I recently reviewed The Wendy, a fantasy novel with a new take on the classic Peter Pan – well I’m back with the sequel.
*Imagine punchy movie-trailer sound effects here*.
It’s actually pretty rare that I get to read two books in a series so close to one another, so I was pretty excited to go into this one – let’s see how it went!
Spoilers ahead for The Wendy but spoiler-free for The Navigator.
NOT EVERY ADVENTURE GOES AS PLANNED …
Wendy’s troubles are far from over. Hook wants her in irons, the crew wants to throw her overboard, and Pan’s magical compass is the only thing standing in their way. But Pan himself is nowhere to be found.
When a new everlost captain appears on the horizon, it will take everything Wendy has to survive.
And a tiny red dragon will set events in motion that could save or doom them all.
I don’t want this review to just be a repeat of what I said about The Wendy so just assume that I like the worldbuilding and I think the ideas and ways that the original Peter Pan elements are incorporated are good and an additional bit of fun for those who know the original well.
Now on to this sequel, was this going to be able to stand up after book one? I thought it did. This book is different enough from the first book that it doesn’t feel like a remake, but the characters are familiar and the plot continues on from book one (not that that is unique to this book, that’s kind of how sequels work).
We get to see Wendy aboard the ship which brought me so much joy. This book does spend quite a bit of time justifying her presence there and explaining the thought processes of characters like Hook who don’t necessarily want her in a position of authority. For my part, I prefer to read worlds where the sexism just isn’t there, but that wasn’t the case here and I felt as though the point got just the tiniest bit laboured towards the end. The flipside of that is that whenever Wendy does get a win it feels all the more triumphant.
I liked how Neverland was portrayed in this book, I don’t want to explain it in too much detail because I think you’ll want to find out for yourself, but it is a good way of capturing the essence of Peter Pan’s childhood fantasy realm, while still making things feel high stakes and otherworldly as opposed to cheesy.
The antagonist in this book, no spoilers here, is also quite cool. I would have maybe liked to go a bit more into their backstory and their motivation as they felt a tad ‘evil for the sake of it’ – not the most cackling bad guy we’ve encountered but I just wanted a bit more depth.
I think that is my main feeling with this book, while it is a fast-paced read it just feels a tiny bit shallow. I want more from these characters than just ‘I want to go adventuring’ or ‘I am Peter Pan’ and I think spending a little more time enriching the character motivations and backstories would make the story feel a lot more whole.
Overall, I would recommend these books to anyone looking for something light and easy with a few dark twists (especially if you like Peter Pan). Definitely read The Wendy first – but reading both certainly won’t take you long!
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
The Navigator is available now!
What say you? Will you be reading this? What are some of your favourite retellings? Let me know in the comments below!