A review by allonsythornraxx
Lost in the Never Woods, by Aiden Thomas


3 ⭐
“I think people are more frightening than the dark," he said. "A person can stand right in front of you and be dangerous without you even knowing it.”

Aiden Thomas really said Rise of The Guardians but make it Peter Pan!
This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and while it wasn't a total letdown, it definitely didn't live up to how much I'd hyped it up in my head! I love Peter Pan retellings and there were aspects of this that I adored, like Aiden Thomas' writing and the little insights we got into Peter, but other than that, this felt undercooked and like it needed to go through a few more edits before getting published.
This felt like a cliche fanfic idea that had a lot of potential but missed the mark! Some really interesting ideas and character descriptions that make me think this would've been better as an animation or graphic novel, rather than a book.

Originally, this was going to be a 4.5 ⭐ book but the more I read, the faster my rating fell. It was too slow, the characters were all one dimensional and the romance was distractingly uncomfortable. Also, side note: I feel like this book would have been even better as magical realism. I know a lot of readers have found it really confusing so I feel like that could've helped.

What I did like
I really like how Aiden Thomas has written this version of Peter. I'm partial to villain Peter BUT I also really like this interpretation of him. The lost boy who just wants to save all the other lost children. The boy who never wants to grow up. The boy who takes his "job" seriously and holds the safety and lives of all the lost children in the world on his shoulders.
I feel like this is a really cool AU version of Peter and I can really appreciate this version of him, I just wish we got to see more of it. I wonder what this book would've been like in his pov OR even dual pov. It probably would've moved faster and made the character less one dimensional.

SpoilerI really liked the descriptions of The Shadow, it's enough to make you afraid of the dark - especially that bright white grin shrouded in darkness! I got Rise of The Guardians Frost/Pitch vibes! That being said, and considering he's the villain, we really don't see much of The Shadow. On the villain note - it was refreshing to see the villain wasn't captain hook!

A Peter x Wendy rant

SpoilerThe major downside/letdown of this book is the Peter x Wendy relationship. It felt unnecessary and romantic when I wished it would stay platonic in every sense of the word. I'm all for characters in fairytales/classics growing up but this relationship feels so gross when you think about how old Peter actually is - realistically hundreds or thousands of years old - physically he's 18 (at some parts he looks roughly 15) and mentally he's 12. It's gross and distracting and takes away from the book.
I just wish the book could've stayed platonic. Just Wendy rediscovering her childhood, getting her memories back and finding her brother again. But noooo we must add romantic feelings for the hot 12 yr old! 🤮

I mean, a forced and unnecessary romance between a child and an 18 year old??? Aiden Thomas WHAT? I really think nostalgia and the amazing cover is the only thing that can save this book from being completely average or a DNF for most people. The writing was good and the story sounded great on paper but this book lacked the excitement that comes with Peter Pan and Neverland.

TW: abusive/scary father, absent mother (mentally checked out), kidnapping, loss of a loved one (past), alcoholism (parent), ptsd, injury, violence

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