Title: Peter Darling
Author: Austin Chant
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Transgender
Page Count: 164
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is.
But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.
Hook gave a low chuckle. “Your obsession is flattering, Pan. And I share it.”
“Is that not what they call it,” Hook said, “when two men can think of nothing but each other?”
Peter Darling uses the familiar backdrop of Neverland, the Lost Boys and Captain Hook. But in this reimagining, Wendy Darling is Peter Pan with the fierce independence and ballsy daring, cloaked in the wrong body. When Mrs. Darling tells Peter “why don’t we get you dressed up in your prettiest frock […] the very idea of parading in front of his father […] in a pretty frock made Peter’s skin crawl.” Later remembering that moment after Peter has returned to Neverland to recapture his true identity:
He found he was shaking, both with anger and with a bone-deep fear he had forgotten about until that moment. It hit him, again, that his skin didn’t belong to him, that he was a puppeteer moving a stranger’s body. That he was playing a character, while the real, lonely, frightened Peter was buried inside him.
Austin Chant’s beautifully nuanced story also gives us a Hook that uses Neverland in much the same way as Peter. And when Peter and Hook finally touch, it is erotic and deeply moving. “His skin was stark canvas begging for ink, and Hook’s touch was going to stain him forever.” And the ending, oh gawd, is wonderful. Peter Darling is incredibly moving, well-written and original, and I highly recommend it.
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