Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz

   I am seeing many new books featuring girl heroines. Of late, Amulet, Zita the Spacegirl and Maddie and the Tongue Taker come to mind. This book is another with a brave child heroine. Jocelyn is a privileged girl who lives with her stodgy grandfather Sir Charles and loves spending her days tormenting her various tutors.  Her mother is dead and her father just happens to be the infamous Captain Hook.  In the first few chapters of the book I couldn't help but think, "oh boy, is this girl going to be this bratty for the entire book" but when she proves incorrigible she is sent to a finishing school where she rooms with girls even brattier than she. At finishing school she meets a boy called Roger whose father was also a pirate and the pair soon spend much time together sharing dreams about the sea.

     Jocelyn gets a bit of a reputation at the school because she is the daughter of the most feared pirate on the seas but she harbors dreams of one day sailing with her father. This ends when a crow arrives one day with a letter confirming that Hook is indeed dead. The crow carries her to Neverland where she hires a crew that is not the greatest (to say the least).  In her first encounter with the crocodile she realizes just what a mess she has gotten herself into and this is when it dawns on her that this is not a game.
    The book borrows some of the Neverland lore and there are brief interludes where Jocelyn meets Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and a few of the lost boys. Peter is left flummoxed every time they meet however. I was wondering how come the lost boys didn't attack her and her crew but Schulz explains this away with the fact that the lost boys don't know what to do with a girl who isn't mothering them.
    Later in the book Jocelyn gets her own fairy, a prince named Meriwether. This is after a run in with some cannibalistic savages, the part of the book that I didn't like because it fell into the old trope of the savage people who had to be "civilized" by an interloper from Europe. Thankfully this section did not last long. Jocelyn's big nemesis is the crocodile who ended her father's life and I couldn't help but think that the crocodile stood for facing one's fears. She certainly had to face her fears in this first book. The end sees her with a map and there are a few other loose ends that I am sure will be tied up in a future book or two.

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