Sequel to “Peter Pan and the Starcatchers”, which was itself a prequel to James Barrie’s “Peter Pan” (conveniently for me, both authors have the same first four letters in their names, so it was easy to find all the books in the kids library, being in one place and all that). So does that make it a SePrequel or a prequelsequel? I don’t know, but it is a good book, and pretty much even with its predecessor in quality. An accomplishment in an of itself, since the first book was one running joke after another, and “Peter Pan and the Shadowthieves” is one streaming mystery after another.
Plot: The books opens essentially where it left off in the last one, maybe a few months ahead, and Peter clearly hasn’t gotten the entire leadership thing yet. His friends have to help him out of a major scrape, with our mermaids coming back to help out in exchange for a chance to flirt with Peter, and everyone is too busy to notice how many bad people have congregated on the island all at once (and one of them isn’t even a people). The escaped pirates from the first book return, the marooned pirates decide to attack, and a mysterious creature with unknown powers wants the box of starstuff. The other bad guy problems, while not resolved right away, take a back seat to the threat posed by the Shadowthief. Since the stardust isn’t there, the creature and some of the pirates leave to find it, muttering threats against Molly as they go. The lost boys, therefore, are left to deal with part of the pirate problem, so Peter can help Molly protect the starstuff. Molly, however, is back in London, and doesn’t know what is coming; neither does her father, who is busy trying to return the stardust. The Others have a lot of henchmen involved this time, and it is going to take everyone’s detective skills to figure out what they are up to. Tinkerbell (a birdgirl, as she prefers to be called), gets involved , trying to protect Peter in a new kind of jungle, even getting a mini adventure of her own among the birds (that is really quite funny). A lot more action than the first book, and more of a mystery-element to the plot, but sprinkled with enough jokes to keep the tension from going anywhere high.
Positives: Too many to mention, but here are my favorites. Peter becomes more of a real leader (saving people not just when it is easy or convenient, helping his boys and trying to include other people in his fun), though the part when Peter returns to London is the best. He has a lot of struggles, but shows plenty of courage and determination (like a hero should). Molly is equally intelligent, though not always wise, and some of the incidences she helps out with are pretty funny. My favorite character in this book, though, would be George. Its about time someone came up with a compensation to the ladies-all-love-Peter subplot; thank you, Dave Barry! The entire book, actually, I found quite funny (though I resent the fact that certain bad guys are still at large, and no prequelsequelsequel)!
Negatives: Captain Nezzera and his wooden nose are a creepy pair for the opening chapters. Once he is made into more of a comedic relief he’s tolerable, but in the beginning he is no fun at all to read about (I have never enjoyed the oh-by-the-way-this-is-why-we-call-them-bad-guys part of books). Also, there are alot of smart animals in the end action scenes (my personal pet peeve, smart talking animals. Thankfully, the talking was minimized, but still, what’s up with the animals? Porpoises are bad enough.). The Shadowthief’s effect on people is described as zombie like, and the children’s bad behavior is not always rebuked.
In Essence: Can I just say, George is great? Really, he’s kind, and considerate, and a gentleman, and scholarly in a charmingly geeky way (okay, irresponsible; not telling his parents anything that has happened is unwise. Aside from that character flaw, he’s great counterbalance for the mermaids), and its hilarious to see him and Peter silently agree that they will never be friends. I like mysteries, so this storyline appealed to me,and I highly recomend it (though not as a realy little kidsy book, despite being in the children’ssection).