Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Rating: 2.5 stars
Published: February 2nd 2016
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.
But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.
The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.
With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?
Once Upon a Time spoiled/ruined me for this book. Honestly, OUAT isn't the best show (I haven't watched since Elsa/Anna and the rest of Frozen joined), but it had its good moments. Captain Guyliner, or should I say Captain Hook of OUAT, was the dashing villain-turned-hero. Emma Swan was the butt-kicking Savior of Storybrooke, and Captain Hook is her love interest. It took a few seasons, but there was decent character development on this show. Not that I'm comparing the two Captain Hooks, but one cannot fail to think of this guy when his name is brought up.
Upon reading Unhooked, I noticed several things this book lacked. Where was my character development, my intelligent heroines, and the unpredictability? Maybe I can't read Neverland books without my mind immediately going to - "Peter Pan is the bad guy!" It was obvious where this was headed, and I figured it out quicker than the heroine of our lovely tale, Gwen. It went a little bit like this:
- Not bad guy tries to convince heroine he is good guy
- Bad guy actually manages to convince heroine he is good guy
- Heroine screws up, realizes not bad guy is actually the good guy
- Fight scenes
- More fight scenes, death happens
- Happy ending
Speaking of Gwen, she wasn't exactly the smartest heroine, although she did get slightly redeemable in the ending. HOWEVER. The whole back and forth between Rowan and Pan - even without watching OUAT, it was pretty clear who the bad guy was. The guy was charming the pants of her best friend and turning her against Gwen. And yet, she still believed him. Logic?
Plus, just this.
"No," I moan unable to take my eyes from Owen's still body. Because I know his death was partially my fault. Maybe even entirely my fault.
...Rowan/Hook, why would you be attracted to the girl who got your crew mates killed?
To top it off, I didn't really get a feel for the characters, who felt very cardboard to me. Not much going on there. Not much explanation on how Olivia is bffs with Gwen, Will and Rowan got each others backs (apparently but that vibe wasn't obvious), and the Queen was very "humans suck they must die" without much reasoning behind.
Fairytale retellings just aren't working out for me.