Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review: Unhooked

UnhookedAbout the Book:
Title: Unhooked
Author: Lisa Maxwell
Pub. Date: Feb. 2, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings 
Pages: 342 
Rating: 3/5


For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?


I have been on the hunt for a great Peter Pan retelling, and while this did show some promise, there were some things that made this book just a good retelling rather than a great one. There was a lot to love about the story, and Lisa Maxwell certainly knows how to spin a good story! Her writing flows effortlessly across the page and she creates a truly fantastical Neverland that readers have certainly not experienced before. It's a very intriguing read that is a dark twist on Peter Pan. I loved this aspect of the story since this is not something that has been well done in previous books I have read. Lisa Maxwell succeeded in keeping the reader guessing until the very end of the story. The book is relatively fast-paced, and has plenty of exciting action. 

I truly enjoyed Lisa Maxwell's take on Neverland. No one is as they seem, and this is a recurring theme throughout the novel for every single character. There are many twists and turns that were completely unexpected, and it was these twists that made the book fun and enjoyable. Lisa Maxwell also did a great job at putting an emphasis on relationships, whether it involved friends, a love interest, or an enemy. The one relationship that I was originally interested in was the relationship between Hook and Pan. I always like to see where authors will take this particular relationship, and Ms. Maxwell definitely offered a creative spin on the relationship between the two. It made the book more compelling because of how each of these characters affected the other. The other relationship that was extremely well done was the one that existed between Gwen and Hook. It was definitely a slow-building/slow-burn type relationship, which worked perfectly with the flow of the book. Their budding romance never overshadowed the underlying plot, and was very well written. Finally, I loved how dedicated Gwen was to rescuing her friend, Liv. Gwen would go to any length to save her friend, and it was definitely an admirable characteristic for her character to have.

However, there were several aspects of this story that made the story a little less enjoyable. First was Gwen's character. Don't get me wrong, overall she was a good, solid character. BUT, I kept waiting and waiting for her to just DO SOMETHING. With every hesitation and every unsure thought, I became more and more frustrated Gwen. Her character was extremely inconsistent throughout the book, and it got to a point where I actually started not liking her as much as I did at the beginning. Gwen would be brave and have a spirit that was on the edge of becoming something great. And then she would retreat and become extremely passive, shying away from the events of the book. Ultimately, this inconsistency made her character fall flat, and not as likable as she could have been. I also had a problem with Neverland (but just a bit). This mainly was because I wanted more...more explanations on different aspects of the wonderfully creative Neverland that Ms. Maxwell established. This was more towards the end especially where new parts of Neverland were introduced but not explained, and I had no clue why events were occurring as they had never been mentioned or hinted at anytime previously. 

Overall, I would recommend checking it out if you like Peter Pan retellings. While this isn't the greatest retelling I have read, it still is much better than others I have read. It is a very compelling and intriguing read, but with a flat, passive main character and a lack of description in regards to certain elements of Neverland, I wasn't blown away. So, while I'm still on the hunt for a retelling of this story that will make me happy, this will definitely appeal to a wide majority of readers.

Happy reading :)


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