I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Second Star by J.M. Sullivan
Series: Neverland Transmissions #1
Published by Bleeding Ink Publishing on 2019-03-05
Length: 352 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 New Release Challenge
Wendy Darling worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero. She races to the planet known only as Neverland; her mission to find the long-lost crew and bring them home.
But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan--and she has to decide quickly...
Before the darkness consumes them all.
When I first came across Second Star by J.M. Sullivan on another blog, I noticed two things: the sci-fi cover and PETER PAN. Y’all this is not a drill! Second Star is a sci-fi/space opera-ish retelling of the famous boy who never grew up. It took me a few days to read all the way through the book, but I was captivated from the first words.
Second Star begins with a mechanic taking down a ship to prevent his captain from continuing with a mission that would ensure death to the crew. Except things don’t go quite as planned, and the ship winds up crashing into an uncharted planet. The ship was the Jolly Roger, the captain is the notorious Hooke, and the mechanic is none other than Pan himself.
Meanwhile back on Earth, we the readers meet a young prodigy being dropped off at the academy. The prodigy is Wendy Moira Angela Darling, and she is determined to become a captain worthy of her missing hero Captain James Hooke. I must say I loved Wendy. She’s introverted, but it serves her well. She can size up a situation and people quickly. But she is also loyal to those who she loves. It serves her well.
The plot of the book is quite simple. A mysterious transmission is received by the Londonierre Brigade from a captain that’s been missing, presumed dead for a hundred years. A newly promoted Wendy leads a small crew to Neverland on a rescue mission. However things are not as they seem, and it quickly becomes a mission to save themselves as much as the crew they were sent to save.
I think what I love most about Second Star is Sullivan’s references to the original story, and not just the Disney version. From characters like Tinc, a nanobot that Peter built, and SMEE, the captain’s Synthetic Maintenance Engineering Emissary, to the landscape of Neverland, it is clear the author loves Peter Pan as much as I do. I loved how Sullivan intertwined the original elements to tell her own story. I love the setting of a futuristic society and of course Neverland being it’s own microplanet.
My favorite thing about this story though is Wendy, Johns, and Michaels. Elias Johns is Wendy’s best friend from the academy. And it is clear the love they have for one another. It’s a sibling type love, and Johns is fiercely protective of Darling. I’ll be honest I may have shipped them a little 😉
Overall Second Star is a fantastic read. I was left breathless and unable to read fast enough at times to needing to put the book aside and ruminate for a while at others. Alternating between Wendy and Pan’s POV is genius and flows so well. I loved getting to see this world from both perspectives. And the Shadow, the big bad of the book, is not at all what I expected. Seriously y’all perfection!! If you are a fan of Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, I believe you will enjoy this. Second Star is a must-read for any Peter Pan fan!