• The Child Thief

  • By: Brom
  • Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
  • Length: 19 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (1,455 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the vein of Gregory Maguire’s bestselling works, the award-winning artist Brom takes us on a haunting look at the true world of Peter Pan, in his first full-length novel. From modern day New York to the dying land of Faerie, The Child Thief reveals the world of Peter Pan through the eyes of an insecure runaway who is seduced by Peter’s charm. But any dreams of a fairy wonderland are quickly replaced by the reality of life and death survival as Peter’s recruits are forced into a lethal battle in which the line between good and evil is blurred.

©2010 Brom (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about The Child Thief

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    3 out of 5 stars
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FIRST BLOOD

Starts with Rape
I am pretty sure that no one at Audible has listened to any part of this book. If they had it would not be listed under Kids. The book starts with the rape of Wendy. We are told it is a frequent event. It is a fairly detailed account. MOVE YOUR POCKED MARKED ASSES. The book is filled with the F word and lots of cussing. Continual, almost every sentence, swearing. THREE TINY BLUE PEOPLE WERE PEEING ON ME. All of this is fine for a Horror or some modern novel on the ills of the day, but what kid is old enough to hear this?

BOOT CAMP
I got the book, because of Brom and Krampus. I really liked that very adult and unusual story. A story that is based on legends in Europe. A legend where this Santa's helper goes into the houses of children who have been bad and drags the kids out of bed, puts them in a bag and carries them away. This book is extremely dark and seems to be a commentary on children who are abused. All the children in the book have been abused and are run a ways. When they run away they turn to drugs and prostitution. At one point the main character is offered a blow job for five bucks. Peter Pan is not a likeable character. He is recruiting kids to fight in a war. He leads them to Avalon (not Neverland) to train them for fighting. Many are killed just getting to Avalon and Peter does nothing to save them, as he believes only the strong should survive. Once the kids get to Avalon, life is still awful. They are bullied and mistreated, etc... I got as far as chapter nine, when the kids started Boot Camp. The book was not worth 20 hours and was starting to bore me.

Kirby Heybourne is the narrator and I have always liked his voice. He sounds similar to David Sedaris. It is an unique voice and pleasant to listen to.


35 people found this helpful

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Very well done.

The Child Thief was interesting and cleverly written. I enjoyed the new and interesting take on a very classic story. The story is told from many perspectives, so you know how each of the main characters feel, which makes them easy to relate to. It was a fairly violent book, but it only seemed to make the book seem more authentic. The danger seemed somewhat more real when described in such detail. I couldn't listen to this book all at one. It was dark and I often had to listen to some happy music because the story bummed me out so much.I wasn't sure I'd really like the book very much, and skipped over it several times. Then I read Krampus, also by Brom, and after reading that I was hooked on his style.

All in all it was a fantastic book, that I would be happy to forget- ONLY so that I could read it again as if it were the first time.

33 people found this helpful

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a beautiful entry but far from his best

most of Broms books seem to follow the same plot structure but that in no way means they are dull and boring. the child thief, krampus, and old gods do a great job of mixing together myths and legends into a new story while giving you points of reference. it gives you a way to get inside and fully understand the world that these myths embody. I'm not a smart man and ive got no gift for words but I'm trying....a little.
The child thief amd krampus were great books all around but old God's was by far my fav. try them out and I'm sure you will see what I was trying to vocalize.... especially about the plots

17 people found this helpful

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great premise terrible execution

R-rated Peter pan is a epic premise but the writing killed the story, Peters character doesn't draw you in nearly as much as you'd expect, he's just a bloodthirsty kid with just enough charisma to talk wandering kids into following him to a deadly island which would have been fine if there was more to it, but that's practically the whole story. The writing seemed lazy and blatantly linear at times with predictable and dissatisfying outcomes throughout the 19 hour listen. huge time commitment, somewhat expensive, and forgettable overall. If you're looking for something really good by Brom I'd definitely recommend "Old God's" enjoyed every moment of that one.

