Review: Peter Darling – Austin Chant

A decade after he left Neverland, Peter decides to go back after having his identity stifled by his family. Upon returning, all Peter wants is to continue his war with Captain Hook. But soon enough, Peter is confused on who the real enemy is, and, even worse,  on his growing affection for his mortal enemy, James Hook.


Why this book?: I had heard of Austin Chant’s work before, namely Coffee Boy. After hearing from a friend that this was a trans Peter Pan retelling, I jumped on a chance to get an ARC.

I would like to thank the people at Less Than Three Press for allowing me to have an ARC via NetGalley.

Amazing character development

In all honesty, I’m having trouble putting my words down, right now. I have so much to say about this book, but am having such trouble putting it to words, so please excuse me if I happen to ramble or not make sense.

In the beginning, I really couldn’t stand Peter. He was stuck-up, cock-sure, and really *fucking* annoying. He was really selfish, and I was actually struggling to get through this book because of him. The beginning had the same pattern, and that also got annoying fast-find Hook, mess around with him, run, get caught, escape, repeat. It happened quite a few times, until Hook-James, I should say-finally pushed up the stakes, and everything changed. This lead to the rest of the book that I fell in love with.

At the 50% mark, it changed. Peter was pushed into the realization that maybe James Hook wasn’t an enemy (mentioned in the summary, so not a spoiler). A lot of development happened for both of these characters that was just beautiful, which budded into an amazing enemy-to-lover romance. None of it felt off, or weird, or forced as I was expecting. Yes, there is an obvious age gap, but Peter was at least 24 in this book, and it was all consenting (there is legit a mild sex-scene in which James asks him if everything is alright, and before that if he wanted to do this and I just died a little inside because, yes, consent is important).

Wonderfully entrancing

Chant’s writing and world-building relied heavily on what people would already know from the original tale. Truth be told, I wasn’t that big of a Peter Pan fan when I was younger, but I’m still fairly familiar with the tale. There were nods to it here and there, with descriptions, quotations, and other mentions of it. But Chant also spins his own version of it in this novel, which is seriously charming.

I would also like to mention that this book includes some gender dysphoria. Peter is misgendered multiple times in flashbacks, and is forced to dress as a girl while back in London with his family. You could feel the pain in these passages, written with absolute heartbreak. Peter actually has some PTSD because of this, and it is a huge part of the story.

Their relationship also really hit me close to home. It felt so real and normal and familiar. While a lot of the characters were underdeveloped, the ones that really did matter were wonderfully full of life. Peter and James, Ernest and Tinker Bell-They were all so amazing, and I just really couldn’t believe how much changed from the beginning of the book to the end.

Final Rating: ★★★★½☆

Overall?

This book hit really close to home, and I loved all of the characters in it. It was such a wonderful book, which is pretty amazing, considering that I’m not much of a romance person. The only reason this book isn’t five stars, sadly, is that Peter was so unlikable in the beginning, and that it fell into a really predictable pattern in the beginning.

Would I Recommend?

I would recommend this book to everyone and everyone. It was beautiful. I would get a physical copy if I could. Just looking at the cover hurts me.


Additional Information:

Published: February 15th, 2017

Publisher: Less Than Three Press

Page Count: Unknown (2274 locations in Kindle Format)

Genre: Fantasy/Romance/LGBT

Synopsis: via Goodreads

Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.

But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Peter Darling – Austin Chant

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