Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
by Lisa Maxwell
February 2, 2016
352 pages

Goodreads Summary:
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?


Unhooked is a dark beauty with imaginative and tricky twists to the original Peter Pan story. It is one that will sink its hooks into you. It will drag you deep into the story. It won't let go even as the story draws to a close. I did not want to leave the world of Unhooked.

I'm not an expert on the original Neverland story but I think Ms. Maxwell has done an excellent job with this retelling. What I love the most is that the bad guys aren't exactly bad and the good guys aren't completely good either. There was a fine line between acting for survival and acting out of spite but it's blurry to us at first. Each character had their own ambition and purposes. I loved the clever spins.

Gwen is tired of not having a place to call home. The stress, the doubts and the madness in her mother's claim (monsters are after them) start to take its toll as she's once again uprooted to a new place. It isn't until after she's kidnapped by monstrous creatures that she starts to give credibility to her mom. It may have been hard for Gwen to come to terms with how she's special but she fearlessly and tirelessly tried to find a way out of Neverland. Her hell-bent attitude on saving her best friend Olivia, earned my respect.

Captain Hook has a very commanding presence in the story. He's so dreamy but in a broody and haunting sort of way. He has his own pains. As the story moved forward, I love how we got to know him by his real name. It felt much more intimate to be referring to him as Rowan than just as Captain or Hook. Even though he's made some terrible choices, his inherent goodness cannot be denied. I felt his importance. There's definitely more to him than meets the eye.

One of my favourite part of Unhooked is the short paragraphs that come at the beginning of each chapter. A story within a story. Even though I questioned its relevance I enjoyed these parts greatly. So be patient as it does beautifully tie into the main story.

Ms. Maxwell delivers a powerful climax that caught me off guard. All is not as it seems and those who needed saving may not be worth saving afterall. The characters are much more mature and braver than I originally would've guessed. The final sacrifices set quite a sombre mood. By the time I turned that final page I both sighed in content and in sadness. Some things hurt but it was still a really beautiful story.

Unhooked is a seductively enchanting story. If you're a lover of retellings, Peter Pan or just fantasy reads, pick up Unhooked! Its Neverland is worth seeing and experiencing for yourself.

4.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way.


  1. This sounds fabulous, glad you loved it so much!

  2. I'not that familiar with Neverland either, so I think reading this will be a new kind of experience. Lovely review, Eileen!

  3. I'm dying to read this book! I love the cover and it sounds amaing!
    I love when books have stories within stories, so I really want to read this one.

  4. I keep forgetting that this is a Peter Pan retelling and I need to read one. I am going to go right this second and add it to GR before I forget again. Thanks for the review. :)

    1. I saw you add it! Hope you'll love it as much as I do La <3

  5. I love a good climax. I don;t know that I'll love the whole Peter Pan, Captain Hook thing but it sounds fun!

    1. I was a little hesitant too but I turned out to love it :D


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