14 people found this helpful

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Not your mother's Peter Pan...

The Child Thief started out very strong, with a retelling of Peter Pan with modern day lost boys and girls in a dark and violent Neverland. Unfortunately, as the book moved from introduction of the first characters and the dark premise to the details of the story, the booked weakened dramatically (in more ways than one). About half way through I was just waiting for it to be over. The characters (good, bad, and in-between) were all less real then I felt necessary to support the dark and more adult storyline. The language was also overly simplistic for my taste. The vocabulary rarely strayed from elementary school level. Anachronisms really annoy me, and here they abound. Characters from many era all speak modern English. Finally I did not find a good reason for this book to have been written ??? other than the original copyright expiring.

Perhaps this book would be fine for young teen boys looking for a really gross and brutal retelling of the Pan story with some action (but not really adventure). This seemed to be written for children, except the darkness and violence might be more than many children would enjoy.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A gory retelling of Peter Pan

I thought this book was very well written and it kept my attention, the narration was excellent. The reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it really is very violent and gory. In some cases it really seemed gratuitous and did not advance the plot. So, if you are squeamish you will want to avoid this one.

13 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

First of all, this book is way more violent than anything I read led on. I kept having to pull my earbuds out when it got too gory but then I couldn't tell when the gruesome bits were over. I'm not overly squeamish, either, but this proved too much for me.

Also, in terms of performance, the narrator did something strange with his voice every time someone "screamed" or "cried" something, which happened about twice every chapter. I found it extremely distracting and it frequently pulled me out of the story.

Overall, I don't think this is a bad read, it just isn't for me. But if you, like me, have an aversion to five minute descriptions of someone's intestines being ripped out or to narrators doing strange grunt/screams mid-chapter, it might be best to skip this one.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The darkest Pan ever!

You'll find yourself cringing more than once while listening to this. Fits well in both the fantasy and horror genres. I really liked the afterward by Brom as well, it gave insight into what inspired such a twisted take on Peter and the Lost Boys. The Disneysation of Peter Pan is over! Long live the Child Thief!

12 people found this helpful

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I read the reviews

I read some of the reviews on this book before I bought it, and almost didn't. Fortunately I listened to two other stories by Brom and was hooked on his style. This is not a child's story. It is about children, specifically about Peter Pan, but it is a story for adults or young adults and older teens, who have grown up fascinated by Peter Pan and are looking to hear the real story, or one more plausible then the Disney versions. The story was good, fast paced and full of suspense and vivid descriptions. Peter is a darker version of Pan than we are familiar with, but , for those of us who are familiar with and wondered at some of the things he did and said in the original, it is a more honest portrayal of the sprite that never ages,who is self centered and self focused and has no memory for people he has known. I enjoyed this story and the narrator who read the book. I look for ward to hearing more form Brom. He has shown himself to be a thoughtful, genuine creative writer, who knows how to build suspense and weave a tale of wonder. As Hook might say, "Good Form, Brom, Good form."

11 people found this helpful

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Wow. Really good book. Loved it.

I didn't know going in just how good this book would be. From chapter one though, I was sucked into this world of magic. I'm normally a thrill reader, love Stephen King, so this isn't my usual cup of tea, but wow. Great spin on Peter Pan. Glad I took a chance.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Gustav
  • 08-20-12

A dark and terrifying version of Peter Pan

This was my favourite book of the year. I was gripped from start to finish. I couldn't stop listening to it, finding myself staying in my car after parking it because I didn't want to stop listening.

Brom proves in this book that he isn't just a brilliant artist but also a fantastic writer. The story is daring, free-thinking and sound. The narration is superb. Everything about this book is fantastic. The characters are alive and believable, but most of all, complex. No one is pure good, no one is pure evil. Welcome to a hundred shades of gray!

A warning: this book is ADULT ONLY. It isn't sexual, but the violence is disturbing.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-22

I loved this book.

