cover image God of Neverland: A Defenders of Lore Novel

God of Neverland: A Defenders of Lore Novel

Gama Ray Martinez. Harper Voyager, $27.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-301463-3

Martinez (the Goblin Star series) underwhelms in this 1925-set Peter Pan sequel and series launch starring an adult Michael Darling. The opening links J.M. Barrie’s eponymous hero with Celtic mythology, but this fascinating element goes underexplored. Instead, the arc is familiar: a reluctant return to a hidden magical world by a protagonist who has settled for a safe, prosaic life. Michael followed his adventures in Neverland with service to the Knights of the Round, supposedly “founded by Merlin himself to protect humanity against supernatural threats.” Tired of that stressful, secret life, Michael is now a London train conductor. That return to the ordinary is disrupted when he’s summoned to the Knights’ headquarters and told that Pan, in reality Maponos, the Celtic god of youth, has disappeared. Pan’s failure to venture into the human world from Neverland for over a year threatens a permanent rift between the two realms. Of course, Michael returns to the fray, encountering the expected old friends and foes. While charming enough, nothing feels particularly original. Fans of retellings will be pleased, but not wowed. Agent: Rhea Lyons, HG Literary. (Apr.)