On the tenth anniversary of her mother's death, fourteen-year-old Madge Darling’s grandmother suffers a heart attack. With the overbearing Grandma Wendy in the hospital, Madge runs away to Chicago, intent on tracking down a woman she believes is actually her mother.
On her way to the Windy City, a boy named Peter Pan lures Madge to Neverland, a magical place where children can remain young forever. While Pan plays puppet master in a twisted game only he understands, Madge discovers the disturbing price of Peter Pan's eternal youth.
*May Contain Spoilers*
The story of Peter Pan continues with All Darling Children by Katrina Monroe. Wendy Darling has grown up. When she had a daughter, Jane, something happened and she disappeared. Wendy swears she's deceased, but Margaret (Madge), Wendy's granddaughter refuses to believe that. Madge is the main character of this adventure to Neverland, after she's visited by Peter and told that he can take her to her mother.
Neverland has never seemed like the most inviting and safe place and Madge is in for a nightmarish collection of games when she arrives in Neverland. Madge is a young girl who has always been shunned and mistreated by her grandmother. Locked away constantly, Madge wants nothing more than to escape. Her persistence not only gets her into more trouble with Wendy, it also introduces her to the world of Peter Pan. When she meets the Lost Boys in Neverland, she fears them but also comes to care for a few of them. She sees the awfulness Peter puts them through and wants to help. Readers will side with her on this and support her resistance of Peter's methods. However, there is a mean streak underneath Madge's caring exterior. A streak that gives her the edge to perhaps finally defeat Peter Pan, which Tiger Lily and Hook have been trying to do for years. Madge is a brave little girl who depends on herself. She's the heroine of this story, but details about her family history make me wonder if she'll remain the hero after her plan to defeat Pan is complete.
Captain Hook and Tiger Lily also play important roles in this story, supporting Madge and pushing her to defeat Peter Pan. Though Hook is now a ghost who cannot actually help in any physical way, he provides important advice and guidance for Madge and Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is the next chief of the Red Men and she must fight for her people's survival, as Peter consistently attacks their camps. She pushed Madge to destroy Peter, but doesn't worry about what consequences Madge will face if she succeeds.
The plot of All Darling Children is all based around the destruction of Peter Pan. Madge visits Neverland and though she enjoys the island, she is also afraid. She learns that Peter is not just a boy who likes to have fun and never wants to grow up. He's a boy with a wicked sense of humor and a severe lack of morals. Though Peter Pan is usually thought of as a children's story, this continuation of Peter Pan is anything but. The book contains adult language, adult situations, and a few grisly scenes. Readers who enjoy fantasy and fairy tales, I believe, will enjoy this book, but the mindset needs to be more adult than you'd think because this fairy tale has a dark side. And it may not be over...
Rating: 3/5 Cups