**Not long ago, I started getting the urge to read more, and that urge grew into a desire to explore other works based on Peter Pan (which I said I wouldn’t do until I was done with my own trilogy.) However! since I pretty much know where that’s going, I decided to give in to my desire to read other variations of Peter Pan or anything with a connection, such as what my own series is. So I finally broke down and ordered several different Peter Pan-related books that I’m going to read and give my impressions of on the blog. I’m limiting my reading to only published works, books and graphic novels (indie works, yes – stories on Wattpad and such, no). Probably will contain *some* spoilers, but I tried to limit that as I could. So, this sort of post might show up periodically, because I have quite a few volumes waiting in line.**
For my second review along the way through other Peter Pan-related works is Tigerheart by Peter David. Why this one? Well, I was going out of town one weekend and this one was a nice size to carry around with me.
Relationship to the Peter Pan Story:
This is clearly a re-imagining of the Peter Pan tale – a continuation, even (almost) – but instead, the entire story is re-explained so that you don’t have to rely on Barrie’s version – however, if you have read the original book, it will actually enhance your experience. There are subtleties (and downright character-trait villainy), but it’s all in good fun, and if it at least makes you laugh and roll your eyes a little bit, I think this book set out to do what it meant to.
I feel that the author, Peter David, was thinking along the same lines that I was when I wrote Nevermor. In order to make this story his own (or perhaps avoid copyright infringement, which he denies in an interview at the end, orrrr for whatever reason) there is no mention of Peter or Tinkerbell or any others in this story – but everything is turned around. The characters are there, but renamed. Peter is referred to only as ‘The Boy’. Likewise, Neverland is called ‘Anyplace’ and is located from ‘the third star on the left’ (yeah). Wendy is ‘Gwenny’ Tinkerbell is ‘Fiddlefix’ and (probably the most ridiculous) Capt. Hook is ‘Capt. Hack’ with a hatchet for a hand. But everything is there, and everything has a place. It is a parody, a pastiche, which goes so far as to even mimic Barrie’s writing style.
When I first began, I found myself thinking that if David was simply going to re-imagine the base story and change the names, but keep even most of the story and character details (such as the third star on the left, the sea creature swallowing a clock, and so on), and likewise write it in the style of Barrie… Why did he write this? I was just not sure why he felt the need. But after the first chapter, I could see a difference, and as he went on, expounding upon the characters that Barrie already created while, yes, making them his own, I began to appreciate this book more – even more, perhaps, than if he had used the original names, which would have just made it kinda dull.
And I found myself wondering (privately to myself and now openly here) if this had previously been a story written as a candidate for the official Peter Pan sequel contest that was held back in 2006, of which Peter Pan in Scarlet was the winner. But as far as I know, that’s only my personal theory and has not been confirmed.
In Tigerheart, a boy named Paul Dear takes center stage – an original character inserted into a world that is different, but familiar. Paul is enchanted by the story of ‘The Boy’, and dreams of becoming like The Boy himself. His father told him stories of The Boy, which his mother always frowned upon, and though the stories of The Boy remain, no one seems to know where he is now. Paul sees The Boy in his reflection, and wonders exactly where The Boy is, if Paul is not actually The Boy, himself. (confusing)
The story, within the first couple of chapters, takes on a few serious issues that affect Paul’s life and mindset: the death of his baby sister, the decline of his parents’ marriage and his father’s eventual departure, Paul’s visits to a psychiatrist who puts him on medication, and the failing of his mother’s love for him. So while the book is written in a simplistic style like a children’s story, and is even funny at times, the subject matter is a bit deeper than that, though it’s glossed over by the style.
All of this leads Paul to seek out the Anyplace with the intention of finding a new baby for his mother among those who become lost. He only wants her to be happy, and by the way he sees it, this is the only thing that will make her happy again. He finds a petrified fairy in a curio shop, and soon enough, Paul is flying off to the Anyplace, meeting The Boy and taking on pirates. Adventures ensue, dangers are met, and eventually the truth is revealed to Paul and he finds what he has been seeking – and maybe teaches The Boy a thing or two along the way.
Tigerheart is written in a style similar to how Barrie wrote the original Peter Pan, and I feel a bit torn… Because while I’d like to deduct points from the review because the author didn’t even write in his own voice, I can’t quite imagine the book to be written differently. I really enjoyed reading it this way, and the story wasn’t such that it could be told through, for example, the voice I would normally write something in. Tigerheart is what it is, and while I usually search for stories that are written a bit differently than this one, I can’t see how this might have been improved by a change in perspective.
Another thing that I noticed is that while it’s written in a style that might have been meant for children, David is clearly playing to the adults. This is a story, written for adults, who want to relive a story they loved in their youth, but with a different twist. Adults reading this can understand what’s going on, in the same way that we, as children, didn’t understand themes in some of our beloved stories. By the end (and throughout) David is certainly not hating on those of us who chose to grow up instead of staying in the Anyplace. Instead, there’s glory in realizing that one has to eventually grow up.
In considering the rating, I have to evaluate the book not only for how much I liked it, but for what it is. So, in judging how the story was told, how it was put together, how it was written, and how the plot played out (even though I rolled my eyes a few times at the extent to which the author used EVERY detail from Peter Pan) , this is my verdict:
I couldn’t really see a reason to hate on it too much. It just worked somehow. I give it four stars, easily. I can’t give it 5 because I can’t say it’s among the best I’ve read as far as my personal taste, but I did enjoy it. This book was fun to read, funny, reminded me of the original Peter Pan and even The Princess Bride a bit, which is one of my favorite books. It had good messages, many quotes I liked, and was somehow original in the same way that it was completely not.
In this book, I did find a kindred spirit of sorts, and while some things might seem similar to Nevermor in ways (details based on ideas from the original, of course, or even the very idea of changing the character names) I want to be clear that I did not even know about this book until recently, and have only read it just now, so I was not inspired by this volume in any way when I was working on my own twist.
So now I finally get to update my own status!
Forsaken Dreamscape: Deluxe Edition is less than a week away! That’s June 17th, by the way. Everything is ready, I just have to hit the button when the time comes. 🙂 After that happens, I can FINALLY start talking about book 3, and I’ve been having some thoughts on a new method I’m considering in sharing that book with you, which I may talk about soon, if I decide to do it…
Also, the title of the deluxe edition has been changed, and if you start looking for it, the book is going to be called Forsaken Dreamscape: Deluxe Edition, instead of ‘Deluxe Peter Pan Edition’, because I chose not to put that on the cover, and the rules are that I have to name it what is says on the cover. Makes sense.
That’s all for now. On to the next project!