Although very dark, I found the story totally captivating. I found myself rooting for certain characters and needing to know what happened to them next. I loved it so much I bought another by Brom straight away and am itching to hear it!

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  • Goonerette
  • 10-14-21

Brilliant from start to finish!!!

I absolutely loved this book!
As a child I loved Peter Pan the original unabridged novel by Barry. This book really takes the ideas and plays with them beautifully. Take the real Peter Pan and then develop on him.
Well narrated too. This book is a hidden gem. A must read and as a side note it’s definitely not for kids!

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  • Daniel Vilches
  • 05-04-21

perfect

i got this book when inwas 21, I am now 33 and wanted to revisit the book again, so many memories came rushing back, and the narrator did an amazing job choice acting each character. 10/10 for me

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  • Charlie
  • 04-01-21

Amazing spin on an old classic

I loved this books so much I have now got a hard back copy.

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  • A. Listener
  • 12-05-19

Exceptional storytelling.

One of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. I'm not sure how I can do the story justice in my reviewing of it.
I really felt like I was there in this world. Before I give my opinion of the plot, which I'll try to do without dropping spoilers, I should say that Brom writes exceptionally well. His way with words, it's not just the compelling plot he created, but I like his writing style (at least as I have heard it read).

The plot itself was really fun, and sometimes hard to read. This isn't a story for children. There are some seriously disturbing moments throughout the story.

I have been a fan of Peter Pan for as long as I can remember. I am also interested in the author, JM. Barrie's personal journey, from the death of his brother, the neglect of his mother, and his friendship with the Davies Brothers, who helped inspire him to create Peter Pan. So I am familiar with the darker origins of the character Peter Pan, and this story is closer to that Peter, than the modern Disney version.

Although this novel takes some of the source material, and adds in some ancient British fairy tales too, so it's different enough from the Peter Pan story most people know. It felt to me like Peter Pan meets Wizard Of Oz and Oliver Twist.
I also didn't see the ending coming, which I always like in a good story, when I can't predict how it's going to go.

The narrator also provided a great reading. Twenty hours and no complaints. I think he's American, but some of the non-American accents he pulled off very well. His skills for reading in different tones (for women, and different men), less well, but still good enough.

I only had one mild negative reaction, and that was some of the characters (and I felt like they were the words of the author) commenting on the other main character, Nick, and his decision to leave home. That he was wrong to leave. And while I won't mention the details (spoilers), I thought he was right to do so. He's a child. He's owed a safe place to live, and a parent's job is to provide that. And if the child can't get that, then I don't blame them one bit for leaving to find safety elsewhere. That's all I can say about that without spoiling anything.

So if you're in the mood for a lengthy dark fantasy, with a big splash of Peter Pan and some other ancient myths blended into one great story, I highly recommend this.

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  • Howard
  • 09-25-17

A dark Peter Pan

Thoroughly enjoyed The Child Thief. Listened after discovering Lost Gods. A really interesting take on Peter Pan, much more fascinating than any adaptation I've seen

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-20-22

Amazing

What a beautiful recipe of dark fairytail, modern day and madness all rolled into one glorious story.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-27-22

fantastic tale, truly a great book

I loved this book, honestly everything about it was excellent, this is the story of Peter pan we need, and the narrator does a brilliant job, his character voices and reading is seamless, I really can't say enough good things. Started this book because I got so bored of another series I was listening to that was getting slow with poor narrating and this just reminded me how good audio books can be

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  • John G
  • 06-19-19

What an exceptionally excellent story

This is the Peter Pan that that should have been made into movie. Excellently written and what a exceptional performance by the narrator. I bought all of Brom's other books, and I mean all of them, audio and hardback off the back of this, I start Krampus tomorrow.

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  • matthew
  • 01-04-17

Great story

Was a great first book, a really good twisted dark side to a Peter pan type of story. Really enjoyed it.