Jensen flips the Peter Pan story we are all familiar with, making Captain Hook the sympathetic hero and Peter a bratty child tyrant. James Benjamin Hookbridge is a ship’s captain during the Restoration who becomes stuck in the magical world, Neverland, captive to the whims of the eternal boy, Peter Pan. Captain Hook, as he becomes known, must play the never-ending role of the villain to Peter’s hero. The two battle time and again, with Peter and his tribe of Lost Boys always emerging as the victors. Hook’s murdered crew members are continuously replaced with new bands of pirates, but he can never die and is condemned to repeat this hellish scenario for eternity.
Things begin to change, however, when Stella Parrish, an Englishwoman from the 1950s, arrives. If it is possible for another adult to come to Neverland, might it be possible for Hook to finally escape? In the spirited newcomer Hook discovers something he thought he lost long ago, hope, and maybe something else, love.
A very grown-up reimagining of a classic tale, Alias Hook is simultaneously funny, sexy, dark and violent. All of the familiar characters are present here: the fairies, Indians and mermaids, but with deeper and more complex backstories than the original. Jensen certainly creates her own Neverland, and the parts of the story that take place there soar. Having Stella come from 1950s England seems a bit arbitrary, neither adding to nor diminishing the story. It is Neverland that will keep readers; I have to say it, hooked.