Darling by K. Ancrum

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Imprint and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town. Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?

I’d heard too many praises for Ancrum not to be looking forward to this book. I’ve heard people absolutely rave over her previous works, so I was intrigued about them. Though, a Peter Pan retelling? Something about the synopsis, and the cover, and the online love, just completely drew me in. I was intrigued. And I wanted to know just what this book was all about. Trigger warnings: murder, grooming

I am composed of a whole lot of wows right now.

It’s weird, I’m kind of wary of Peter Pan inspired stories (for truly personal emotional reasons), but there was something about this book that completely sucked me. Simply from the synopsis, and simply from the cover. It felt like a book that is a small, quick pinch, but latches onto with small claws and won’t let go. This book was exactly that.

This book is a contemporary that reads like a fantasy. This is a retelling that takes place in the modern world, but there seems to be a magic running underneath the surface of this story. It has a magical tinge to it; this book has a feel about that makes it seem like colorful spark, like a burst of something that is simply magical at its core.

This was such a fantastic Peter Pan retelling. It managed to fully be it’s own story, while paralleling the originally in incredible ways. It felt like holding up my hand in a mirror and seeing my hand move with the reflection. The similarities are stark, and noticeably, but there are also ones that hide beneath the surface, and only make themselves known when needed. And those were just as powerful as the ones that were front and center.

Really, this book being such a fantastic retelling is what makes it as effective as it is. It has the same magic as the first one, but it digs deeper. It goes darker. But the way it mixes with the original, the way they seem like two sides of the same coin, make it something truly special.

The writing was also something that made this book as spectacular as it was. I know I’ve used the world magical so many times already, but the writing felt truly magical. It highlighted the sweeping glint of the gold on top, but brought forth the darkness that was just around the corner. Plus, Ancrum is just downright TALENTED.

Also, the subtle humor that is slipped into this book is amazing. It was in small places, but I honestly snorted out loud multiple times.

I also fell completely in love with so many characters. I wasn’t expecting to some reason, but I warmed up to pretty much every single one of them. There is a whole crew of them, and every single person felt like their own unique individual. They had their own stories, and their own motivations. And all of them were just downright awesome. And the relationships, the way they burned slow, but blossomed from the ashes. Just, I love every single one of them.

Overall, this book was not what I was expecting. I know the synopsis said it was a modern retelling, but for some reason I went in expecting fantasy. What I got was something like fantasy, because I really do think it read like one. It does have a magical undercurrent in the way it mirrors the original, in the writing, in the way the story unfolds, in the characters, and truly just this book as whole. Really, I loved this book so much all around.

Darling comes out June 22, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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