, September 06, 2014
(view all comments by Rainbow Explorer)
Having read several of the earlier books in the Starcatcher series, I had anticipated this book would be as rewarding as the others. Much to my dismay, I have discovered that the authors (and their corporate sponsor, Disney Corp) have turned this book into an all out advertisement for Walt Disney World. Far worse than that, they've apparently enjoyed so much success with this series of books, they no longer believe it is necessary to come up with a reasonable plot, interesting characters, nor any other crucial feature of an intrinsically meaningful novel. Instead, they opted to created the most superficial, immature, chronically irritable set of characters I believe I've ever encountered. It's obvious, to me, the series is strictly being perpetuated for financial reasons, at this point. There's no prevailing passion, interest, enlightenment, nor inspiration to be found beneath this profoundly boring, ponderous waltz through a series of dry, meaningless "searches".
Instead of dealing with family life common to previous generations, this time the authors decided to create a story involving current teens interacting with Peter and Neverland. To do this, they created a profoundly dysfunctional "modern" family, two siblings who can't interact respectfully with each other under any circumstances, a college professor with the emotional and social skills of a preteen, sick/twisted/extremely superficial semi-romances between several core and side characters, and a wholly unreasonable series of events. When I recall how Peter and Molly (both pre-teens, in the first book) behaved toward each other, their families, and other characters, it's obvious that careful thought, respect, affection, and care were interwoven into those relationships. Now, we're expected to contrast those mature, responsible, intelligent pre-teens of the past, with current supposedly technology-crazed, mentally dull, socially inept, rude older adolescents of today. I clearly get the message that the authors don't respect the teens of the 21st century and know them only superficially, as well.
The parents of these teens aren't interested in each other, nor their kids, while the family doesn't connect with each other except on the most superficial, distant, and indifferent/sarcastic levels, with genuine understanding, insight, affection, tenderness, and support lacking, in nearly every interaction. I've never read a book with such endless streams of sarcastic dialogue before, nor one in which the characters show so little growth or change, throughout the storyline. If this were a school assignment, I'd be handing it back to the authors with instructions to take the whole thing apart and redo it or fail the course, it's so badly constructed, on every level. There are even times that the grammar is incorrect but not in an artistically meaningful way - merely the result of boredom with the project by all who were involved with it, IMHO.
While Peter Pan and the Lost Boys are portrayed as having lived over 100 years, they are so shallowly depicted, one cannot sense that they've grown or matured either intellectually or psychologically, in all that time. While a human who was forever a biological child would not be expected to show any physical changes, it's beyond the realm of reason to believe they wouldn't become far more independent, skillful, and insightful, after having lived in one setting for 100 years. Their IQs would have to be at a very low level, were they to remain forever mentally/psychologically immature, despite a lack of puberty hormones and experiences.
I have no doubt that nearly every potential reader of this book could write a more interesting, creative, heart-warming, inspiring story about how s/he would stumble into a visit to Neverland today, than these authors did. Thankfully, I borrowed this book from our public library so I'm not stuck with this "lemon" on my bookshelf. It's time to give this series its final adieu, authors, before public praise for your work turns to public contempt.