Review: Unhooked – Lisa Maxwell

21518344Title: Unhooked

Author: Lisa Maxwell (Twitter) (site)

Published: Simon Pulse// Feb 2. 2016

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling

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Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself.

Personal Enjoyment: 5/5

Book Itself Rating: 3.75/5

Full disclosure: 75% of the reason I read this is because I’m addicted to a gem of a show called Once Upon A Time. I’m slightly in love with their version on Captain Hook AKA Killian Jones AKA Numero Uno on my oft-mentioned Fictional Boyfriends List. I mean….



He and his girlfriend ruined my life in the best way possible. That ruination, it seems, has crossed over into my reading life, too, because my little fangirl heart wouldn’t let me miss this book.  Also, I’m a sucker for retellings, especially ones that play around with the original story.

Basically, this is right up my alley. I absolutely loved it. It was the best thing ever. But the farther removed I get, I realized that there were issues I had with the book that I was basically ignoring because my crazy fangirl self was flailing around. Hence, the two ratings.

Let’s Break it Down:

What I Loved:

  • Rowan. I ADORED Rowan. Like brb wanna trade places with Gwen adored. I am horribly biased in this respect – he shared quite a few traits and heck of a lot physically with my beloved Killian that made it SUUUUUUPER easy for me to get attached. I will admit I am biased in this respect.
  • The Darker Tone. This is a whole different Neverland. It’s darker, edgier, and sexier. Its more violent and. The whole tone is darker, even before they get to Neverland, starting with a rainy day in London. It really gives a sinister twist on the story and, honestly. For any OUAT fans out there, it is really quite similar to the show’s version of Neverland and I was getting HELLA SEASON 3 FLASHBACKS.
  • Experience. This again has to do with a personal bias (I am trying to be transparent about my obsession here) but I really enjoyed reading this book. I read it during painful, painful hiatus of doom and I flew through it. I loved it. It felt like I was reading a Captain Swan fanfic in the best way possible. I gushed about it on Tumblr. Loved it so much.

What I Liked:

  • Gwen. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going like Gwen at first, but I ended up liking her. She wasn’t the greatest heroine ever, but she wasn’t the worst. She was kind of bland TBH.
  • Pan. I really like the idea of a villainous Pan and this guy was perfect. You can see the boy who would persuade you to lead you to never grow up but there’s something sinister about him that makes him very interesting.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Olivia. I didn’t like her from the beginning and she just got worse as the story went on. I just found her annoying and generally unlikable and couldn’t why anything other than proximity would have made she and Gwen friends.
  • The Fey Storyline. It’s not always my thing – sometimes, but not always. This time around was not one of those time.
  • The Tropiness. There’s a “Chosen One”. There’s a kind of love triangle. There’s HELLA insta-love. There’s a lot of stuff that you’ve seen before and it isn’t done in any way that brings anything new to the table. Basically , it’s laden with tropes that you’ve seen before.

All in all, Unhooked is a decent Peter Pan retelling that gives a darker and more serious spin on the original source material that I would HIGHLY recommend to fans of the show Once Upon a Time.


One thought on “Review: Unhooked – Lisa Maxwell

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