Title: All Darling Children
Author: Katrina Monroe
Published: 20 October 2016
Published: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
On the tenth anniversary of her mother’s death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.
On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan’s eternal youth.
There was a lot of things that I didn’t like about this book and one of it is due to the characters. I felt that most of the characters were very one dimensional and lacked any sort of depth. For example, with Wendy Darling. In this book she was such a hateful person and character yet the reason why she was so hateful was not explored and thus making her look like a lunatic. Another character I felt was problematic was the main character, Madge. I really disliked her. She was such a brat, such a know-it-all it annoyed me to no end. She was also a very reactive type of character and not proactive. In one instance in the book, she only realised that she was hungry was after Pan pointed out that her stomach growling. Like how? How? I felt that she was also too mature for her age (she is 14 in the book) yet sometimes her actions are really questionable. Like following a random boy you just met to god knows where. She says that her life plan is to find her birth mother yet nowhere in this book did she go out and tried to search for her mother herself. It was someone else who did the job for her and she just happened to be there for the ride.
Another thing that I really find dubious about this book is the time line of the whole plot. Assuming, the plot starts after the original Peter Pan plot line then Wendy would have to be 108 years old (assuming this book starts in the 2000’s). I mean I don’t know about you but I don’t think a 108 year old woman can be as sprightly as Wendy is in this book let alone do much harm and also why does Madge call Michael, uncle? Isn’t Michael the brother to Wendy? Wouldn’t that make him Grand-Uncle? and why is Michael so young here? If we are following the time line again wouldn’t he be 100 years old assuming he is 4 when he first went to Neverland.
Also, there were a few important details that I felt were left out. I am not sure whether this will be explained in upcoming books but for now I will just assume it will not. It was never really explained how the relationship between the Neverland and Pan worked. It was said, I think by Tiger Lily, that Pan and Neverland worked in relationship whereby it was Neverland that gave Pan his immortality and power over the island but it was never explained how and another thing was it was again never explained how these powers transferred to the next Pan title holder because Peter is not the only Pan. There was another Pan before him but because he was too nice Peter overthrew him from power and killed him.
Not all was negative with this book. There were some things that I did like.
I liked how dark the overall theme of the book was and I have never read the original Peter Pan story but from wiki he seems similar to the Pan in this book which was a guy who doesn’t have much empathy towards others and isn’t afraid to kill a few lost boys.
I also liked the double meaning towards the title. All Darling Children can mean all children and also all the Darling children that for some reason Peter Pan is obsessed with which now reminds me of another plot hole that was never explained in the book. Why was Peter Pan so obsessed with the Darling family?
I would recommend this book to people who would want to read a different aspect of Peter Pan and people who wouldn’t mind a gory interlude here and there. I am split as to whether I want to continue with this book if it ever is a series. I want to know whether the plot holes will be ever explained but at the same time the feeling is not as strong as I would like it to be.
*A copy was given by publishers via Netgalley in return for an honest review