First of all, this book upset me in a way that most books are never capable of doing. I know a lot of reviewers who will immediately up their rating for a book if it hits them hard, because they consider it a sign of a talented author, and while I can understand that point of view, I don’t agree with it for my own reviews. I DNF’d this at 60% but my general rule of thumb is that panning a book at 30%-onward warrants a review.
WHAT I LIKED ➳➳
Lost Boy has an interesting premise (the origins story of Captain Hook), and Christina’s writing style itself is very lovely and captivating.
WHAT I DISLIKED ➳➳
First of all, let me preface this by saying that, if this book were being marketed solely as an adult fantasy novel, my problems with it wouldn’t be so easy to justify, and I’d probably just throw it on the DNF shelf, type up a few quick lines for NetGalley, and leave it alone. That said, while I love macabre retellings and the excerpts of Christina’s Alice retellings delighted me entirely, this was too much for me, and I can’t personally fathom marketing this to the younger end of the YA crowd. The majority of the marketing I’ve seen has been pushing this towards the YA spectrum, which doesn’t affect my rating, but did make me feel like it was worth reviewing to give potential readers a heads up.
The book starts off right from the beginning with nonstop death and violence regarding young boys, but what really bothered me the most was the wicked vendetta that Peter and some of the other boys had against Charlie, a 5-year-old the group had recently added to the crew. (*SPOILER* they stole him from his loving family, rather than “saving” him from an abusive household or orphanage *END SPOILER*) While I can appreciate the thought process that writing this horrifically dreadful narrative about how terrified Jamie (Hook) is for Charlie’s life may just be another creepy horror subplot, I felt like Christina took it way too far.
I will absolutely still read Christina’s Alice retellings and give her other work a chance, and if you aren’t bothered by child abuse, child death, children murdering other children, etc., then have at it. I personally couldn’t stomach it and would probably not ever be willing to finish this title in the future.
Thank you to NetGalley and the kind people at Berkley Books for providing me with an ARC. All thoughts in this review are my own honest opinions.