Seas (Wendy Darling, #2) by Colleen Oakes

Received from NetGalley for review.

‘He may want me, but he does not have my permission to take me. I do not belong to Peter Pan. Or any man, for that matter.’

YES WENDY. So many times, yes. I never knew I could have so many feelings about Wendy Darling, I even hate the name a little less now.

Wendy Darling, badass extraordinaire, returns in Seas having escaped Peter’s clutches only to be kidnapped (rescued?) by Captain Hook. Collen Oakes blew my mind last year with the first instalment in this series, Stars, where I had to get to grips with sexy man-child Peter and an extremely dark Neverland. This time my mind was blown even further – I love Captain Hook and I was not expecting to on any level.

Seas begins right where Stars left us. Wendy and Michael are aboard Hook’s ship, the Sudden Night, having barely escaped from a crazed Peter, although John is still with him and remains a loyal general. The tone of this novel is immediately darker than Stars – pirates have replaced Lost Boys and we do not know what Wendy and Michael’s fate aboard the ship will be, although a lot of the pirates are weirdly sympathetic and likeable, as is Hook himself. It soon becomes apparent that something darker than before is taking place in Neverland, though, something directly related to Peter that must be stopped. Pirates, harlots, mermaids, magical lands and a plethora of twisted secrets combine to make this just as exciting as the first book; there is no risk of ‘second-book syndrome’ here.

Once again the characters and descriptions of Neverland were vivid and lush, ensnaring the senses in every way, and I particularly enjoyed when the Sudden Night docked in Port Durette for a time. Wendy has grown since her ordeal in Stars and fights through her fear to become a formidable and courageous young woman, and it goes without saying that I adore her character in these books. She is so brave despite everything that has happened and is happening to her.

Hook was one of the more interesting characters for me, as I said earlier, I ended up loving him despite his many flaws, and I imagine many people who read this will feel the same way in the end. He becomes so much more than the villain we all know from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, and feels all the more real for it – the relationship between him and Peter is also explored in this book, showing an unexpected side of Hook.

Naturally the pirates are crude and violent, often saying and doing repulsive things, but so many of them are sweet and protective towards Wendy and Michael that you can’t help but be on their side. Keme and Smith (and brothel owner, Fermina) are particularly wonderful. We don’t see much of Peter or the Lost Boys in this book which only creates more tension and wonder regarding his plans – we know a war is coming but we don’t know until the end just how dangerous and tricky it will be.

This story was just as exciting and wild as Stars and I love the way the plot is developing; everything about it has me excited for the third book, Shadow. And that ending! My god.

Read: August 21st-29th 2016

4/5 stars

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