The Wendy, Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown – Book Review

Hello Humans! I cannot be the only one (in fact I know I’m not) who thinks Wendy gets a raw deal in Peter Pan. I mean, in the original her ‘eternity’ is that she goes back and tidies up every now and then. I find it quite fun that, despite the best efforts of early 20th-century fiction to paint her as something else, readers have taken the Wendy character and really run with her. She’s a beloved character and an inspiration to young women who want to go on adventures even though her original portrayal made her nothing more than a mother in training.

As you can tell, I have strong feelings about this, so when the chance came to read a book called ‘The Wendy’ I thought it’d be a good fit for me (and if it wasn’t then it’d be a fun review regardless).

The Wendy

Goodreads Summary:

When the world doesn’t want
you to be who you are,
you must become more yourself
than you knew you could be.

London. 1789. More than anything in the world, Wendy Darling wants to be the captain of a ship, but women aren’t allowed in the Royal Navy. When she learns the Home Office is accepting a handful of women into its ranks, she jumps at the chance, joining the fight against the most formidable threat England has ever faced. Magic.

But the secret service isn’t exactly what she hoped. Accompanied by a reimagined cast of the original Peter Pan, Wendy soon discovers that her dreams are as far away as ever, that choosing sides isn’t as simple as she thought, and that the only man who isn’t blinded by her gender might be the worst friend anyone could ask for.

Anyone, that is, except Wendy Darling.

Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)

Overall this was a solid three-star book for me. Sorry to spoil that for people who like the suspense of waiting to see what the result will be but that’s probably the easiest way to sum up my feelings for this book.

This isn’t a Peter Pan retelling by any means, I think it would be better described as a Peter Pan reimagining. Instead of being a loved daughter Wendy is a scrappy orphan who really wants to be an explorer (well, she wants to travel and be on boats and I’ve extrapolated from that). In this version of the story Pan and his lost boys feel more like ‘fae’ or creatures from another world heading through to attack England – you know, an ordinary tale of everyday folk. It’s surprising how much of the story those things change, it gives the story much higher stakes, you go from ‘oh three children might never see their parents again’ to ‘people are dying it’s war’. Overall I thought that the setting worked, it was interesting enough to see all the original references imagined anew and for the most part, nothing felt like it was shoehorned into place.

But let’s talk about Wendy herself, our heroine, the character I was desperate to see them get right. I think they did, Honestly, it’s hard to say because for the most part Wendy does go after her dreams against all odds and she has a lot of gumption particularly towards the end of the book. There are a few moments where it felt a lot like she ought to realise that what’s happening to her is not a good thing and bail quickly – I don’t know, maybe that was asking too much of a heroine like this?

I thought the plot was interesting, obviously most of that is driven from the setting and this idea of the military vs Pan, but there were also some interesting moments with Hook  -which I won’t go into here because I think they’re best discovered for yourself. It hasn’t stayed with me hugely but I have the sequel to read as well and I’ll be interested to see how these characters fare when taken into book two.

This book is, I believe, self published* and while I’ve read some very good self-pub fantasy in my time I’ve also read a lot of truly awful stuff. This fell happily towards the ‘good but not amazing’ end of that spectrum (hence the three-star rating). It’s nice to find things like this on Kindle Unlimited (if you have access) as it’s the sort of book that you can enjoy but not worry too much about – does that make sense?

Overall this did give me what I wanted which was a Peter Pan story in which Wendy is actually the main character. I won’t say it’s perfect, and some of the feminism is a little ‘CAN’T YOU SEE HOW FEMINIST WE’RE BEING’ which may not be to everyone’s taste (I’m a fan of the show don’t tell but that’s me), but it’s a nice easy read for anyone looking for a flying pirate ship!

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Wendy is available now!

Find on Goodreads | Amazon (Affiliate)

What say you? Will you be reading The Wendy? Stay tuned for my review of the sequel coming soon!

*The book is published by ‘Trash Dogs Publishing’ but looking at the website I think it’s one of those ‘the author owns the publisher’ kind of situations.


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