Book Reviews

Hooked by Emily McIntire

(content warning for Hooked: 18+ content, kidnapping, death)

While I’m getting more into romance in general, dark romance is not a wagon I have hitched myself to in the past.

Emily McIntire’s Hooked may have me… intrigued.

You thought I was going to write “hooked” didn’t you?

In Emily McIntire’s retelling of the classic Peter Pan story, James Hook and Wendy Michaels become lovers under two opposing circumstances: Wendy is attracted to James’ persistence and bad boy demeanor, and the way he draws her out of her shell of innocence, while James is using Wendy to get close to her father, Peter Michaels. However, things don’t always go as planned.

When unforeseen events force the characters to see the worst in each other, how can they overcome that and remember the person they fell in love with? Does knowing someone’s deepest darkest secrets change how you love them, or how you want to love them?

In this novel, steam and captivating plot, setting, and character development vie for being the best part of the story. For me, it was the characters. Hooked has a cast of characters with individual personalities who all help drive the plot forward.

It’s special to feel like someone wants you for just being you, so the fact that James wants Wendy just how she is – despite his efforts not to – is appealing. And their passion is intoxicating. And he actually gratifies her in the way she wants, not just what he thinks she will like.

I love the idea of being protected and wanted at the same time, viewed as precious but not as weak.

If you have a praise kink, this book is definitely for you. (I do not, but I didn’t let that take away from the story.)

Dark romance is not a subgenre that I am familiar with. If you’re like me, the following definition from Tailored Book Recommendations may help: “Dark romance is a lot like how it sounds–romance novels with darker themes, with mature content for adult readers. Dark romance novels often come with content warnings, and they can explore BDSM, role playing, abduction, rape fantasies, and kidnapping and captivity. Some dark romances do explore lack of consent. Readers who enjoy these books are often looking for sexy and steamy romances with a helping of emotional catharsis, and dark romances deliver!”

While I don’t want a partner or lover who commits the acts of violence that James does, I recognize that this is a book, and some things that happen in books – or movies, songs, etc – are okay that would not be in real life. One unexpected outcome of reading this book is an increased comfort level in the way I think of intimate encounters. It’s important to recognize that everyone’s comfort levels are different, and something that is okay for someone in a media format might not be okay for them in real life.

But if you’re curious, like me, a familiar story retold as a dark romance could help you ease into it and see the world in a new way. While I may not be 100% addicted to the dark romance genre yet, I found this book easy to read with a quick pace and I’m definitely going to read the next book in the Never After series.

Next book release: Scarred, the second novel in the Never After series, will be available 4 January 2022.

Learn more about Emily McIntire and her other works at www.emilymcintire.com