Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book Review: Peter and the Sword of Mercy by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Peter and the Starcatchers #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great, fast moving story and good characters
Cons: The villains are frightening as always
The Bottom Line:
A fun new chapter
Continues the story well
For Peter Pan fans

Wendy Joins the Fight with the Starcatchers

At times, a franchise falls into the trap of releasing one book too many.  I wondered if that might be the case with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  Since they have finished their prequel trilogy about Peter Pan, what would they do in Peter and the Sword of Mercy?  I had to find out, so I dove in.  I’m glad I did because this was another fun, suspenseful read.

If you haven’t read the previous volumes don’t start here.  There is much back story that isn’t really explained, meaning you’ll be lost.  The other books are worth reading, so that’s not really a chore at all.

It’s been 23 years since we last visited Peter and Molly.  While life hasn’t changed much on the island, Molly has grown up, married George, and had three kids of her own.  The Others have been silent all this time, and the Starcatchers have been lulled into a feeling of security.

All that changes when James shows up with some disturbing news about what is happening in the palace.  But when he disappears, Molly really worries.  Molly is the next to vanish, and it is up to her daughter Wendy to find help against the new forces of darkness.

Meanwhile, on Mollusk Island, four shipwrecked men appear.  Their story doesn’t quite hold together, and Fighting Prawn wants them off the island as quickly as possible.  Is he right to be suspicious?  Are The Others on the move again?  Can Peter stop them?

The book is 515 pages long, so this isn’t a quick read.  But the story starts strongly and the pace never really lags.  There is always something happening to keep you turning pages, and just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.  The plot in London and the plot on the island are both compelling and compliment each other, something that isn’t always the case in the previous books.

While this isn’t a quick read, it is a fast read.  What do I mean?  There are lots of chapter breaks and plenty of dialog, so the pages fly by much faster than the average book.  You’ll be surprised as just how quickly you do make progress.

The characters are well constructed.  The grown up version of the characters we knew as kids feel much like natural progressions of their younger selves.  John and Michael were annoying pretty much any time they were around, which was thankfully not much.  Wendy was a great substitute for the young Molly.  And Peter and Tinkerbell were as charming as ever.

There are some scenes that are very intense with some unpleasant supernatural villains, but that has been the case in all the books.  If your kids handled the previous volumes okay, they’ll be fine here.

So even though the original story might be over, this new chapter is well worth reading.  Peter and the Sword of Mercy was a roller coaster ride from start to finish I am sorry to see over.

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

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