The Child Thief is not a book I thought I would read. While it does fit into the general category of books I like, I actually hadn’t known of its existence until recently.. The Child Thief was introduced to me by one of my gamer friends who swears by this book.
My friend and I were talking about books one day when she told me her favorite book is The Child Thief. It is a dark fantasy novel. I haven’t read many of these.
She talked it up a great deal, then came Christmas. I opened the package and there it was. The Child Thief was waiting for me to open its pages and discover the magical mysteries within.
So What’s this book about?
The Child Thief is a darker tale of Peter Pan. Now if you know about the original fairy tales then you know they are all pretty dark and not really meant for children. Well, maybe they were way back when but not today.
The Author, Brom, was inspired by the original Peter Pan tale and so this story was born. The Child Thief takes another dark spin on the classic tale of the youthful lad and brings him into the modern world. Here is the blurb:
My friend did warn me that children die in this book. I am giving you, my readers, the same warning. I will be honest though, I was really bracing myself to be triggered. It’s the reason why I didn’t start the book until after the holidays.
What’s my take on the book?
Despite my reservations about The Child Thief triggering me, I was pleasantly surprised when I got to the finish line and wasn’t triggered once. There were moments, however, where I felt a bit disgusted or angry at certain events. Several of the characters definitely left me frustrated – but in a good way.
The good way meaning…
The book was superbly written. When I got mad at a character its because I was supposed to. Everything I felt while reading this book was meant to be there. I really commend the author for writing such a riveting tale.
One thing he did that I am so impressed with was taking the descriptions of child abuse right to the brink but not going overboard with the details. I mean the prologue itself started with a young girl bracing herself to be raped by who was only referred to as “the man” when Peter saves her.
Brom does a wonderful job of describing what the girl is thinking and how she is feeling. He shows us how she is trying to protect herself in a hopeless situation by looking out at the stars and wishing she could fly among them.
Now those of you who have never suffered through this sort of thing are probably thinking that’s a terrible thing and know you will never read it. I understand. But for me, the first few pages were a testament to how far I’ve come in my own healing. I read the words, felt the girl’s fear, with every fiber in me I felt her fear. But I didn’t waver. I didn’t get the shakes and I didn’t have nightmares.
Maybe that’s because Peter saved the girl and I knew he would. I expected him to. Had it gone further and Peter didn’t save her until after, maybe I would have had a different opinion.
But Peter isn’t the Hero
Yes, Peter saves these kids from their abusers/attackers. And yes, Peter isn’t completely evil. Brom does an excellent job of portraying Peter – and other characters – in a multidimensional light.
Would you like to know where the Captain fits in all of this? Well, without giving away any spoilers, he’s not as evil as most stories would have you believe. Nor is Peter as innocent.
No, for me Nick was the hero. He went through the classic hero’s journey. He started off a scared but stronger-than-he-thinks character. He saw himself as weak and useless but also wouldn’t stand by and watch drug dealers take over his home.
When he gets to Avalon (Neverland), he really struggles with himself more than anything else. He goes through a few transformations actually. He is what I call the reluctant hero. He doesn’t want to be a Devil. He doesn’t want to fight someone else’s war.
But he also can’t stand by and watch others die. Through it all Nick discovers that he isn’t as lost as he believed and he fights to get back home to his mother.
My final Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. When I chose to read it I really had no idea what to expect. I had listened to my friend and read a few other articles on the book but I wasn’t sure how it would affect me personally.
What made me decide to read it was the author. As a writer myself who turns abused children into heroes I really wanted to give this book a chance. I wanted to see through the eyes of another such writer. It paid off tremendously.
This novel also actually helped me personally. I’m not talking about the abuse stuff either. I have been struggling with mom stuff. I have had a lot of anxiety around my boys getting older. Adam just turned 17 and Conner just turned 12.
Reading this novel though helped give me some perspective on getting older. It’s a would I rather kind of thing. Would I rather they live forever on an enchanted island but they have to spend forever fighting for their lives. Or would I rather they grow up with me at their side with a better chance of living happier lives?
The Child Thief has earned its place on my book shelf and I will definitely be reading it again!
Thanks so much for reading!
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