Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson – Peter and the Starcatchers
89. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson (2004)
Starcatchers Trilogy, Book 1
Read By: Jim Dale
Length: 8h 42m, 480 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Started: 18 August 2007
Finished: 26 August 2007
Summary: A prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Peter, a young orphan, is put aboard the ship Never Land with several of his friends, bound for service at the court of a foreign king. Also on board is Molly, a spunky young girl, and a mysterious trunk said to contain “the greatest treasure ever took to sea.” Peter soon learns that the trunk is full of starstuff, magical and powerful dust that falls from the sky, and that Molly is a Starcatcher, a member of a group bound to find the starstuff and keep it from the hands of those who would use its power to evil purposes. However, the Starcatchers are not the only ones to want the trunk: the Never Land is being tailed by the nefarious pirate Black ‘Stache, intent on claiming the trunk for himself. A huge storm causes a shipwreck, though, and pits Peter, the Starcatchers, the crew of the Never Land, the pirates, and the natives of the island in a race to claim the trunk and the transformative power it holds.
Review: I really enjoyed this book. It didn’t have the same tone as Barrie’s original, but it certainly captured the spirit, and what’s more, it managed to fit in all of the elements of the story in an imaginative way without sacrificing an exciting story. The idea of “starstuff” being responsible for the creation of Neverland – and of Peter himself – was a stroke of genius, and is entirely consistent within this book and with the original. I also really enjoyed getting a glimpse of Peter before he became Peter Pan, and Captain Hook before he became Captain Hook, etc. – the main character elements are there, but so are the seeds of their eventual transformation into the classic characters we all know and love. I can’t help but compare this to Geraldine McCaughrean’s Peter Pan in Scarlet, where the tone matched that of the original Peter Pan much more closely, but where the story was predictable and tedious. Even though the reader knows where the story of Peter and the Starcatchers is going to end up, Barry and Pearson make getting there an exciting ride. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Imaginative fun for plenty of winks for Peter-lovers, and a good action-adventure story for everyone else.
First Line: The tired old carriage, pulled by two tired old horses, tumbled onto the wharf, its creaky wheels bumpety-bumping on the uneven planks, waking Peter from his restless slumber.