I don’t know what that hundredth guy is thinking of. Maybe the peanut butter brand pops into his head first? Anyway, The Child Thief by Brom (Yeah, just one name. Like Madonna) takes that image of the lovable (read: obnoxious) flying boy in green tights and contorts it into a vicious demon who will sooner stab you in the nuts than look at you. Now that I’ve got your attention…
This book is worth reading. It is beautifully written, as tragic as any Shakespeare play, and so damn violent I nearly puked my guts out while reading one particular scene. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but hypothetically that scene involved a man slitting open another guy’s stomach, pulling out his intestines, and handing them to his hunting dog for a chew toy. Welcome to the world of The Child Thief. For those of you who don’t get it yet, the child thief is Peter. He’s kinda got a war going on, and he needs cannon fodder – I mean brave soldiers – to help him win it. So he finds frightened children and steals them away to a world full of magic, wonder, and bitchy fairies. Wait no…just a world full of people who save money on doggy toys by using your organs. The book follows one such lost boy (Hey, that has a familiar ring to it…) named Nick, who get swept away by Peter only to discover that once you get to Peter’s land of horror, there’s no turning back. Nick gets caught up in Peter’s war, and finds himself surrounded by other kids who actually worship Peter because their life fighting his battles is actually better than the life they left behind. Nick isn’t so sure of that, though, and that gets him into a wee bit of trouble.
The book is long, and every page simultaneously grosses you out, entices you to read further, and makes you thank God that you walked away when that creepy kid with the pointed ears asked you if you wanted to see something cool. A word of caution: If you have a weak stomach, you absolutely love the Disney version of Peter Pan, you’re looking for a book with a happy ending, or any combination of those three things, do not read this book. For everyone else, think of a happy thought. Got one? Good. It won’t help you fly, but it might keep you sane while you read this book.
— Rebecca Leviton