Welcome to my MTMC Tours stop for A Sea Of Eternal Woe by R.L. Davennor!
This is the sequel to A Land of Never After, which is a dark and twisted Peter Pan retelling (with references to Blackbeard and Edward Teach — which made my history nerdy pirate heart happy). Book one kicks off with Wendy Maynard having just aged out of the orphanage and ploughing headfirst into trouble as she encounters the real world for the first time. She dreams of a ship, but also finding answers about her heritage and past. But things go awry when she’s rescued, and then thieved from, by a quick-sharp boy named Peter Pan and lured into the dark forests of Neverland. And in this version of Neverland? Here there be MONSTERS.
I do have an immense soft spot for all things Peter Pan retellings, but I particularly appreciated the monsters, forests, and queer aspects of this one! Peter is trans and there are secondary queer characters too. It also isn’t afraid to go dark as it incorporates lots of attacks and murderers and curses. Hook is a depraved villain who will stoop to wicked lows to break the curse rotting away his life, and Peter is ruthless and cunning and, let’s just say, does not take the moral high ground here. Anti-heroes, villains with redemption arcs, heroines falling to their bloodlust, sacrifices and betrayals — this book has it all.
“Myths are what monsters are meant to be. This, sweetheart, is real.”
The sequel, A Sea of Eternal Woe, starts off soon after book one left off. I don’t want to give spoilers 👀👌🏻 so let me leave you with a few things to look forward to. Wendy and Peter are of course headed into part two of their quest: to find a way for Peter to remain immortal. He has zero wish to grow up and also experiences a lot of dysphoria. He wants always be a boy and have fun. (Gotta quote the 2003 movie, aka my favourite iconic childhood obsession. 😂) Wendy also shares the narration with Hook this time. Hook is definitely an interesting antihero (though I don’t forgive his crimes from book one…and neither does Wendy) and he’s so desperate to find his long lost lover, aka Wendy’s mother. What was meant to be two separate quests twists and rejoins into one, and Hook and Wendy find themselves begrudgingly in the same boat and having to work together.
This is a darkly creative and twisty fantasy series starring intrepid characters, wicked twists, and all the monsters you could ask for. Definitely for fans of fairytale mashups + quests and dark adventures
Visit my instagram for the INTL Giveaway! Thanks to MTMC Tours and the author for the ebooks.
Title: A Sea of Eternal Woe (Curses of Never #2)
Author: R.L. Davennor
Publication Date: August 30, 2022
Genres: Fantasy Retelling
Purchase a copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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As Captain Wendy Maynard…I have everything I ever dared dream of. A ship all my own. Friends by my side. A purpose—and a home.
I should have known it would all go to shit.
The exhausting combination of storms and outrunning monsters have left The Jolly Serpent battered and broken, and my crew no longer trusts me to pick up the pieces. Just when it looks like Peter and I are about to be thrown overboard, the unlikeliest of saviors shows up…My father.
I didn’t plan on seeing Captain Hook again so soon, but he needs me, and I need him. The sea witch Ursa is hiding far more than secrets, and if the rumors are to be believed? Her realm makes the horrors of Neverland look warm and fuzzy in comparison. Failure to retrieve what we’ve lost simply isn’t an option. If we do, it’s not our lives Ursa wants. It’s our very souls.
Hi R.L.! Thanks so much for chatting with me today about A Sea Of Eternal Woe! Tell us a bit about your process of writing this sequel! How long did it take to write and was it easier/harder than book one?
Hello! Thank you so much for having me. The book took about eight months to write in total, though I wrote more and faster toward the end as the deadline approached. As for difficulty compared to book one, I don’t have a black and white answer because they were each challenging in their own ways. A Land of Never After was my first published full length novel, so I had to do a lot more restructuring and rewrites than I did with A Sea of Eternal Woe, whose roadblocks were mostly related to length (it’s 117,000 words) and content. While both books are dark, book two takes a heavier and more detailed look at some of the themes introduced in book one, so I had to really sit on a few of the heavier scenes – namely those involving mental health and LGBTQ+ themes – for quite a while both to take care of my own mental health as well as to ensure I handled them with the care and attention they deserved.
