1.05.2012

Review: The Bridge to Never Land, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

The first novel of Barry & Pearson's "Peter and the Starcatchers" series to drop the P & S title, The Bridge to Never Land manages to be true to the P & S name while respectfully resembling the inspiration for the series: the works of J. M. Barrie. Whereas its predecessor (in both publication and chronology), Peter and the Sword of Mercy, seemed to miss the mark in terms of continuity and quality, The Bridge to Never Land simply soars.

Over an hundred years has passed since the last installment, wherein Wendy seeks out Peter to help save her mother, Molly Darling née Aster. Sarah and Aidan, siblings living in present day Pennsylvania, happen upon a piece of paper during one of their brother-sister spats. This paper is a clue, a puzzle, that sends them on a mad dash over two continents, into an alternate universe and, in pure Ridley fashion, to Disney World. 

Aiding the pair is physicist J. D. Aster (of the starcatching Asters, of course). But even as they are running from the police, the F.B.I, and Disney security (all of whom believe that the siblings were abducted by Aster) they are pursued by a villain that fans of the series know well - not Hook/Black Stache, not Mr. Grinn, but the very chimera of villains: the shadow-stealing Ombra, himself. Weakened by the battles with Peter and the starcatchers a century ago, Lord Ombra has lay in wait, scouring the earth for the first hint of starstuff, the strange and powerful material unknown to science, that turned fish into mermaids and makes children fly; a material that, in the wrong hands, is deadly. 

Young fans of the series will find that, as with Harry Potter, the modern twist on an old kind of magic is inviting and refreshing.Traditionalists will embrace the presence of the mystical island called Never Land and its inhabitants, and there's even something special in there for the loyal Disneyites among us. And yes, there's room for a sequel.

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