The Neverland Wars: Beautiful Prose, But Not Enough Plot

bookreview

The Neverland Wars

Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

The Neverland Wars (Book 1)
Retellings/Fantasy/YA
302 Pages
Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date:  May 9th, 2016
Get a copy here!

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: super descriptive, beautiful prose; not much in the way of actual story; interesting, vibrantly written characters; a lot happens, but I didn’t feel like much of anything happened; love how much we saw of the fairies; the ending was sort of abrupt and weird

Look, penguins–ANOTHER book review! Are you all proud of me for actually sitting down and getting some reading done? I haven’t finished a book in so long, and today (or, rather, today for me, which….isn’t today for you all but still), I finished off two! YAY ME!

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Unfortunately, this retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales fell a bit flat for me overall. But let’s start with first things first: the prose. Audrey Greathouse wove some gorgeous, stunning imagery throughout this read. There were many times throughout these pages I found myself in awe of the beautiful, captivating AMOUNT of detail she managed to sneak into every sentence–it was as if every one of my five senses was awakened and heightened. I was transported into this world–or, at least, into Neverland, which is where Audrey Greathouse’s imagery really pays off.

However, I felt as if–while it seems a lot happens within the course of this journey–there wasn’t really a story taking place at all. While Gwen is both captivating and entertaining as a character, she is also stuck in the midway place between child- and adulthood. This makes for an interesting and complex point of view…but also a stifled, sometimes confusing one. Gwen is struggling to come to grips with a lot of things in this book, and I felt that the action was perhaps a bit lagging to focus instead on her relationship with her little sister…and her struggles to make peace with what’s happening around her. It was a fun, enthralling read–but I don’t feel like much story was told in the end.

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The characters were vibrantly written and complex, however. The relationships explored throughout–between Peter and the lost children, Peter and the mermaids, Gwen and the mermaids… All of them helped to mold and shape my opinions of them as individuals and as a cohesive group. It was especially interesting to watch Gwen interact, as sort of a hovering outsider–someone not quite on the inside, but not on the periphery either. Her reactions and interactions were both endearing and entertaining.

In the end, this was just an okay retelling for me. The prose is gorgeous and descriptive, but I felt the story fell very flat. The characters were intriguing, though, and Neverland came to life for me in a new and exciting way. I was curious about the war between reality and Neverland they kept alluding to…but unfortunately wasn’t given as many answers in this book as I’d hoped. I’d still recommend this to lovers of Peter Pan, retellings, and dystopian/fantasies. This was a fun and complex journey; I just wish I’d enjoyed it a little bit more.

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9 thoughts on “The Neverland Wars: Beautiful Prose, But Not Enough Plot

  1. I LOVE your penguin pictures 🙂 they’re so cute! I’ve been wanting to read this book, and I love beautiful writing, but I don’t like the lack of a story 😦 I’m not sure if I’ll give it a try right now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aren’t they just the absolute sweetest things EVER?! I mean, maybe they’d be better with cupcakes….but they’re pretty sweet on their own, I think. 😉

      Yeah, unfortunately there’s a huge lack of plot in this, I felt–I’m hoping the next book in the series will help rectify that, as this has HUGE potential.

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  2. I agree with pretty much everything you said here. The writing was great, but not much happened. I felt as though the blurb on the back made the book sound much more intense than it really was. Plus, I had a hard time getting myself to enjoy Gwen as the protagonist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Gwen was just…. I dunno, I couldn’t connect with her personally. I felt she was trying TOO hard to be “grown up and mature” without actually knowing how to manage those things. Which, I mean…I guess makes sense? But she was so flighty, lol. It wasn’t a great mix of personality traits I don’t think.

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      • Right? It’s hard to describe her. I read the book over the summer, so I forget some things, but I felt as though her “development” was rushed in a way. She kept flip-flopping between what she wanted. And it’s okay to be undecided, but after a while it just gets annoying.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, exactly! I expected her to…I dunno, make more strides near the end of the book? Except she didn’t. Instead, she rushed off back to Peter, and I was left all sorts of confused because I hadn’t gotten that sense from her at all throughout the book. I felt like she just sort of…ran away? instead of making an actual decision.

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      • It was anti-climactic, definitely. The sequel is coming out in February and I got an ARC for it. I’m looking forward to reading it because I did enjoy the author’s writing style and I’m hoping that the characters may redeem themselves a bit. I’m also curious if there will be more plot…

        Liked by 1 person

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