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The Child Thief by Brom – Book Review by Kris Wragg

When I was a child one of my favourite movies to watch was Peter Pan (along with Dumbo and Winnie the Pooh).  The thought of this magical land where you never grew up really appealed to me, just think, you could have fun FOREVER and if you can’t be a pirate then the next best thing is to torment one!

I have not read the original books of Peter Pan yet, they are on my very long list of books to read, but when I discovered that one of my favourite artists, Gerald Brom, had written a book with his own interpretation of Peter Pan, I was very interested in reading it.

Brom’s art is very “different”, taking elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror and blending it all together into some fantastic pieces, of which many have been used for games, comics and books.  I had no doubt that his book would certainly carry a darker more adult tone to it then the story I had grew up on.

I would like to start by saying that this book is most definitely for adults; at the very least you should read the book yourself before allowing a child to read it as there are many scenes of violence and other adult themes.  The story revolves around the character Peter and his trips to the real world to guide children whose lives are not so perfect (victims of abuse, rape, drugs) to the magical land of Avalon, as well as the turmoil of Avalon falling apart due to the presence of the pirates.

The author covers the basics of the original plot and mixes in various aspects of British/American folklore, the culmination of which is an extremely interesting read.  Throughout the book you often wonder who really are the good guys and bad guys as you see through the eyes of the Devils (Peter’s group of runaway children) and the pirates stuck in the land of Avalon who have become bitter and twisted through centuries of Avalon’s magic twisting their very essence.

Overall I really enjoyed this book, I was impressed at the quality of writing although I guess it is not all that surprising that an artist with a very vivid imagination would struggle to put his thoughts down on paper.  His interpretation of Peter Pan was certainly insightful and perhaps helped boost the original writing higher up my to-read list, although Josh’s book, The Knot, is next on my list after I finish reading “Barbarians At The Gate”.

As a side note, this is the first full book I have read on my Kindle and it was quite a good experience.  I was a bit dubious when I bought my Kindle that it might not be nice to read on, but I was pleasantly surprised as the writing is extremely crisp and almost identical to reading a book.  I will most certainly recoup my costs by ploughing through many public domain books over the coming months.  Although I don’t think I will ever stop buying physical books entirely it has made me realise that e-books are definitely getting there.


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  • Erin October 25, 2010, 4:00 pm

    I didn’t realize The Child Thief is inspired by Peter Pan! It sounds like a really fascinating blend of elements.

    I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your e-reader. I’m considering making the leap, so I’ve been on the lookout for book lovers who have embraced these pageless, newfangled devices!

    • Kris Wragg October 26, 2010, 12:32 am

      Erin, I can’t speak for other ebook readers but I really like my Kindle, its the latest edition and apparently has the latest e-ink screen which no other device has yet?

      If you have plans to read lots of public domain books, i.e. ones that have been out so long they no longer have copyright, then you can easily recoup your cost over time.

      At the end of this book Brom talks about the original book and the bits that made him realise it wasn’t all that innocent, he also describes where some of the other elements come from, such as Scottish/Welsh/English/American folklore. I definitely have to read the original by James Barrie at some point though, I am really intrigued.

      • Erin October 26, 2010, 7:40 am

        I’ve been looking at the B&N Nook. I am really not ok with how Amazon restricts what files you can put on their Kindles. I read a lot of books from the library and am kind of excited about the prospect of borrowing e-books, but from what I’ve heard you can’t put them on a Kindle. The Nook seems like the next best thing. Maybe I should wait a bit until it catches up with the latest e-ink technology!