My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I never thought I’d find myself cheering so hard for Captain Hook. Wendy Darling: Seas takes us aboard the Sudden Night where Wendy and Michael are held captive amongst Hook’s crew. Captive is a strong word because, once they get into the plot, Wendy and Michael become part of the crew. The mission is simple, both Wendy and Hook want to stop Peter Pan’s reign of terror over Neverland. They can only do this by combining their efforts and knowledge of Pan to exploit his weaknesses.
I applaud Oakes’ realistic portrayal of the pirates. It’s not a watered-down version of sea-faring men. Even on the first night, Hook tells Wendy not to get herself violated and takes special precautions to make sure she’s kept safe. These men a rough, savage killers who listen only to their captain (some don’t even do that) and obey the old wives’ tales of the sea. You can tell how much research went into writing this novel, and it’s appreciated. She also didn’t skip over Wendy’s feelings and sexual awakening, which was blossoming in the first book. Wendy still acknowledges her feelings and desires, and I’m glad to see this done without shame or guilt.
The characters are beautifully developed. Even the smallest ones have their little quirks, which makes them memorable in a large crew. I found myself connecting with these men, cheering for them, and really feeling the push-and-pull battle of Lost Boys versus pirates. You’ve seen the Lost Boys’ struggle in the first book. Now, you’re getting to see the pirates’ battle. There isn’t one side that heavily outweighs the other. Each has their downfalls. Each tugs at your heart. No one wins in war.
Hook was my favorite character by far. I found myself swooning over him, but it’s made very clear by the end that Wendy sees him as an older, fatherly figure. Hook is a suave yet disturbed man who has given up so much to protect all of Neverland. His efforts go unrewarded and are constantly met with betrayal. That’s what happens when you’re at the top—someone’s always trying to take your head. He could have sat down with Wendy and explained everything about Peter to her in one scene, but he makes her work for the information and prove that she wants it. Hook almost plays a mind game with her as it was done with him, forcing Wendy to relive the memories until she comes up with answers to his questions. He’s much like a Sherlockian detective in that way, obsessive and tricky.
The settings are poetic. Everything comes alive on the page—the crash of the ocean, the flick of a mermaid’s tail, the blush rising in a lady’s cheek. The description of the mermaids and their lagoon was my favorite. I cannot get the image of the mermaid queen with her peacock-colored tail and marble skin out of my mind. It’s so vicious and yet beautiful. The Sudden Night itself is like a character as it comes alive around the crew. I don’t want to give too much about the ship away! That’s for the reader to discover with fresh eyes. Each place we’re taken is a new adventure with memorable side plots. Also, the reader constantly shown and not told about the lore and past, which makes for an exciting ride. I was whizzing through this book!
Seas leaves us on another cliffhanger, and I’m desperate to get to the ending. It will be amazing.
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