The Child Thief by Brom is a Peter Pan retelling of sorts. You remember Peter Pan, right? Peter would show up to children with promises of eternal life without aging and a world of magic. Sounds familiar, huh? Except… something doesn’t quite add up with Peter.
Peter saves children from sexually abusive parents, drug addicts and certain unhappiness with promises of a magical land with faeries and monsters. Of course, with nowhere else to turn, they go with Peter. But what is Peter hiding? What secrets are behind his dark past? What does he really need the children for?
Wow, what a dark and beautiful book. This is definitely not your typical fairytale retelling. The darkness in this story is palpable. The sinister twist on the Peter Pan story is brilliant and enticing. Peter recruits the bruised and broken children in order to create his own army to return his land to its former glory.
“Everything comes with a price. Everything. Some things just cost more than others.”
I really enjoyed the way the story went from past to present in order to weave a story about Peter. Part of me didn’t like Peter. The other part of me loved him. The struggles he’d endured in his life. The secrets he keeps from the other children. The way he snaps from giggling to attacking. He uses his young looks to drop people’s guard.
My favorite part about this book is just how dark and creepy it was. The monsters were grotesque. The illustrations between every chapter were absolutely gorgeous. The story was well-written and ominous. The characters seemed real and almost unreal at the same time. But most of all, the characters made me feel something.
“If you don’t learn to laugh at life it’ll surely kill you, that I know.”
Somehow Brom twisted the world of Peter Pan to an eerily foggy wasteland. This story has some of the elements of the old stories but none of the happiness. At times the dark and dreary tone of the book can really wear on you. Be sure to take a step into the sunlight to lift your spirits. Maybe dance a little.
I went into this book knowing I was probably gonna like it. I love creepy and dark stories. The idea behind a sinister Peter Pan was exciting. But one thing I wasn’t quite prepared for was how much I ended up loving this book.
“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.”
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a twisted and dark Peter Pan retelling. I’d even recommend this book to people who just plain love fantasy. I would categorize it under Adult Fantasy to be safe, though. There are elements that may trigger or offend some people. If you feel you may be one of those people, I recommend reading a preview before plunging in. Honestly though, I loved it. Every single dark moment of it.