Everland by Wendy Spinale (received an advanced copy from publisher at ALA Midwinter Conference)
London has been destroyed by bombs. The human race is dwindling due to a fast spreading virus. And to sixteen year old Gwen Darling, the only thing scarier than the bombs and the virus, is Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer and his band of marauders.
Gwen has done her best to keep herself and her younger siblings out of their reach, but the marauders are getting closer. Running out of options and out of supplies, Gwen decides that in order to keep Joanna and Mikey safe, is to move, and move now.
But when Gwen comes home after a night of scavenging, she discovers that Joanna is missing, Mikey is hiding, and Hook and his pirates have ransacked the place. With Joanna missing, Gwen knows she isn’t going anywhere, accept to confront Hook.
Gwen will do whatever it takes to get her sister back. But in order to do that, she’ll need to team up with Pete, Bella, and the Lost Kids. Will Gwen get Joanna back? Or will she too fall victim to Captain Hook?
Everland, written by author Wendy Spinale, is a steampunk retelling of JM Barrie’s classic Peter Pan.
Author Spinale take on a beloved classic is a unique one. Even though Steampunk is a required taste for some, and it generally isn’t mind, I thought it was quite imaginative. Because of this it felt like she made this story her own.
While the writing that fills this book is good, there were aspects that as a reader I struggled with. And that was the pacing. Going into Everland I assumed that it would be action packed and fast paced. But within mere pages I found myself struggling. The pacing was just…slow.
Even though the pacing wasn’t working for me, I had hoped that the characters would save this book. As I read, I couldn’t help but feel that the characters, though honest and relatable, were not as fully developed as they could be. Leading lady Gwen Darling was portrayed in many instances as someone who needed to be saved, when she could have saved herself. Joanna, though not as present in the book as the rest, felt mean spirited and cold. And Pete … I just didn’t like him.
Of all the characters, Bella and Hook were my favorites. Through Hook’s chapters I learned more and more of his backstory, which author Spinale did a great job of! And Bella, even though she’s a tough cookie, I saw the soft side of her. I sympathized for her, so her struggles, and felt that she was a completely honest character.
I feel like I could go on and on about Everland. While the book wasn’t for me, I see the value in this book. Fans of Peter Pan and all the various retellings will love this book. And even if you aren’t a Peter Pan fan, read it! And let’s discuss!
(Cover image from GoodReads)