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  • RoAnna sylver

Review: 5 Stars to ‘Peter Darling’ by Austin Chant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“He breathed out and settled in the feeling of being himself, of being something whole.”

* * *

First of all, I had a hell of a time picking an opening excerpt. I always try to head a review with my favorite line, and if you look at my updates, you’ll see I highlighted almost 100. (Please, feel free to go through them! There’s spoilers, but I just want to rooftop-shout about these words.) The writing is that exquisite, and the book so filled with beautiful phrases, it’s much more difficult to say what segment I didn’t love. Story aside for a moment, I’m a little in awe of Chant’s ability to state incredibly complex, profound, heart-deep concepts in wonderfully clear ways, either through lovely poetics or deceptively simple language. Sometimes both at the same time. It’s a rare book/writer where you just love the words, and want more, almost regardless of what they’re actually writing about. I’m fairly certain I’d read anything, if it were written like this.

The story and characters itself…

I honestly don’t think I can do a detailed analysis here. A quirk of my brain is that I tend to go nonverbal or nearly-so during extremely emotional moments. The more important something is to me, the less I can easily express it.

That’s tripping me up nastily here. That’s how you know it’s powerful.

It’s good. It’s very good. It’s very important. They are important. This story is important.

The fact that this is all I can say should in fact say it all.

I am glad this book is in the world, and I am glad I am still in the world to read it. It was needed. I truly wish I could get into the relationship/identity/emotional crux more, but… you just have to read it for yourself. I couldn’t do it justice anyway.

On a less-raw note I CAN discuss because it’s less home-hitting – the wonderful re-imagining of the very nature of Neverland itself! I didn’t see it coming for a moment, and had no idea when starting this book that it would contain such an amazing new angle. I started for the romance, not the plot twist, but Chant’s interpretation of Neverland, its rules and un-rules, its power and lure and solace and danger, and the refreshingly alien fae – I haven’t so much enjoyed being knocked on my ass in a long time.

I won’t tell you what I’m babbling about, because that would rob you of the experience. Just read. You’ll know when you get there.

I can’t think much more (it’s the emotional-brainfog again; this book is so important it’s actually hard to tell you WHY), so I’ll finish by just Strongly Recommending that you read this book. I usually don’t feel the need to re-read, but I do here. Something in this book will change you, for the better. If nothing else, I can say that.

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