ARC Review, Book Review, Fantasy, Romance

Second Star to the Left by Megan Van Dyke

Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust—wants absolution.

Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.

Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.

However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.

As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find—each other.

Fairy tale retellings and what if stories have always been a favorite of mine. When I heard about this story, I had to get my hands on it. I am glad I did. As soon as I got this, I could not put it down. It was easy reading, and the tempo was perfect. I could go for more in this world from this author and see more adventures of Hook and Tink.

 The only Tinker Bell I am used to is from the multiple Peter Pan films and Once Upon a Time. From Disney’s Peter Pan, I never really liked Tink. But in this story, I enjoyed her very much! I love her sass and strength. The author did an amazing job creating this Tinker Bell. Some traits I remember from the movies (emotions shown as different colors in her face) and others I do not know if they came from the Tinker Bell films or from the author. Tink was a very rounded character. I enjoyed seeing her flaws, both positive and negative. I hope we see more of her in this world!

This Captain Hook reminded me of Killian from Once Upon a Time. There could be a few reasons. Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite shows. Maybe I will forever think of Killian Jones as the new Captain Hook and maybe the author was influenced by the show, too. Who knows, I mean, I did like Jason Isaac’s version as well. But this Captain Hook, like Tink, I enjoyed very much. He was the different side we, as fairy tale readers, never see, and this version felt natural. The author did an amazing job with Hook, and I hope we see more of him.

 The rest of the cast were just as fun. They all helped push the story and protagonists forward, even if they were behind the scenes. There really was not a character I did not like. The antagonists were the mean pirates you wanted in a pirate story, and the side characters were just as thought out as the main cast. The author did an amazing job developing her characters.

I wish there could have been more world building. It felt as if the author was relying on how much the readers knew about Neverland from either the original fairytale or other adaptations and Tinker Bell movies to make the details richer. The setting is in Neverland or that was the impression until a character confirmed the location later in the story. Even with that small opinion, the world was well written.

The author did an amazing job intertwining the Peter Pan characters with her original characters. They felt natural together and not forced. Peter and the lost boys came and went, and I loved how the Tink, in their world, was explained. The magic and lore of the pixies were interesting and well explained in the story. I thought it was very cute on how Tinker Bell got her name as it felt like the author did her research on name history.

I defiantly recommend this story. This is so far my favorite read this year. I loved being in Neverland and reading the different cultures and backgrounds of these well-beloved characters. This is your story if you like slow burn romance, retellings, fairytales, strong characters, action and adventure reading.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 5/5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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