Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Reader's Review: "Escape From Neverland" by Nils Visser

Synopsis from Amazon:
You don’t need time portals, magic wardrobes, rabbit holes or faery dust to experience a different world…all you need to do is walk into the Wyrde Woods. Chances are that they will appear familiar…we have all been there. That timeless dreamtime inhabited by archetypes where anybody can become the hero, especially those who consider themselves the least worthy.

Wendy Twyner certainly has little self-esteem when she walks out of the dilapidated council estate where she lives and strolls into the Wyrde Woods…only a few miles away but worlds apart. What she finds there challenges her perceptions, offers her a chance at change and gives her unexpected hope for a better future.  
My Review:
Without a doubt, "Peter Pan" by J. M. Barrie is my favorite classic fantasy novel ever. As a little girl I would imagine my very own Neverland, and I would spend a lot of time there. Neverland had it all: fairies, mermaids, magic, and anything else I wanted to imagine. I adored the 2003 live-action adaptation, and all but shunned the Once Upon A Time (mis)appropriation for about the same reasons: the respect given to the original story and the preservation of the enchantment of Neverland. 

So when I began reading this book, narrated by a foul-mouthed, jaded, homeless delinquent named Wendy... I wasn't sure what to expect. Neverland was turned on it's head Lewis-Carroll-fashion, into a bitter nickname for a juvenile home in the middle of Nowhere Place, and Wendy wants an escape from overbearing social workers and counselors whose habit it seems to be to either browbeat and blackmail her into compliance, or string her along and break her heart when it hurts the most. She wanders into the Wyrde Woods and finds the home she had always wanted, the sense of belonging and acceptance that makes all the difference to her. 

This book was a fantastic twist; I loved all the characters involved, and I loved the way I was made to care for them, especially Wendy. I felt her struggle as she goes from a particularly crushing heartbreak to suddenly meeting a kindly old stranger and completely misjudging his motives. I experienced the Wyrde Woods through her eyes, taking in the rich detail and filling my imagination with the fascinating lore. The tale even represented the character of Peter, but in quite a different light than Barrie's eternal child: this Peter cared deeply for other people, and he is wise in his cunning. 
I am definitely enthralled by this book! All urban/contemporary fantasy enthusiasts would do well to purchase a copy for themselves at once! It does not disappoint!

It is without hesitation that I give ESCAPE FROM NEVERLAND a full *****5 Star***** rating, and add onto that an Upstream Writer Certified Heartily Recommended (there is some language and discussion of "dandy bits", as it were, but oaths are minced and the discussion only happens once) rating, as well! Definitely not one to be missed!
Further Reading: Fantasy Genre

-The Starlight Proverbs--Darren E. Barber  
-Songstruck--Sofia Black 
-Foul is Fair--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins 
-Out of Darkness Rising--Gillian Bronte Adams 
-The Captives--Precarious Yates  

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