A dark and unsettling Peter Pan
I had passed by The Child Thief a few times, not certain if I wanted to read a re-telling of Peter Pan, as Peter Pan is my least favourite fairy-tale character. Peter Pan for me has always been a one dimensional symbol of someone just unwilling to move on with their life. A big suck who’s own shadow doesn’t even want to be around him. In addition, I tend to stay away from books that mix a fantasy “other” world with our current “real” present-time world. It has to do with being burnt in the past with stories that tried to do this but failed miserably at it (usually because the story just jolted me in to a new world without a lot of explanation or work leading up to it – I need foreplay people!)
However, this book converted me on both points.
After passing it over about three times, my curiosity finally got the better of me and I bought the book. I then got home, opened it, noted with pleasure there was some amazing art work throughout the book and began to read.
I then could not put it down.
I finished this book in three days – it completely consumed me with the story and the characters. The Peter Pan that Brom has created is so frustrating, flawed, hateful, desperate and devastatingly beautiful in his child-ness that I found myself switching back from wanting Peter destroyed to wanting him saved. Both the real, present-time world and the world in which Peter lives are unforgiving and hopeless, yet there is still light that shines through them. The way Brom introduces the reader to Peter’s world is seductive, like Peter himself. I couldn’t wait to go. It is a dark and despairing story at times and there were moments where I didn’t know if I could take it anymore – especially the scenes that show the children in a bloodthirsty and savage light. These were scenes of an unsettling violence and yet, I get the sense that without this the book would not have had the profound and exhausting effect that it did on me. I didn’t want this book to end and was devastated when it did.
An excellent twist on the Peter Pan story with amazing graphics drawn by the author himself. This book had me on emotional meltdown by the end and when I went to bed that night I eyed the window tentatively, wondering if I should open it or keep it shut.