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review 2018-02-05 03:05
Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Peter Darling - Austin Chant

Ten years ago, Peter left Neverland behind in order to go back to his family, who he hoped would finally accept him as he was. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out as well as he'd hoped, and in the book's present he's gone back to Neverland.

Peter seems to think that he can slide back into his old life in Neverland without any trouble, but things have changed since he left. The Lost Boys have a new leader and have become much more peaceful in Peter's absence, and Peter's efforts to "play war" now have more horrible and deadly consequences. The one person in Neverland who seems to genuinely like that Peter is back and shaking things up is his old nemesis, Hook.

I'm not really a Peter Pan fan, but I do like portal fantasies, and the enemies-to-lovers aspect intrigued me. I maybe should have paid more attention to the book's description, though, because the first half of the book had a lot more violence and bloodshed than I was expecting. Although it wasn't hard to guess the root of Peter's need to "play war" even over the Lost Boys' objections, I got frustrated with Peter and found myself wishing that someone (like Tinkerbell) would tell him to quit it before people got killed.

The second half of the book worked better for me. I enjoyed learning more about Neverland, although those revelations never completely took the sting out of the results of the big battle between Peter and the Lost Boys and Hook and his pirates. The progression of Peter and Hook/James from enemies to lovers was still very nice, and I really liked how things worked out in the end.

Since the review that put this on my radar mentioned Every Heart a Doorway, I couldn't help but think of that book too. I very much preferred the way Peter Darling's Neverland was set up as opposed to the fantasy worlds in Every Heart a Doorway, if only because I still dislike how things turned out for Kade in his world.

All in all, this wasn't entirely my cup of tea, but I'm now looking forward to reading Chant's Coffee Boy even more.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2018-01-27 18:31
Reading progress update: I've read 204 out of 204 pages.
Peter Darling - Austin Chant

I'll probably be giving this 3.5 stars. I liked the second half a lot more than the first. I understand why Peter acted the way he did in the first half, but it made for difficult reading, and I really just wanted Tinkerbell or somebody to tell Peter to back off and maybe try playing something other than "war" for a bit.

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text 2018-01-24 13:34
Reading progress update: I've read 84 out of 204 pages.
Peter Darling - Austin Chant

Nobody's having much fun anymore, not even Hook. There is a lot more death in this than I expected.

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text 2018-01-23 12:42
Reading progress update: I've read 64 out of 204 pages.
Peter Darling - Austin Chant

I really hope that Peter mellows out soon, because I keep having to grit my teeth every time he talks about wanting to "play war." Tinkerbell is right, he really hasn't grown up. And it's really annoying. At least Hook is having fun, I guess.

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review 2018-01-20 17:21
Austin Chant - Peter Darling
Peter Darling - Austin Chant
Peter Pan escapes the world that wants him to stay Wendy Darling and flees to Neverland. But even games of Lost Boys and pirates can't last forever; even a Prince of Neverland has to grow up.
 
I liked how Chant handles Hook, showing him as the vicious, dastardly pirate and humanising him bit by bit. I also liked that we get to see a unstable version of Peter – a lonely boy playing war games to distract him from his pain. And I liked what little sex those two have on page; it's not much and not all that explicit, but it's sensual and intimate, a far cry above the usual porny, „kissing, blowjob, insert cock in anus“-choreography used in so many, far too many, m/m romances.
 
As per usual with these romance offerings, the story is very short, and feels rushed, the first half especially. I'd liked a bit more time to explore. Neverland has never been a simple, happy-go-lucky place, there was always a darker undercurrent; even the sugar-coated Disney version couldn't erase this completely. It's hinted at here, but it's not as visceral as it could have been.
 
The writing could've been a bit more polished, the book needs better proofreading, but overall it was a pleasant read, and Chant might be an author to watch.

 

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