I was excited to receive a copy of Lost Boy, the latest novel from Christina Henry. I was familiar with Christina Henry’s previous work which includes Alice and Red Queen, which are dark retellings of the Alice in Wonderland stories. In this latest novel, we have a retelling of Peter Pan, and I was intrigued to find out more.
‘Once I was young, and young forever and always, until I wasn’t. Once I loved a boy called Peter Pan’
The only version of Peter Pan I am really familiar with is the Disney version so with Lost Boy I got a completely different perspective on this classic story. It is narrated by a boy called Jamie, the first and favourite boy that Peter brought with him to the island. Through Jamie’s story we get to see how his relationship with Peter has developed, and how he fits into the hierarchy of boys on the island. I immediately warmed to Jamie, and was intrigued to find out how things would turn out for him. In comparison to some of the other lost boys, Jamie seemed to be much more mature, and was tasked with keeping things in order and looking after the others. His concern for the groups’ youngest member, Charlie, was particularly strong. But the island is no place for a young boy, and with danger seemingly at every turn, the boys end up fighting to protect themselves, sometimes fighting with one and other. Events for the group descend into further violence and tragedy, and this only increases in intensity when Peter’s true colours are brought to light…
As the prologue hints at events to come I was interested to read on and quickly found myself absorbed into this dark and twisted world. It is a world in which a young boy considered a leader and a saviour turns out to be far more unsavoury, with a cruelty that lurks behind his actions. This unnerving atmosphere and sense of danger is portrayed throughout and Christina Henry’s writing successfully evokes a difficult life for the boys within a harsh and unforgiving land. The boys are faced with danger from the ‘Many-Eyed’ who roam the island along with pirates, crocodiles and each other. As a result there is plenty of bloodshed and some moments which made for uncomfortable reading as the true extent of the lost boys’ troubles is revealed. As these grisly events occur it is clear that Jamie is contemplating his relationship with Peter and his role amongst the group, and he is forced to reflect on long hidden memories, memories of the time he left the ‘Other Place’ behind to become Peter’s much loved and trusted companion. What we discover over the course of the novel is the origins of a friendship built on sinister ground, the subsequent fallout, and the making of a villain.
I enjoyed Lost Boy and found it to be an engaging read which offered a dark and disturbing take on a much loved tale.
Lost Boy was published on 4th July 2017 by Titan Books. Many thanks to Titan Books for providing a copy for review.