The Child Thief by Brom

The Child Thief by Brom
Rating: 5/5
You might like this if you like: The Plucker by Brom; The Devil’s Rose by Brom; Peter Pan by J M Barrie; dark, twisted fantasy novels

In the vein of Gregory Maguire’s bestselling works, the award-winning artist Brom takes us on a haunting look at the true world of Peter Pan, in his first full-length novel. From modern day New York to the dying land of Faerie, “The Child Thief” reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of an insecure runaway who is seduced by Peter’s charm. But any dreams of a fairy wonderland are quickly replaced by the reality of life and death survival as Peter’s recruits are forced into a lethal battle in which the line between good and evil is blurred.

Wow! Just… wow!

I was already a fan of Brom through his illustrated novels (The Plucker and The Devil’s Rose), but his first full-length novel, The Child Thief succeeded in completely blowing my mind.

Looking at the darker undercurrents of the Peter Pan story, Brom has worked his twisted magic and woven a tale that melts folklore, myth and legend into the story of the boy who never grew up, and the result is nothing short of stunning.

Brom has a rare talent with both words and pictures, and although there are fewer examples of the latter in this novel, those that appear are breathtakingly beautiful and perfectly suited to this retelling of one of the world’s best-loved pieces of children’s literature. And this version is strictly for the grown-ups! The pages are drenched in mayhem as Brom’s sociopathic Peter “steals” children from our world to take to Avalon and fight with him in a quest that seems unwinable. But their battles aren’t just with the Flesheaters – they’re with each other and with themselves as the children (in particular, Nick) try to work through their own adolescent problems.

This is perhaps the most accessible of Brom’s written works, and will hopefully entice people who don’t usually read graphic or illustrated novels, as once a reader has seen Brom’s artwork and read his flowing prose, they will surely fall completely in love and will spill over to his other works.

Reviewed by Kell Smurthwaite

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