Saturday, February 2, 2008

Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

This is the third book in the Starcatchers trilogy, and what a great ending it was. In this trilogy, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have recreated the Peter Pan story, his origins, what really happened to Peter's parents, why he can fly, etc. It's creative and funny. I think the entire series would be a fabulous read-aloud to younger children.

DISCLAIMER: If you haven't read the first two books, there might be some spoilers in the rest of this review, though I don't think it gives away any large plot points.

In this last book, we finally meet up with all of the lost boys, retrieve some more starstuff, destroy Lord Ombra, and say goodbye to the Astor's for forever. As with the other two stories, there are several story lines happening at once: Peter being kidnapped by the Others, Lord Astor and Molly attempting to get to Peter before the kidnapping, and the Mollusks being attacked by the evil and dangerous Scorpion tribe.

The Peter/Astor story lines were fun and exciting and I had a difficult time stopping while I was reading them. I actually liked the idea that Peter's parents didn't purposely abandon him, though I didn't think it was ever clear exactly what happened to them (*spoiler: Did they get sent up in the original rocket?? end spoiler*).

The Mollusk storyline didn't settle as well for me. Possibly because I wasn't as familiar and in love with the characters. It was interesting, and I was concerned for their welfare, but it just didn't work as well. Fortunately, this storyline, while important, was not the central storyline and I never felt bogged down by it.

I thought the overall conclusion worked well and set up the story for the "real" Peter Pan story to take place.

Another aspect of the series that I also really like that Tink's original naughty temper was kept throughout the series. Because she has become a favorite character, sometimes her personality is softened in other Peter books. An example of her delightful (aka snotty, rude, etc) personality shining through (Tink is in italics, since only Peter and Lord Astor can understand her):

"We can use the cannon to distract the men in the front, but the rear gate is likely to have guards. If you go in alone..."
Excuse me? chimed Tink
"I won't be alone," said Peter.
"But what about the arrows?" said Molly...
Does she ever stop nagging?
(page 446, hardcover ed.)

I think her personality is captured perfectly, and for some reason I really like her personality.

If you are a JM Barrie purist, you probably won't like the Starcatcher trilogy, but if you like Peter Pan and a good, clean adventure, then I highly recommend all three books in the trilogy.

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