By Wendy Spinale
Summary: London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer. Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?
Source: I received a hardcover in my Owlcrate Steampunk box.
I did not enjoy Everland at all, despite initially being intrigued by the plot and steampunk idea. The book had some unique and quite cool aspects, but it was an in-your-face blatant Peter Pan retelling that was entirely too cheesy for me.
The book began in a way that reminded me of The Hunger Games. Gwen left to forage to take care of her younger sister (and brother) due to an absent (literally in this case) parent. It was simplistic, but it never really improved the way I think The Hunger Games did. It never grasped me and a captivated me.
To be fair, Peter Pan is a weird story that I don’t really connect with, but I thought taking away the whole never-grow-up thing would make Pete seem like a fairly stable guy. And he did seem that way, so I don’t think my feelings towards the original are affecting my feelings about this particular book in any biased way.
The virus left only children survivors and most of the girls died out from the infection. Gwen seemed to be immune. There wasn’t much explanation about the virus, as the story seemed incredibly focused on making it connect as much as possible with the original story and never spent much time developing the side aspects of this new world. The Captain Hook character was cheesy in my opinion and didn’t seem to have believable motivation as the villain to me.
I tried to finish the book in an optimistic way and I hoped it would eventually get better and pull me in or give me some side story to care about, but it was just not well executed at all. I cannot stress how blatant the retelling is and I felt like a more loosely based retelling with room to explore the wonderful steampunk apocalyptic aspects could have been so much fun! The characters seemed flat and immature and I just never connected with anyone or anything.
I don’t recommend the book unless you’re a huge huge fan of Peter Pan and you’re in the earlier teen years, as mature teens and adults may find the characters to be to immature.