All boys grow up, except one.
On the tenth anniversary of her mother’s death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.
On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan’s eternal youth.
This takes the Disney version of Peter Pan and mixes in a big dollop of The Lord of the Flies. And if you think that sounds like a mix that shouldn’t work, you’d be right. Reading about the cheesiness of Tinkerbell and Smee one minute, and then sacrificing Lost Boys to ensure the survival of the Island’s magic the next is disconcerting.
Madge is the granddaughter of Wendy Darling. Though how that works when Wendy Darling was 12 or 13 in the early 1900s, and Madge is 14 in the present day, I have no idea. Anyway, she goes to Neverland with Peter Pan searching for her lost mother and the truth about her family. Once there she realises that Peter Pan is a dictator, ruling through fear and murdering anyone who stands against him.
Madge is a very underdeveloped character. She never shows any personality of her own, her only conversations with other people involve her sneering at them. Supposedly she is trying to find the truth about her family, but never displays any actual motivation towards doing anything about it.
Pan himself is much more interesting, but for me the best character in the book is the lovely Slightly. A sweet, charming boy, he is Madge’s only potential ally in the Lost Boys.
I wasn’t convinced by the story in this – there was a lot alluded to but never fully explained and Madge just ran around reacting to things and generally being unpleasant. Even her own hunger she is only aware of because Pan hears her stomach growling!
The story never got going and the battle at the end was a big anticlimax.
I received a free copy from the publisher in return for an honest review.