So I was lucky enough to get my hands on Lisa's epic new fantasy, due for release on February 2, 2016. You can also preorder it here.
From “talented wordsmith” (Publishers Weekly) Lisa Maxwell comes a lush, atmospheric fantasy novel filled with twists and turns about a girl who is kidnapped and brought to an island inhabited by fairies, a roguish ship captain, and bloodthirsty beasts.
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.
But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…
Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.
Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?
The bottom line? If you like your fairytales enchantingly dark and achingly romantic, then Unhooked needs to be at the top of your TBR list for 2016. The story grabbed me by the nightie on page one and didn't let go. It's been a long time since two characters have burrowed so completely under my skin; yes, we're talking about the kind of love story that haunts you for days afterwards. Lisa Maxwell expertly flips the traditional Pan story on its head, so be warned: these are not the one-dimensional hero/villain/damsel in distress roles you remember from childhood.
I don't want to give a lot of spoilers, so I'll just say that in the end, what makes this a great book is not the lyrical writing, or the heart-pounding action, or the clever plot twists, or the deep world-building, although it has all of those things. In the end, it's always the people we remember, the things they teach us about what it means to be human (sorry if that sounds corny, but it's just true). So this is a story about love and magic and dreams, but also friendship - girl friendship, thank you! - and family and forgiveness and a lot of other things.
I had high expectations going into it after reading Sweet Unrest and Gathering Deep, and was not disappointed. As a side note, I happen to have a thing for pictures of ships (my bedroom is like a nautical theme park), so I swooned over the gorgeous cover. This is a book begging for a sequel. I am, at least!