Review: Everland-Wendy Spinale
Book 1 of 3
London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.
Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?
"The only way to grow up is to survive."
I don't know why it took me so long to read this, but I'm glad I finally did. I saw this book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble plenty of times, always doubting that I would like it. But I got it in my LitCube box for the Peter Pan theme month and decided it was time to crack it open.
Everland is not at all what I was expecting. Usually when I read Peter Pan retelling, they still very much resemble the original story, but this one is so different yet it has important aspects that was kept from the original story. Did that make sense?
The take on steampunk was a great idea. Its never been done before-as far as I know-and worked well with the plot. It adds machinery and other things that make the story good. I did feel like the steampunk wasn't front and center, though. It felt more dystopian with a hint of steampunk added in. I loved what steampunk there was. I don't normally read that genre, so it was an eye opener to that kind of world. The set up for this world is great. I loved how everything is broken down, it's scary and you never know if you'll get another meal or thrown in the sewers for the crocodiles to eat you.
Gwen is such a strong character, but she doesn't yet realize it. She's been dealt with a raw hand and to see her have the lives of her two younger siblings on her shoulders is sad. She goes through a lot to keep them all safe and fed. Of course, she's bitter about it. She's the oldest, so the responsibility would be handed to her. It's a tough world out there, as what was known as London is now Everland, a dangerous place where marauder inhabit the land and kill children who aren't smart enough to stay away. I liked how despite her bitterness, Gwen would do anything to get her siblings back.
"What more is left here for you but faith?" Pete says, extending a hand to me from the open window.
"And a little bit of pixie dust," Bella adds, pouring the rest of the gold into my hand."
Pete-who is Peter-was adorable. I liked how he was still boyish in attitude, but underneath he's more adult than he'd like. Everyone had to grow up after the virus went out, killing every adult (minus some). But I loved that he was still cute and young despite having to take care of a lot of people and things.
I adored Gwen and Pete together. Gwen is unsure about him and why he would be helping her, especially in this world where helping could come with another demand. Nothing is free. And Pete just wants to save everybody.
"Pete tilts my chin up. The lantern lights his handsome face and green eyes that remind me of the color of lucky clovers. "You are a Lost Girl."
Bella is feisty, much like TinkerBell, yet she was little and sick and just wanted a friend. Who wasn't a boy. I felt for her, and though there was little jealousy, it wasn't for the same reason as TinkerBell. I loved her wings. They're mechanical and pretty.
Hook. Oh, man. Hook. He's not an old pirate in this one. He's only a few years older than Pete himself. I thought he was just an angry dude with wanted to impress his mommy. But there is so much more to Hook than first seen, which I loved. It really gave depth to his character. Plus, he could be downright scary at times.
"I'm certain my reptilian pets would relish fresh meat instead of the rotting corpses that inhabit the sewers," I say, pulling the hammer back again.
This story is told from both Gwen's and Hook's POV. which I loved surprisingly. This world was captivating, from the characters to the setting. I felt like I was really there. It's hard to see (read) them go through so much stuff that kids shouldn't have to. I can't wait for the rest.