In this magical re-imagining of J. M. Barrie’s classic tale, Michael Darling—the youngest of the Darling siblings and former Lost Boy, now all grown up—must return to the life he left behind to save Neverland from the brink of collapse and keep humanity safe from magical and mythological threats, as well as answer the ultimate question: Where is Peter Pan?
Peter Pan is missing; Neverland is in trouble. For adults, that might not matter all that much, but for children—whose dreams and imagination draw strength from the wild god’s power—the magic we take for granted in the real world is in danger of being lost forever.
Such is the life of a now grown-up Michael Darling.
Michael returned from Neverland with the dream of continuing his adventuring ways by joining the Knights of the Round, an organization built to keep humanity safe from magical and mythological threats. But after a mission gone terribly wrong, he vowed to leave the Knights behind and finally live as a “civilian,” finding order and simplicity as a train engineer, the tracks and schedule tables a far cry from the chaos of his youth.
He hasn’t entered the narrative in years. So what could the Knights need from him now?
Maponos—or how he’s better known, Peter Pan—has gone missing, and Neverland is now on the edge of oblivion. Michael realizes he has no choice and agrees to one last mission. Alongside the young Knight Vanessa and some old friends, Michael embarks on the ultimate adventure: a journey to a fantasy world to save a god. Determined to stop evil, fight for Neverland, and find Maponos, will Michael be able to save the magical and physical world? Or will his biggest fear come true?
The clock is ticking, and in Neverland, that’s never a good sign.
Martinez (the Goblin Star series) underwhelms in this 1925-set Peter Pan sequel and series launch starring an adult Michael Darling. The opening links J.M. Barrie's eponymous hero with Celtic mythology, but this fascinating element goes underexplored. Instead, the arc is familiar: a reluctant return to a hidden magical world by a protagonist who has settled for a safe, prosaic life. Michael followed his adventures in Neverland with service to the Knights of the Round, supposedly "founded by Merlin himself to protect humanity against supernatural threats." Tired of that stressful, secret life, Michael is now a London train conductor. That return to the ordinary is disrupted when he's summoned to the Knights' headquarters and told that Pan, in reality Maponos, the Celtic god of youth, has disappeared. Pan's failure to venture into the human world from Neverland for over a year threatens a permanent rift between the two realms. Of course, Michael returns to the fray, encountering the expected old friends and foes. While charming enough, nothing feels particularly original. Fans of retellings will be pleased, but not wowed.