Title: Second Star to the Left
Author: Megan Van Dyke
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale Retelling
Publisher: City Owl Press
Summary: Tinker Bell, banished from her homeland for doing the unthinkable, selling the hottest drug in Neverland—pixie dust—wants absolution.
Determined to find a way home, Tink doesn’t hesitate to follow the one lead she has, even if that means seducing a filthy pirate to steal precious gems out from under his…hook.
Captain Hook believes he’s found a real treasure in Tink. That is, until he recovers from her pixie dust laced kiss with a curse that turns the seas against him. With his ship and reputation at the mercy of raging storms, he tracks down the little minx and demands she remove the curse. Too bad she can’t.
However, the mermaid queen has a solution to both of their problems, if Tink and Hook will work together to retrieve a magical item for her.
As they venture to the mysterious Shrouded Isles to find the priceless treasure, their shared nemesis closes in. However, his wrath is nothing compared to the realization that achieving their goal may mean losing something they never expected to find—each other.
Content warnings : Sex, Sexual Implications
Narrative style: third person | Perspective(s): dual (Tink and Hook) |
Tags: Retelling, Fantasy, Romance
Oh boy, when I saw Megan was getting published with City Owl, I got EXCITED. I’d read snippets of her work before and I just knew it was going to be good, plus I am 100% a sucker for retellings. (Insert obligatory have you read Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron??? here) The cover is gorgeous and I could not wait to read more about my favorite fairy, Tinker Bell, plus we got a sexy Captain Hook! I was obviously going to be all over this.
What I Loved About Second Star to the Left
There is a lot to love about this retelling, from how Tink came to Neverland to pirates having families they love in a secret cove, to our mysterious isles and merpeople. This was a very well done retelling and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My favorite part had to be the new world that we got to experience throughout the story. From Sylvanna Vale (land of the fairies) to the merpeople, to Tortuga and on and on. There was so much world building of this wonderful Neverland that we know and love. It was the perfect amount and left me wanting more. I would read pages and pages about Neverland and all its people.
Then we have Tink, I loved her sass, her unabashed love for her cousin and family, how she grew to care for the loveable pirate crew. She felt real. In the beginning her only goal is to get home, but by the end she’s grown so much and has found she can make home anywhere. I also loved that little bit of fairy lore we got about how their first name is actually their job and their second name is their chosen name. So Tinker, meaning she makes things, and Bell, her chosen name. I seriously need to know more about these fairies.
I also loved the pirates on Hook’s ship, from Smee being a loveable oaf, to Anne and Sage being two of the most badass female pirates I’ve ever seen. I would have loved to get to know more about all of them and their families, how they came to be pirates and why they kept choosing that life. We get so much pirate lore and about Hook, but not quite enough to satisfy my curiosity.
There was a lot to love about this story and I could easily read another sequel (or three) just to learn more about this world.
What I Wish I Liked, But Didn't
***THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS***
I just wasn’t a fan of Hook and Peter being half-brothers and the sons of Blackbeard (our obvious big bad evil guy from the start). It felt forced and thrown in at the last minute, I just did not get any hint of that being the case until Blackbeard came out and said it. It just really didn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the book. Like yes, it gave Blackbeard a reason for having Peter and his Lost Boys, yes it gave Hook a reason for saving them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to like it. It was a twist that wasn’t really a twist and feels really overdone in fantasy.
Controversy & Conflicted Thoughts
I do not normally do this section, however, I’ve had a particular section of the book stuck in my craw since reading. It bothers me, gets under my skin and is probably the one thing that I absolutely did not like about this book.
***THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS***
In the scene after Tink gets drunk in the bar with the rest of the crew during strip dice, we get a very intimate scene between Tink and Hook. Tink is completely inebriated, which in my mind means she cannot consent. Now Hook realizes this so they do not have sex BUT he continues to sexually pleasure her and himself, resulting in him coming on her back. THIS IS NOT OKAY. She did NOT agree to that, she was not aware that was happening (at least in my read). She doesn’t seem to remember that happening upon waking up in the morning either. So while I do love the romance that blossoms between the two throughout the story, this is…not cool.
Is Worthy Of Bookish Valhalla?
I thoroughly enjoyed Second Star to the Left and stayed up way too late to finish reading it. And then I found out there was an epilogue if you signed up for the author’s newsletter so I ran to do that. In other words, this STORY is definitely worthy of Bookish Valhalla!
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