Title: The Child Thief
Published By: EOS (HarperCollins Publishers)
Publish Date: 2009
Purchase From: Amazon @ $17.81
The Child Thief by Brom is a retelling of Peter Pan. In this version of the tale, things are far more dark and sinister than what you may remember from Disney. The Child Thief opens by following a young boy named Nick. This boy is running away from a drug dealer who has taken up residence in his grandmothers apartment building.
After telling his mother about the problems the drug dealer is bringing to the home, Nick is confronted and is burned across his forearm for being a snitch. Trying to get back at the drug dealer, Marco, Nick steals several thousand dollars worth or drugs and tries to get away.
Nick is discovered in a park while trying to make his way to the New York Subway. After being knocked down and held in the park for Marco to arrive, a golden eyed boy, Peter, springs out and comes to the rescue of Nick. After a quick show of violence, the boys leave the park and let loose on the streets.
Before long, Nick is taken to the mist and brought through to the world Peter is protecting. This world is not Neverland, but Avalon. In Avalon, Peter is raising an army of children to fight the flesh eaters and their captain. All of the children here have been collected by Peter and were in some sort of trouble. Because of the circumstances in which these children were saved, Peter is viewed as some sort of Messiah.
A land that we all think of as filled with fun and games, is told as one filled with violence and death. The boys train to become killers and hunt the flesh eaters, which are trying to eradicate the land of the devil children so that they can escape the mist that has trapped them there.
I’ve got to be honest, when I first heard that this book was a retelling of Peter Pan, I was a bit skeptical. After heading over to amazon and reading the premise, I was really eager to give it a read. What I found was a version of Peter Pan that was so gritty that I couldn’t put the book down.
Practically all of the characters in this story are gray (not black or white as in ultimately good or evil). Everyone is fighting for what they believe is right, meanwhile this entire war that looms on in the book is nothing more than a catastrophic misunderstanding and overreaction. By the end of the story you get to see the best and the worst of the substantial characters.
I thought that this was a fantastic story which is definitely worth a re-read in the future. While this may be a story of Peter Pan, it is not meant for children. Both extreme violence and foul language take place in this book, which is why it is probably best suited for a mature reader.