Book #52: Everland by Wendy Spinale

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The only way to grow up is to survive.

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived the destruction and the outbreak of a deadly virus are children, among them sixteen-year-old Gwen Darling and her younger siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the deadly Marauders—the German army led by the cutthroat Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook is on the hunt for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the surviving children. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return.

Until one day when they grab Joanna. Gwen will stop at nothing to get her sister back, but as she sets out, she crosses paths with a daredevil named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it might cost Gwen more than she bargained for. And are Gwen, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart the ruthless Captain Hook?

I joined in on an Owlcrate Book Club in Facebook and this month was the first month. Everland was the second book in this month’s group of books and the one I was most excited about.

Everland is a steampunk/dystopian retelling of Peter Pan. Now, I’m not a big Peter Pan fan. In fact, I find him to be a little shit. Maybe it’s just the medium that he’s being portrayed that I don’t care for, but no matter. He’s just not my favorite character. That said, the sequel to Everland has just come out and it is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland with the same setting and everything. I knew that I needed to at least try this book out first.

I’m glad I did.

The characters were interesting enough that, if I didn’t know any better, I would think Wendy Spinale was the original creator. And yet, there was enough reference that I was excited to find them. She expertly melded her world and Barrie’s characters into a story that was intriguing and exciting.

The dystopian aspect may have been a bit off the wall, but I found that to be an easy thing to push aside. The idea of adults being killed off fast seems a bit unbelievable. Then again, the character’s keep reminding you that the book is set a year after the events that made London into Everland.

The steampunk is what made me very happy. There are gears and steam galore! There are medical and technological discoveries that bring the steampunk world to life. And, to my greatest happiness, there isn’t a single mention of aether! Sorry, but that plasma stuff seems like a catch-all with some Steampunk books. I can understand if the world also has magic. Anyways, I was excited about that.

Did I have an emotional response? I did. I found myself cheering, booing, and laughing aloud. I’m sure my husband was glancing at me sideways.

I’m definitely getting the sequel. Especially now that I have a Barnes and Noble coupon.

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