Reviews,  SJardine

God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez : A Review

In this magical re-imagining of J. M. Barrie’s classic tale, Michael Darling–the youngest of the Darling siblings and former Lost Boy, now all grown up–must return to the life he left behind to save Neverland from the brink of collapse and keep humanity safe from magical and mythological threats, as well as answer the ultimate question: Where is Peter Pan?

Peter Pan is missing; Neverland is in trouble. For adults, that might not matter all that much, but for children–whose dreams and imagination draw strength from the wild god’s power–the magic we take for granted in the real world is in danger of being lost forever.

Such is the life of a now grown-up Michael Darling.

Michael returned from Neverland with the dream of continuing his adventuring ways by joining the Knights of the Round, an organization built to keep humanity safe from magical and mythological threats.. But after a mission gone terribly wrong, he vowed to leave the Knights behind and finally live as a “civilian,” finding order and simplicity as a train engineer, the tracks and schedule tables a far cry from the chaos of his youth.

He hasn’t entered the narrative in years. So what could the Knights need from him now?

Maponos–or how he’s better known, Peter Pan–has gone missing, and Neverland is now on the edge of oblivion. Michael realizes he has no choice and agrees to one last mission. Alongside the young Knight Vanessa and some old friends, Michael embarks on the ultimate adventure: a journey to a fantasy world to save a god. Determined to stop evil, fight for Neverland, and find Maponos, will Michael be able to save the magical and physical world? Or will his biggest fear come true?

The clock is ticking, and in Neverland, that’s never a good sign.

As someone who’s been a fan of Peter Pan stories since childhood, I’m always on the lookout for new retellings. However, I often find myself disappointed by the lack of originality or depth in many of these adaptations. That’s why God of Neverland by Gama Ray Martinez was such a pleasant surprise. Martinez’s take on the classic tale is both familiar and fresh, incorporating beloved characters from the original story into a captivating new narrative. From start to finish, I was hooked by the imaginative twists and turns in this incredible story.

While I initially referred to God of Neverland as a retelling, it’s actually a sequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic story, which I think is a smart move when crafting a tale set in such an iconic world. What caught me off guard, though, was the book’s heavy emphasis on the urban fantasy genre. As a big fan of this genre, I was thrilled to see it so well incorporated into the story. While the majority of the plot takes place in Neverland rather than a city, the urban fantasy elements are clearly present throughout. Despite this, I’m hesitant to label it strictly as urban fantasy, as the setting isn’t typical of the genre. Regardless of genre labels, God of Neverland is a thrilling read for fans of both Peter Pan and urban fantasy.

What I found most captivating about God of Neverland was how it reimagines Peter Pan’s backstory, providing a more coherent explanation for his personality. In particular, I appreciated the concept of Peter Pan as Maponos, a deity associated with youth and mischief. To me, this idea makes much more sense than the original notion of a boy who simply refuses to grow up. I’m eagerly anticipating what comes next in this series, whether it involves further explorations of the Peter Pan mythology or a departure into a completely different direction. Regardless of the direction, Gama Ray Martinez has set a high bar with this book, and I can’t wait to see what other imaginative twists and turns he has in store for us.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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