Wendy Darling Volume One: Stars

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Wendy Darling Stars by Colleen Oakes

I was given the second book in this series by NetGalley. Having never read the first, of course I wanted to start with that one. So I purchased it and was very excited. I was planning on loving this series and everything about it. But things didn’t turn out quite that way in the end.

I will say that I think Colleen Oakes is a good story teller. Even though the places she went to with her characters in this book rubbed me the wrong way in all directions, I think her writing itself is good. She was very descriptive and was able to easily wrap an entirely new and different world around you as a reader. So I did enjoy her writing style.

But that’s where it ended.

SPOILERS AHEAD! (But really, if you care at all about how women are treated, you might want the spoilers before picking up this book.)

She had a chance to create a story here with a strong central female character. She could have taken that and run with it. But instead, our main character – Wendy Darling – as well as the few other female characters in the book are abused, disrespected, and at the very least dismissed due to the fact that they are female.

The more I read, the madder I got. Wendy gets misused by every male she comes across it seems. At the start of the book she is falling in love with a local boy, Booth, whose father owns a bookshop. Long story short, he is not wealthy enough to meet her parent’s standards but basically tells her to suck it up and to, “be brave.” She tries to tell him that if she does that she will either be shipped off to a horrible boarding school if not completely disowned. Notice *she* is the one that will suffer the consequences, not *him*.  His response is to again tell her to be brave and deal, because basically that’s what he wants her to do. He does not for one moment consider the situation she would be placed in.

Then her father basically tells her because she is his daughter he all but owns her and it doesn’t matter if she has a broken heart, she has to do as he says.

Her brother John seems to hate all women, his mother included. He disrespects them at every turn when he’s not outright dismissing their existence. But Wendy never stands up to him and just takes his verbal abuse throughout the whole book, remaining loyal to him no matter what.

Then she ends up in a relationship with Peter Pan where she is constantly manipulated and in the end outright physically abused, ending with him trying to kill her and changing his mind at the very last minute. This is complete with the trite and predictable attitudes of:

  • I only hurt you because I love you.
  • I’m only trying to teach you a lesson.
  • I’m only trying to make you a better person.
  • I’m only trying to make you realize how much you love me.

I’m not even kidding.

And let’s not forget the one we all love to hate – Tinkerbell. Yes, she is also awful to Wendy but we see the dark underbelly of her relationship with Peter where she is literally beaten to a pulp and cries afterwards that she knows she deserves it because she pushes his buttons.

You guyyyyysssss……..I just can’t even.

How this female author could have taken this platform that she had to do something absolutely awesome with these characters and turned it into this cliche, I’ll never understand it.

Once I finished volume one I was so angry that my Goodreads review read……

“Predictable ending. And Peter is an abusive ass. That is all.”

And that ~ pretty much sums it up.

Colleen Oakes could have really done something wonderful here. Instead she created more of what women have had to fight against forever.

What a disappointment.

 

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