First sentence: Once upon a time, there was a boy not so very far from being a man. He crossed a sea to venture to London, for he wanted to find his brother, who was the bravest of soldiers. He carried with him only a light pack, for he had every intention of returning...
The novel opens with a move. Gwen and her mom have moved...again. Readers are given the impression that this happens a lot. That her mom is very unstable, that the daughter takes care of the mom instead of the other way around. Along for the trip is Gwen's best friend, Olivia. The tone of the novel from the beginning is dark and mysterious. (Readers witness Gwen's mom FREAK out because of a drawing on a nursery wall. On an evening run, this paranoia seems to have spread to Gwen who FREAKS out when she sees her friend talking to a stranger.) Gwen's nerves continue to be frazzled that night. She can't sleep. Then her worst fears come true.
I will never forget how this moment feels. Like I am being pinned down by night itself. I thrash wildly, trying to get away, but the intruder holds me easily, and then, pressing his face into the curve of my neck, he inhales--a sharp intake of breath--like an animal scenting its prey. When he exhales, his host, fetid breath crawls against my skin. Instinctively I jerk back, but his body cages me in, and his scent overwhelms me--he smells like the damp underside of old leaves, early and a little sour from decay. Like hunger and wanting. But as close as he is to my face, I can't make him out. The room has grown so dark, there isn't enough light for me to see him. Without warning, something warm and wet traces the length of my exposed neck with excruciating thoroughness. He's liking me. Tasting me. Bile rises hot and acidic in my throat, and I understand that I am not going to make it out of this untouched. I don't know if I'm going to make it out at all. (34-5)Gwen is kidnapped--abducted--from her new home and taken....where????? Well, first she wakes up on a ship. And then she spots an island in the distance...and told that it's NEVERLAND.
There is a Captain (named Rowan) at odds with someone calling himself PAN. But forget what you know about Peter Pan and Neverland.
Unhooked is a read that is best described as dark, intense, dangerous, very life-and-death. Nothing trivial or jolly about it.
Is there a love triangle? Perhaps for a chapter or two as Gwen tries to make up her mind who is telling the truth. But for 90% of the book there is not a love triangle to be found.
Is there romance? Yes. While I would not describe it as instant-love, I would say there's some instant-attraction going on. I think there is a decent amount of relationship development occurring throughout considering the circumstances.
What about the characters???? I love the depth of characterization in this one. The villain was fully realized, as was the hero and heroine.
I also really enjoyed the dialogue of this one. Very well done!
One more quote:
"But in the story--"© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
"Were I you," he says, turning back almost viciously, cutting off my words, "I'd not put my trust in stories. They tend to pass off lies as the truth and hide the truth in their lies." (75)