child Thief” as Want to Read:
The Child Thief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Child Thief

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  14,978 ratings  ·  2,233 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 ...more
Hardcover, 476 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Harper Voyager
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Child Thief, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
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 de…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 Miller At one point in the book the author mentions a "Wendilyn" when talking about Peter's previous encounters.…moreAt one point in the book the author mentions a "Wendilyn" when talking about Peter's previous encounters.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,978 ratings  ·  2,233 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Child Thief
Emily May
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of DARK retellings
Shelves: 2014, fairy-tales
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 Pe

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 s
Will Byrnes
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, horror
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
May 14, 2012 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
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very, very good.

The postmodern Peter Pan; more Pan than Peter.

Brom’s 2009 retelling of Peter Pan was enthralling. From the first few pages describing the mean streets of New York City and some excruciatingly graphic scenes of drug dealing cruelty and violence, the reader is held, shocked and awed, by his weird and unforgiving vision of J.M. Barrie’s characters told from the vantage of the 21st century.

Brom’s dark prophecy is as much Jack Vance and Michael Moorcock as it is early 1900s prose, wit
Richard Derus
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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?
Dan Schwent
Sep 26, 2009 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
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Tonight, as I sit in my old rocker in our warm kitchen (the wind chill outdoors stands at Minus 15 C) I wrestle with my conflicting negative reactions to the random acts of abject violence in this story.

Anyway, the rocking of my chair has lulled my nerves. My mental scenery dissolves as I drift into a fitful slumber...

I awoke (in my dream) to find myself in Heaven.

There to greet me, lo and behold, was my earthly Literary Spirit Guide - T.S. Eliot.

He smiled warmly and said, “Welcome to Heaven,
"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 l
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

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 d
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales, 2020, fantasy
This book is loosely based on Peter Pan story. It reimagines many aspects of the story such as Peter's motives, Nevernever, and the Captian. This will be a very short review.

Our Peter in this book is more like an anti-hero. I loved him. He’s not perfect, he made many mistakes, and certainly did questionable things but Peter's smile is a most contagious thing.

This is not YA. It’s grim, gory, and has sensitive content such as rape, abuse, sexual act. But our heroes are children lured by Peter’s pr
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 -
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-
Vanessa J.
Dec 04, 2014 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
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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf 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 :-) ...more
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cover-love, 2009, fantasy
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
Sep 26, 2016 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
"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
Jul 01, 2018 rated it liked it
just between 3 and 3.5 stars

i really loved Brom's Lost Gods and after reading the synopsis for this title had to give it a go hehe. however while Brom is almost as illustrative in his prose as in his illustrations i found this book a lot less compelling. additionally although it didnt put me off i feel i should warn portions of the story can be quite graphic. overall i would say this was about a 6.5 out of 10 star read.
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
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)
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

Nov 18, 2009 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.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it

February 4, 2018 update: I've decided to lower my rating for this book. It simply didn't stick with me at all and I get comments pretty often saying people picked it up because of me, and I kinda cringe being like "eh... that wasn't actually that good" but my review does not reflect that. I'm putting this one down to 3.5 stars simply because, again, it didn't stick with me at all and looking back the writing really was awful and the book much more mediocre than I origina
Sonja Arlow
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a wickedly dark and twisted re-imagining of the classic Peter Pan story. Don’t expect the Disney version of cute Tinkerbell and ever friendly playful Peter. This tale will show you the dark side of every single character and all the shades in between.

The story interweaves the tale of Peter Pan with some mythology of other origins (as the author notes explains at the end) and initially shows Peter Pan as the character portrayed in the Disney version who “saves” kids from abusive homes, runaw
Dec 08, 2011 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
Mar 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.75 ⭐️

"Don't let them steal your magic"

Oh wow. Oh wow. THIS WAS AMAZING. The Child Thief is a retelling of Peter Pan but a lot darker and I am here for it. I heard about this book about 2 years ago and like literally EVERY BOOK EVER I put off reading it for no reason whatsoever and I so regret that.

Peter is a "child" (he's really like thousands of years old but he doesn't age and such remember) who travels to the real world and lures children who have had a rough life or are going through a h
Cindy Newton
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was awesome! Talk about fractured fairy tales! It took the Disney-ized tale we grew up with and gave it a wicked set of teeth! The Lost Boys are no longer adorable waifs wrapped in teddy-bearish outfits, and life in Neverland is not a romp in an enchanted realm, but a savage struggle for survival against creatures of unbelievable viciousness. This book is definitely not for children. It was still a very absorbing story, and Brom does a great job of fleshing his characters out from the cartoon ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

Like most American children, Disney's Peter Pan was a part of my video library (we watched it on VHS, and waiting for the tape to rewind is an exercise in patience that few children these days know). Because my mother was a firm believer in reading, we also had the book, as well - a lovely illustrated edition of J.M. Barrie's classic tale. They're very different stories, though. Even as a child, I remember picking up the book and thinkin
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Probably the darkest Peter Pan inspired story I’ve read. This book is beautifully written and holds some amazing artwork. I’m not sure how I can review this book. It’s not truly a retelling of Peter Pan. It definitely takes inspiration from it and had a couple of similarities, but Brom certainly makes The Child Thief his own monster. It is wickedly dark, mischievous and brutal. It’s made me really see the source material in a new light. The original stories have some very dark undertones if you ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2017, year of the...: The child thief 1 9 Feb 15, 2017 07:38AM  
Around the Year i...: The Child Thief, by Brom 3 50 Jan 20, 2017 05:41AM  
E-book or physical copy? 10 102 Mar 23, 2016 12:26PM  
She-Geeks: January 2016 Read (Fairy Tales) 1: The Child Thief 8 32 Jan 25, 2016 04:51PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Мара и Морок (Смерть и Тень, #1)
  • Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
  • Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1)
  • Bloodlust
  • Prophecy of the Guardian (Guardian of the Seventh Realm, #1)
  • City of Rogues: Book I of The Kobalos Trilogy (The Ursian Chronicles)
  • The Giants' Dance
  • Особенная тень (Смерть и Тень, #2)
  • Red Queen (The Chronicles of Alice, #2)
  • Ведьмин век
  • Tender Morsels
  • Escort will gelernt sein (Evig Roses, #1)
  • Der Hummelreiter Friedrich Löwenmaul
  • Opiumschwaden: Der Mörder von St. Audrey
  • Day of the Vipers (Star Trek Terok Nor Book 1)
  • Dawn of the Eagles (Star Trek: Terok Nor, #3)
  • Night of the Wolves (Star Trek: Terok Nor, #2)
  • Heaven Eyes
See similar books…
Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, 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 Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator

News & Interviews

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
55 likes · 15 comments
“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.” 348 likes
“If you don't learn to laugh at life it'll surely kill you, that I know.” 214 likes
More quotes…