Normally, for a book series I like, I’ll read one, then read other things, then come back to the next one in the series. But over the past two weeks, I decided to binge-read and finish the Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Before this, I’d read — and thoroughly enjoyed — the first two books, Peter and the Starcatchers and the amazing Peter and the Shadow Thieves.
First up was Peter and the Secret of Rundoon, the final chapter in Barry and Pearson’s original trilogy about the origins of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Neverland. As seems to be common for me, I thought the final chapter of the trilogy waned a bit. This is my least favorite of the entire series, by far. I felt one of the most interesting plot threads (and I’m being vague about which one because my beloved Rose hasn’t read this yet) was only superficially addressed and left unresolved. Also, it was only when I finished the book that I realized the moment where Peter stopped the villain from carrying out a plot wasn’t just that, but was supposed to be that villain’s ultimate defeat.
Thank goodness the series didn’t stop there, because the next installment, Peter and the Sword of Mercy was fantastic, my definite favorite in the series. Set 20-some years after Secret of Rundoon, this installment showed old characters grown up and provided the first appearances of new ones: most notably Wendy, John, and Michael Darling. It felt like a celebration of everything that was great about the first three books while also being a worthy sequel and an epic adventure. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The ending of Sword of Mercy would have been a fitting ending to the series, but thank goodness Barry and Pearson added Bridge to Neverland. The authors say right in the Acknowledgments at the beginning of the book that they wanted to do something “different” with this one and boy did they ever. Again, I don’t want to post spoilers because my wife hasn’t read this yet and she’s this blog’s #1 reader and fan, but what I kept telling her as I read this, over and over, was, “This is insane. This is insane!” And I said it all with a gleam in my eye as I delightfully dug into the next chapter.
Overall the Starcatchers series was absolutely wonderful and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The series doesn’t always mesh perfectly with Disney’s animated Peter Pan or with JM Barrie’s source material, but I don’t care because this series is, to me, the definitive story of one of the greatest fairy tale characters of all time.