Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review: Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatches #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun story, mostly likable characters
Cons: A bit too much padding
The Bottom Line
Too much padding but
More adventure for Peter
Another fun read

Peter Pan Faces a Dark New Enemy

I've always loved Peter Pan, so I wasn't that surprised that I liked the first prequel written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  I was expecting another good adventure when I picked up Peter and the Shadow Thieves, and I wasn't disappointed.

This book picks up a few months after the first book in the series.  Peter and his friends are living on Mollusk Island quite happily, and Peter's greatest joy in life is tormenting Captain Hook.

But danger is coming to the island in the form of Lord Ombra, a mysteriously cloaked thing that hides in the shadows, has commandeered a boat that heads straight for Mollusk Island.  He is searching for the Star Stuff, only it is no longer on the island.  When he finds out that Peter's friend Molly and her family have it, he heads straight to London to get it.

Peter can't let Molly face this danger without warning, so he stows away on the boat.  But when he gets to London, he realizes he has an even bigger problem, finding Molly.  Can he do that in time to warn her?

The first book had a few issues that this one has managed to resolve nicely.  While the chapters are still short here, we don't get so many short chapters near the climax that it becomes choppy to read.  In fact, the further you go into the story, the longer the chapters get, making it easy to get lost in the story as the pages fly by.

I liked Peter better as a character here.  He's a bit egotistical at times, and that really annoyed me, but he usually got at least partially put in his place.  Tinker Bell, on the other hand, could be very annoying.  I'm not fond of this character in any incarnation I've encountered yet (well, I actually do like her in Hook), and this did little to change my mind.

The problem with this book is the padding.  At over 550 pages long, this isn't a short book.  But there's an adventure in the beginning that only adds a little to the story.  There's a completely pointless subplot on Mollusk Island, and Peter spends a bit too much time wandering around London.  They could have easily cut 100 pages and not lost the meat of the story.

The previous book set up the back story of Peter Pan pretty well, so I wasn't sure what else could be included here.  Frankly, they didn't add too much here, but the little things they did include really made me smile.

The book is aimed at middle schoolers on, and they shouldn't have any trouble reading it.  I certainly found the pages flying by while I was reading.  Lord Ombra can be pretty creepy, so I'm not sure I would recommend this book for much younger than late elementary even as a read aloud.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves had a bit too much padding for me to wholeheartedly recommend.  However, it's still a very enjoyable fantasy adventure that will entertain anyone who picks it up.

Check out more of the Peter and the Starcatchers book in order.

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