Book Review: Everland by Wendy Spinale

EverlandEverland by Wendy Spinale

Published by Scholastic Press on May 10, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Retelling

Pages: 320 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

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?

 With the combination of steampunk and alternate history, Wendy Spinale brings us a riveting retelling of Peter Pan in her debut, Everland. London has been ravaged by bombs and disease while the majority of those left living are children and Captain Hook searches for a cure to leave this forsaken place. The Darlings may hold the key to survival but there’s no safe place in Everland.

Peter Pan is my favorite children’s classic and I love venturing into reimaginings of this dark and gritty tale. While most stories tend to present a more happy ideal, this one does not shy away from the harshness of the source material.  Plus its inventive, providing plenty of twists within the narrative to make it stand on its own merits. Spinale’s steampunk setting was the perfect choice and I definitely need more books like it.

Obviously the characters are the most familiar part of this story. There’s Gwen Darling, who must take care of and provide for her siblings, Joanna and Mikey, while Pete has an entire secret city, with Bella and the Lost Boys, that he’s in charge of. Captain Hook is the heir to the German Empire, responsible for the destruction of London, and trying to make his own mark.

It was such an intense story of survival. Each character faces the prospect of death with family members already lost and dwindling resources. Plus a disease that appears to not be stopped by anything. It really captured the inner moral struggle of putting yourself first or protecting the people you care about. The weight of responsibility plays a heavy role in this tale and Spinale portrays does it justice.

Overall Everland by Wendy Spinale was a great book and an impressive retelling. Gwen, Pete, and the rest really took root in my heart and this journey of survival was handled so well. The steampunk setting took this book to a whole other level and it was such a creative twist to the original. If you love anything Peter Pan or steampunk, definitely give this book a go!

So have you read Everland by Wendy Spinale? Is Peter Pan one of your favorites? Have you read any other Peter Pan retellings that I need to pick up? Let me know in the comments below!


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