The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse




I had high expectations for this novel. Between the cover, description, and early praise, it seemed like this book would be a knockout. A retelling of Peter Pan that would finally not be corny or lack luster. If only the novel itself held up to the hype. Instead of a diamond, it was a piece of grave: ugly, rough, and just enough sparkle to make you wonder what could have been. The entire novel fell flat, which was disappointing to say the least. It was bland, which is almost worse than if it was poorly written.


Plot

Gwen, a teen, is trapped in an average life teetering on the cusp of adulthood. She is dreading growing up. One day her younger sister is kidnapped and the world as she knew it crumbled around her. Magic, and Peter Pan, are real. The adults know about it and want to control it. It oddly powers all forms of technology that we know (cell phones, etc). Pan lets the children use it willy-nilly, so he is a major threat to the supply. The adults have basically declared war on him as a result. On the same day of Gwen discovering magic, Pan comes back to take her sister. Chaos ensues, which culminates in Gwen going to Neverland herself.



Characters


Gwen

I was not a fan of Gwen. I wanted to like her, I promise I did, but she kept feeling flat to me. She was too much of a teenager to where she began to feel like a trope. She was pretty static as for as MC's go. Her only redeeming quality was where she would interact with Peter.

Peter Pan
He had so much potential. He was a slightly dynamic character, which is much more than be said for the rest in this novel. I love that he has been slowly aging due to travelling to the regular world. I thought that was a fresh twist regarding his character. I also prefer any time Pan is displayed as a teen. Typically makes the stories more interesting. Peter wanted to keep his magic, and thusly had a one track mind at time. He had two modes, serious and play. Obviously he preferred play, but this definitely caused the novel to be bland at times. I did enjoy his interaction with Gwen. It was apparent that initially he was not fond of her, and was incredibly sassy as a result. The amount of character development with him was nice to see. He was the only slightly thought out character.

Minor Characters
None of the minor characters were well done. Honestly, one could be substituted for another and it would make no difference to the narrative. They were flat and static. It was definitely one of the largest areas that detracted from the novel.

Romance
This novel really wanted a romance. It tried so hard. But unlike the Little Train that Could, this novel could not pull it off. Instead, there was an infatuation/lust with the primary romantic focus. The secondary romantic focus was actually somewhat developed, but was not given enough time with the MC. I just did not understand the attraction to Jay. So much so that I thought the entire ending/climax of the novel was going to turn into a Carrie-esque prank. Either that, or he would try to kill her. Sadly neither of those potential plot twists came to fruitation. There was 0 romance involved. Hell, there was not even friendship really. It was just a case of a crush and extreme lust. As for Peter and Gwen, I somewhat enjoyed how it developed. It actually did have development and progression. However, there was not enough of it. I am assuming it will be the highlight of the sequel, but I wish the author had given the readers more in the one.

Over-all, this novel was not close to being perfect. It was incredibly flawed, some of which were nearly unforgiveable (looking at you lack of wars). However, it would be a good read for younger ages. It was pretty clean compared to most YA these days. Even I will be picking up the sequel to give it a chance. I am hoping the author will grow and most of the errors and kinks will be worked out in it.

*I received a free copy of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

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