Book Review: The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown
When I stumbled upon this book by pure coincidence a few weeks ago, I was immediately struck by the cover art. To be perfectly honest, that was probably 75% of the reason why I decided to give the story a try. I know, I know - don't judge a book by its cover and all that. But I can't help myself. I'm an artist. I love pretty pictures, and I especially love pretty book covers. I mean, that's the entire point of a cover anyway, isn't it? To draw people in? And fortunately, this book is far more than just a pretty cover.
The story is a retelling of Peter Pan that centers on protagonist Wendy Darling, reimagined here as an orphan with big dreams of adventure who eventually ends up working for England's military in the fight against magical forces. Facing rigid societal gender expectations at every turn, Wendy is often severely underestimated, which she uses to her advantage on more than one occasion. Captain James Hook proves to be a worthy adversary for our heroine, and the constant battle of wills between them as each character attempts to out-manipulate the other makes for a fun read. Other important characters from J. M. Barrie's classic tale also make significant appearances throughout the story, including Peter Pan himself, Tinker Bell, John, Michael, and even loyal canine companion Nana. The story draws on enough familiar elements from the original to feel recognizable while introducing its own unique concepts to create a balanced, well-crafted retelling that keeps readers engaged from the very first page.
All elements of the writing itself are excellent. The story moves along at a brisk pace without slowing down for dry, unnecessary descriptions, yet I never had any problems imagining exactly where I was or what was happening. You can tell that a lot of historical research and careful attention to detail went into creating the setting. One of my favorite things about the book was how the narrator felt like a character in their own right, with a keen wit and a sharp sense of humor that added something extra special to the story. I'm always a little wary of 3rd-person omniscient narrators, but it was done so exceptionally well here, and in such a way that the story couldn't have been the same without it.
I'm so grateful I found this book. It completely captivated me. I read it in less than 24 hours, and it was a joy every step of the way. Honesty, my only complaint is that I have no idea how long I'll have to wait for the next book, and I want more now. I can already tell this is going to become one of my new favorite series.