Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Reads: ARC Review of Never Never by Brianna Shrum!!

Hello there guys!!

Friday is here! And since I am on vacation I kinda needed the reminder because days kinda run into each other and I'm not sure what day of the week they are anymore!

I don't have any big plans for this weekend other than reading and packing for my London trip that starts on Monday!

As this week's Friday Reads I have a review of an ARC that is one of the few new books I read during September (which also means that I'm quite behind on my ARCs reading...) and since it's also a retelling of Peter Pan debut, it counts towards my 2015 Debut Author Challenge!





Never NeverNever Never by Brianna Shrum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I knew it... I knew the ending would destroy me. Brianna did a wonderful job of giving a new life to both Peter Pan and James Hook and gave a villain a story worth of being his own hero. *goes to stuff herself silly with cookies now*

This book had been in my wish list as one of the debuts to keep in mind, and after my very talented friend Sarah made her book trailer  SEE HERE and then I got super excited and requested it from NG as soon as I saw it there! Thank you so much to Spencer Hill Press for approving me!

Never Never is a fascinating story with a voice that change and progresses as the story does and grows as James does. The writing is very visual and it wraps you into the story with ease. Sometimes I was a bit confused because it seemed we switched from first person to third person for small periods of time and that was a bit disconcerting, but served also as a way to enhance the storytelling quality of the story.

Retellings aren't exactly my favourite thing to read, but when they are done from a different POV and even more if the POV is from the villain of the story... I'm all in! And Never Never succeeded in giving us a new perspective on not just James Hook but the entire Neverland story and of course, Peter Pan!

I've never read the original story (I know, I know...) so my only Peter Pan knowledge comes from two movies: the Disney version and Hook with a grown up Peter. Now reading Never Never made me think of how we sometimes lighten up tales that were darker in origin and I wonder if the original story also had this darker undertones.

Peter is an intriguing character, a forever child, one that has not grown to learn compassion or empathy and that is selfish and egotistical and doesn't see further that his own wants and needs. Even with a certain selective memory to forget what he doesn't like and no remorse for his choices. I feel like he is a mix of the worse qualities from a toddler and teenager mixed together!

We meet James Hook as a child and one that doesn't want to remain a child but wants to grow up, so him going to Neverland seemed like a bit of a doomed choice, one destined for unhappiness. He is fascinated by Peter Pan but he is never a Lost Boy, so he finds himself growing apart from Peter & the boy and growing up into a pirate, with an unhappy heart full of resentment.

He's not exactly the hero nor the villain of his own story, not really. He hates Peter Pan and not without reason, but he finds himself in a position with very limited choices and he doesn't always make the best ones either. He's such a nuanced character, full of hate, love, longing and remorse.

Tiger Lily is a much more present character that I ever saw in the movies and so glad of it, because she's a very strong female character that also has to make some really hard choices. Some that would even touch on the clash between destiny, purpose and free will.

The ending of the book can't be considered a surprise, given how it follows the original story, but after everything that we went through in the book it does pack quite the emotional punch!

A very much deserving 4 stars for this stunning debut! Looking forward to reading more from Brianna Shrum for sure!



View all my reviews

And because I've kinda liked the idea of adding a song that matches the feel of the book or makes me think of one of the characters, I will add a song that has very much the same emotional vibe for me, specially the ending of the book!



26 comments:

  1. I loved loved loved this book! I've been suffering the biggest book hangover from that ENDING! I loved the fairy tale feel is the storytelling. And also, did you catch that Starkey was reminiscent of his dad and Smee his mom? I loved all these little details. Great review! I've been trying & trying to find the right song to fit my feelings of this book :)

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    1. I knew about Starkey but I wasn't as sure about Smee, but yeah, I remember the comparison! So many layers in this story!!

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  2. After reading TIGER LILY by Anderson, I've looked for more deeper, more complex, and darker retellings. Plus, the fairy tale atmosphere it has sounds so very intriguing. Will definitely grab a copy this week!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. This one is indeed darker, Faye! You'll never see Peter in the same way!

