Arc provided by St. Martin's Press through Netgalley
Release Date: 8th July
I was drawn to this story mostly due to this amazing synopsis.
C'mmon! Who wouldn't want to read a story in which one of "history's" famous rivals get their "social roles" switched?
So yes, when it comes to the premise of this story, this would get a five star rating.
Also, let me just say that: the quality of the writing is indisputable.
However, the grand quantity of nautical references _No, I'm not ignoring where the story takes place, and that almost all the characters are sailors _ after a while, started grating on my nerves, since the story drags quite a bit without anything of actual relevance actually happening.
Not being keen on being immersed _no pun intended _ in such a nautical language, I'll have to say that through most of this, its reading wasn't as smooth as I was hoping. But this was my experience with it, and hopefully other readers will enjoy it more than I did.
I'll even admit that this feels as the type of story that will probably improve with a couple of re-readings... especially when combined with more time and patience.
The thing is, calling this fantasy is just the tip of the iceberg. This reads as a complex narrative in which a long number of discussions are held:
When do we grow up? How do we grow up? What is the importance of myths and quests in our formative years, and so on and on...
Someone with a clearer understanding of psychology will probably have a wonderful time dissecting this story, and all its symbology.
But, for now, and keeping my feet on the ground on what I actually felt while reading this, I'll say that the way the initial narrative is told, with its switching temporal perspectives, mostly didn't work for me...
It broke the fluidity of the story, especially since Hook's background ended up being more important than the actual storyline.
Yes, both time frames are important: The past, since it formed the person he is today, and the present, to see how he has dealt with what has been happening to him.
However, Hook's character is mostly so unappealing that, at times, it ended up being a double task...
Do not get me wrong: I like being given a character's background, and considering the story's developments, it was necessary to be told. I can't however help feeling that the POVs told in the past tense should have been quite shorter in order to not clog the story.
Then when it comes to the fantasy retelling per se, I'm afraid this story lacks its own proper magic.
Yes, there are fairies, mermaids, fairy dust, flying boys, and things of the sort in it, but the language and the way the story is told is just too prosaic to actually enchant a reader.
Truth be told, after awhile, I became tired of Hook's voice and of all his angsty moments. He's sufficiently annoying as he is, without having to resort to sporadic bouts of YA drama!
Dual points of views are sometimes tricky, but in this case _maybe from Stella's POV_ it would have helped keeping things more interesting throughout the narrative.
Among the positives I liked how the author was able to connect all of the plot's "dots", until the unexpected ending.
I liked that, while I was reading it, I was basically clueless as to where this story was going to turn.
And I especially liked how the story ends...
Bottom Line: A very promising story that could probably have benefited from another editing, creating a more balanced equilibrium between the overwhelming historical feeling of it, and the fantasy genre in which it should have "swimmed".
As it is, the fantasy bit was somewhat crushed beneath the somewhat more historical facet.
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