Narrator: David Stifel
Publisher: JeremiahKleckner JeremyMarshall (2015)
Length: 4 hours 56 minutes
Series: Book 1 Captain James Hook
This is the story of how young bookish James Hoodkins became the wicked pirate Captain Hook. It’s a tale full of tricks, escapes, defeats, captures, treasure, Never Never Land, and lost love. After giving this book a listen, I, too, wanted to hunt Peter Pan down and tie him to the main mast.
The story starts off in Port Royal in the Caribbean, probably in the 1600s or 1700s. At first, it reads a bit like a historical fiction, which I enjoyed. Young James is a scholarly kid and much more into books than into sword fighting or sailing. His mother quite enjoys telling him fantastical tales right before bedtime or during his bouts of illness. So, of course, when Peter Pan makes his first appearance in James’s life, he has no problem believing.
James’s father is not the coddling sort and makes a final decision, against the wishes of both wife and son, to take James on his next sailing venture. James’s best friend will be going with him, so at least he has that. James makes a sweet farewell to his friend (and perhaps more than friend) Emily. As you might imagine, the venture doesn’t go as planned and little by little we see how the quiet, timid, sweet James Hoodkins turns into the bold, wretched, determined Captain Hook.
There’s death and romance, sword fights and alligators, pirate treasure and the English Navy. The fantasy elements are firmly grounded in events that could have really happened in our world. This lent a gravity to the story that made me appreciate it all the more. I read Barrie’s original Peter Pan novel sometime ago. I enjoyed it, though it was written for its age and contained touches of racism and sexism. It was very refreshing to have all the awesome bits of the tale without the disappointing bits in this fascinating retelling.
There are only two female characters in this tale but the authors write them well. We only get a few glimpses of James’s mom but she is her own character. We see much more of Emily and she has even more personality. Both women leave an indelible mark on the man who becomes Captain Hook.
I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the narrator (via Audiobook Blast) in exchange for an honest review.
Narration: David Stifel did an excellent job bringing this story to life. Over the course of the book, James goes from a pretty mellow kid to a hardened pirate. Stifel hardened the character’s voice as the tale went along and that was well done! He also had this great voice for Peter Pan being a youngish, mostly oblivious voice. His female character voices were believable.
What I Liked: A great retelling of a classic; a villain’s origin story!; starts off like a historical fiction; great cover art; great narration; the development of Cpt. Hook; the ending leaves room for a sequel.
What I Disliked: Nothing – I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
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