I’ve always been fond of Peter Pan stories, both the retellings of J.M. Barrie’s original story (the Mary Martin musical remains my favorite because . . . nostalgia) and the works that are essentially Peter Pan fanfic (like the book Peter and the Star Catchers and the movie “Hook”). The God of Neverland is in the latter category, and does a great job of expanding the legend while staying true to the essential elements of the original story.
It’s 1925, and Michael Darling, the youngest Lost Boy, is all grown up and done with adventures. He has quit his career in the Knights of the Round, a secret society that investigates supernatural incidents, and gone to work as a railroad engineer. But the organization that Michael gave up is in need of his services, because Peter Pan has gone missing. And, despite trying to ground himself in the mundane, Michael has not forgotten his days in Neverland.
Peter Pan, it seems, is the God of childhood adventure and imagination, a sort of cross between a trickster god and an eight-year-old boy with an oversized ego and ADHD. Without him, Neverland will fail and our world will become a dark and dismal place. Peter cannot save himself, but those who grew up without forgetting their childhood dreams might be able to find and free him. This is a well-paced adventure story for those of us who managed to leave childhood behind without losing the joy of imagination. There’s pirate ships, flying with fairy dust, the ghost of Captain Hook, and a Cthulhu-powerful ticking crocodile in the sewers of London!