Review: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Review: Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
Alias Hook
by Lisa Jensen

Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Retelling
Publication date: July 8th, 2014
by Thomas Dunne Books

Format: Paperback

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"Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy."

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Alias Hook has gotten so much praise and given everything I had heard, I was curious about this book and wondered if it would live up to the praise it had received. I am not a hundred percent sure it did. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book, but I also struggled with it which is why I cannot say it’s the best book I’ve ever read.

Alias Hook starts off painfully slow. The writing style was pretty but I didn’t get sucked in by it. It just seemed prose-y to me and made my reading experience excruciating. To add to that, the pacing was slow so while I liked the setting and I liked what the author was doing with the world building, I couldn’t really get into the book until half way through. To add to that, because the writing wasn’t working for me, I couldn’t really picture some of the more imaginative things in the novel.

Once I hit that half way mark though, I was sucked in by the book. That was when things turned around. Maybe at that point I got used to the writing and was able to appreciate the book but whatever the case, after that halfway mark, this book just became infinitely better for me.

Captain Hook is a character I won’t be forgetting any time soon. The author takes her time developing him and it shows. The details which have gone into showing us what made Captain Hook the person he is today are evident. He is a fantastic character and one I loved reading about. Jensen’s original take on his character made me excited and it was so easy to sympathize with him. Moreover, I just loved the development he underwent over the course of the book. At the beginning of the book, I sympathized with him even if I didn’t like him (Pan is SCARY) but by the end of the book, I loved him. He is such a sweetheart. Can you imagine that word being used to describe Hook? It works in this case though. He is smart, a little rough around the edges but really a great guy underneath all of that.

His supporting lady was equally awesome. Stella is a fantastic character who isn’t just casted as a romantic interest but rather a person. She gets a back story too, we get to know her better and even she undergoes some development. There were some things about her past revealed that did weird me out a little but sometimes you just got to role with it. I love how loyal she was to Hook and I love that she is also smart in her own right (and a little history nerd!).

The romance between the two (*gasp* Hook in love? What’s next, Hook on Ice?) is beautifully done. I don’t lie when I say it’s one of the best ones I’ve read this year. It’s so heartfelt and it’s developed so beautifully. You cannot help but want to ship these two damaged characters!

My biggest problem with the plot, as I mentioned earlier, was the pacing. I was bored out of my mind for a good chunk of the book, but on the other hand, I cannot help but want to give this book credit for its rather original take on the Peter Pan fairy tale. Whoever said young boys who live forever cannot be scary? (In fact who said they aren’t??) There are elements to the way the plot is laid out that will make you want to high five the author. I’d say, even with my issues, that the author does do justice to the fairy tale and brings it to life in a completely different but fascinating way.

The ending is the one thing I am of two minds about. On one hand, I loved it! On the other hand, I wondered about the way we got no explanations about certain things. I don’t think I’d say the ending was rushed or anything, I just think more time could have been spent on it to show the readers how things worked out.

This is a very compelling re-telling of Peter Pan and it is one I would definitely recommend but with a note of caution in regards to the slowness of the first half of the book. I was not thoroughly enchanted by this one as many readers were but I finished the book with a giant smile on my face and what else can you ask for?

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
World-building
Romance
Ending
Overall: 3.7
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Rashika

Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).

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  1. says

    I was curious about this one last year when it released, but I had recently read another Peter Pan retelling that featured Hook, and it was a bit like this painfully slow and I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. I think I will pass on this, even though it is different. I don’t want another slow read.
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  2. says

    I’m surprised that I never heard of this book before, considering I often like a retelling where the ‘bad guy’ became the main focus. But after I read your review about it, I’m not sure I want to read this book, since I kinda hate slow pacing. Maybe I’ll try it someday!

    Great review! :)

  3. says

    LMAO. I don’t mind reading about Hook on Ice actually :P Ooh, I love the sound of Hook’s love interest and I’m glad she has more substance that just being, well, Hook’s love interest. It’s actually interesting to read about an in love Hook! I’m not too sure about the pacing though…I get bored easily lately and the pacing might not be for me. I’m glad you still enjoyed this though, Rashika, even when a good chunk of the first half was just painfully slow. Awesome review! PS. I love the cover :)
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  4. says

    Oh Rashika you’ve got me at a crossroad. This one sounds unbelievably entertaining and I love the idea of reading something from this perspective (my inner five year old CRAVES it) but i can’t deal with a slow read right now. Hmmmm…decisions….decisions….
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  5. says

    OMGOSH A RETELLING OF HOOK?! I’m not sure where I stand on the prose-y language use – it works sometimes and other times it doesn’t, so I guess I’ll have to see for myself. I absolutely ADORE retellings though, and to get some background into Hook sounds amazing. I love the transformation that he seems to go through…I can’t even imagine loving him in the end so you’ve hooked me on that premise Rashika! Eep, so curious about this book! Thanks for sharing lovely xx
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  6. says

    I tried reading this book last year and I still haven’t finished it. It started interesting enough but Hook bored me to no end, and the pacing made it feel like reading a school history textbook, but ten times worse. While I sympathized with him like you mentioned, it just couldn’t keep my attention long enough before I started skipping paragraphs at first and then pages. Though now I’m intrigued to finish it some time soon and see the end and romance develop like you mentioned. I’m glad at least that you liked it. I hope it does pick up a bit next time I read it. Thanks for the great review! :)
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