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  3. I loooovvveeeedddd that song, and I listened to the entire epic long assed thing! I am going to check those guys out! I must admit that I have not read Peter Pan, and ever since I saw the movie Finding Neverland I have been meaning to. There are so many PP retelling coming out now (I am kind of glad things are moving away from Wonderland because there were too many this year), I really should get it read and read some of them,. This one sounds good. :)

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    1. Alter Bridge are an awesome band! Check their last album Fortress, I'm in love with so many of those songs!

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  4. So excited that you loved this one! I have seen some not so great reviews for it but I still really wanted to read it and now i trust i can enjoy it!! Loved that trailer too! I hope you have the most fabulous trip to London!! I can't wait to hear all about it!
    <3 Britt

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    1. I read some of the not-so-good reviews too, but I'm glad that the book worked for me, even if it had a few things here and there, after all it's a 4 stars and not a 5 stars. I hope you'll love it too!
      And yes, I'll share my adventures in London, pretty promise!

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  5. I LOVED this one! I kept hoping the ending wouldn't turn out to be the way I knew it should go. But I am a retelling junkie, yet I liked this being from Hook's perspective. Shrum did a great job of not painting this to be a villain who is actually good, but shows us the grey lines between Peter and also Hook, so we get to choose who is bad or who is good. Hook still wants to kill Pan all the same. But aside from all those things, there was still a lot more I loved about this book!

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    1. Yeah, I managed to get shocked by things that I was supposed to know happened I was so caught up in the book!

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  6. Stunning review Pili. <3 YAY for enjoying this book :D Cover is so pretty. But ugh. Bad ending? Yeah, I don't think I want to read this book, lol :D But I am curious about it. And aw, hope you have had an awesome weekend. <3 And eeek! London tomorrow? :D AHHH! Have the most fun sweet girl :D I'm so so jealous of you. Sniffs. Wish I had more money :) (Okay, I wish I could stop myself from buying stuff with my money. But I simply cannot, lol.)

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    1. It ends how the story originally ends... so sad, but should be expected, you know...

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  7. I've heard literally nothing but great things about this book!! I'm so glad to see you're loving it too :)

    I love how absorbing the writing sounds, and I think it's so authentic for the writing to mature as James grows up. Ooh Tiger Lily has a bigger influence in this novel? I can't wait to see what it is. Delving into Hook's character must be intriguing. Lovely review! <3

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Yep, Tiger Lily is an important character in this one, not a mare footnote as in most of the movies!

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  8. I've never read the original story either! I love the cover (Carina and I are on the same page), but I don't know if I could read this one based on the ending (I know the original ended oddly as well). I need a HEA!

    HAVE THE BEST TIME AT LONDON! Vacation is amazing! Hopefully everything goes smoothly and is lots of fun and you get lots of relaxation and rest!

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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    1. If you really need a HEA then this one wouldn't be for you... it's a bit (or a lot, depending on how much you feel for a certain captain) heartbreaking!

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  9. The thing about any Peter Pan prequel is that it will probably be kind of sad....but you want to read them anyway!!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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    1. This is both an origin story and a retelling of the known tale from Hook's POV and so well done Kate!

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  10. This is one that sounds very good! And your review only makes me want to read it more. Great review!

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    1. I hope you'll love it if you read it Lisa!

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  11. I didn't remember about this book, but I really wanted to read it the first time I saw it.
    It sounds so good!! I haven't read Peter Pan either and I don't remember the ending of the movies, so I think I'll be surprised.
    Great review, Pili! Have fun!

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    1. I hope you'll love this one, Lis! And prepare yourself for an emotional journey!

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  12. "my only Peter Pan knowledge comes from two movies: the Disney version and Hook with a grown up Peter."

    DITTO PILI!!! I haven't read the original either, but now I'm sort of scared of the ending! I don't have a good feeling about it if you had to eat a bunch of cookies after reading it. I might need you to tell me what happens before I decide if I can handle it... :)

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    1. It shouldn't have come as a surprised because it is in the movies, you know? But I was so caught up in the story... I was not expecting it! If you need to be spoiled about the ending, DM me, Jenny!

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  13. This Peter Pan telling sounds like it was done really well, with fleshing out the characters of Hook, Peter and Tiger Lily! I hope you have a fantastic trip in London, Pili!

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¡Muchas gracias por vuestros comentarios, leerlos me alegra el día!/ Thanks a lot for all your comments, reading them brightens my day!!