Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review: Peter and the Starcatchers

Not satisfied with being a best-selling humorist who makes me want to give up writing every time I read his books (when I catch my breath from laughing) the illustrious Dave Barry has decided to dominate another genre. His series, co-authored with Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatchers was a lot fun.
The whole series (four books in all) is a prequel to the story of Peter Pan. Peter is an orphan who gets tied up with a earth-based front of an inter-stellar war. In the process he acquires the powers of flight and eternal youth. I won't say anymore. It is Harry Potter-esque, but without wizards (there is some magic but it isn't as pervasive.) We listened to the series, which was read by Jim Dale (who is also narrator of the Harry Potter series) and it was odd how certain voices and characters seemed interchangeable. Molly Astor (I don't give much away when I reveal she is the mother of Wendy Darling) sounds a lot like Hermione. Her father is Dumbledore-esque - although a non-wizard Dumbledore is much cooler. Anyone can be a genius wizard with magic - try doing it without magic though!

Dale, by the way won an "Audie" award for his narration of the series.

The books aren't perfect, there are tedious bits. But there is also a nice Dickensian gloom to parts of it, also there is real sadness when Peter realizes that he won't grow up but the girl he loves will. Best of all, are the bad guys. In book 3 we learn what they are really about and what they really want and it is super creepy and almost metaphysical. I like books where there is something really big at stake.

Probably the best endorsement I can offer is that the series ends around 1900. The little Goofs and I have been speculating that since Peter is ageless, perhaps he can come back to help out in World War II.

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