Review: Peter Darling by Austin Chant

33358438Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

I was expecting a lot of this book – I mean, a Peter Pan retelling where Peter is a trans man? That sounded really, really cool (plus, I loved Coffee Boy by the same author), so I was excited to read it. Fortunately, I got an e-ARC through NetGalley and was able to read right away.

And it was just delightful.

(I think this is the first time in a while that I get excited about a book and it doesn’t disappoint me! Yay!)

I have to admit, through, that I didn’t like Peter that much at first. I couldn’t understand him at all or understand why he wanted to disturb the peace that reigned over Neverland so much, going so far at to put the Lost Boys’ lives at risk – but that was the point, I think, though I can’t say more because spoilers. By the end of the book, I had grown to like & relate to him a lot, which says a lot about his development/character growth.

Before hearing about this book, I had never, ever, thought about Peter and Hook in a romance, but after finishing it I’m glad to say it’s the kind of thing you just don’t know you need until it’s in front of you. Peter and Hook’s relationship was really well developed for such a short book, though I did wish the story had been longer. Don’t get me wrong – Chant did a wonderful job here, but I wanted, well, more. I feel like the book as a whole would’ve been better if it were a bit longer.

One of the best moments of the story, though, was the twist about Neverland at the end. Damn, that made me go :OOOO. I really wasn’t expecting for anything like that, but it gave the book so much more meaning and made me feel so much about the characters. It was just so smart and so different from what I’d have expected of a fairy tale retelling. Again, I can’t say anything because spoilers, but it was really, really great.

Peter Darling is a wonderful story. It has amazing characters and relationships, and as non-binary person, I loved Peter’s character and storyline. Plus, it still is a great fantasy adventure. 4.5 stars for Peter Darling.

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