Everyone’s grown a lot since book once, and of course now Wendy has her ship! What is her next move?
Poor Wendy had been convinced that getting the ship was going to be the hard part, but she couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only has she inherited a crew accustomed to a different captain, she’s young and inexperienced, and quickly discovers she won’t be able to move forward until she’s able to prove herself capable and worthy of her crew’s respect.
She does go through a big learning curve there. 😭 What drew you to writing dark retellings? And are there any other fairy tales you’d love to retell someday?
I’ve always adored and been drawn to dark stories, with fantasy being my favorite, so taking a more adult approach to some of my favorite tales as a child felt very natural to me. While I don’t necessarily mind happily ever after’s or ‘lighter’ stories, they never stick with me for very long: it’s tragedies and the more brutal tales I always found myself ruminating over, pondering every choice and wondering how things could have gone differently if even one character had made a different decision. As for other tales I’d like to retell – yes! I have so many on the list, and my next series is going to combine two of them the way the Curses of Never series combines Peter Pan and The Little Mermaid.
Oh so much agreement here. I love dark retellings, and I think Peter Pan and Little Mermaid particularly lend themselves to exploring the darker themes considering their original versions too! Now — which is your favourite to write: beginnings, middles, or endings?
Beginnings are my favorite, endings my least favorite. I generally have a very clear and streamlined train of thought for how the first few chapters will go, but the middle and end need to be carefully outlined, and I often have to re-outline by the time I actually reach those sections if things have changed as I’ve written. Reaching the end of the draft is always difficult given my ADHD: my brain no longer finds the book shiny and new and wants to leap to the next exciting thing without finishing my current project, so it ends up being a serious battle of will to push through and get it done.
Can you give us a teaser about what you’re working on next?
I’d love to! Curses of Never book 3 is 100% happening, but I needed a palette cleanser, so decided to write something different for my next project. My next series is a dark fantasy queer romance combining The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Phantom of the Opera, with characters from each tale crossing over and interacting the way they do in the Curses of Never series. I’m incredibly excited, because not only are these tales two of my absolute favorites, they both take place in Paris, so combining them in the same universe made all the sense. Book one is titled The Hells of Notre Dame and will mainly center the relationship between a female Frollo and Esmeralda. There will be fire magic, a chaotic night at the opera, heaps of yearning and sexual tension, enemies to lovers style, and all the darkness and queerness my readers have come to know and love. With any luck, Hells will publish by the end of this year, and if not, it should be out in early 2023!
And lastly! What are some of the best author moments you’ve had so far?
My best author moments have been the past few weeks, honestly! It took a while because I write in a unique mix of genres, but I have finally found my readership, and they found me. I have adored chatting with many of the ARC readers who found me through A Sea of Eternal Woe and fell in love with my characters and world, and hearing all their theories and seeing the content they came up with as a result of loving my books has been both humbling and exhilarating. It’s also been incredibly emotional to hear from those who were touched by my depictions of mental health and LGBTQ+ issues, as that is the reason I write – for my stories to mean something to even just one person. I am sure I have many more amazing author moments to come, but interacting with my wonderful readers will always be at the top of my list.
Thanks so much for chatting with me today, R.L. and wishing you all the best with your latest release and upcoming projects!!
Raelynn Davennor is an author of fantasy and science fiction, a musician and composer, and a creature of the night. Nestled among her fictional worlds full of darkness, dragons, and sassy heroines, you’ll often find a musical number or two. An accomplished performer, she’s made appearances with artists such as The Who, Weird Al, and Hugh Jackman on many of the largest stages in the United States. Raelynn is usually lost in her head, dressing up in costume, or humming a tune she can’t wait to scribble down. When not obsessing over her latest idea, she enjoys pampering her menagerie of pets and pretending she isn’t an adult. Website |Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads
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