Title: The Phantom of New York Volume 1: Peter and the Crown
Author: A. L. Janney
Review: The opening to Peter and the Crown was brilliant, we learn that Peter is the only child of Jovanna and Manos, and when they suddenly move from New Jersey to New York in the middle of the night so dark things from his father’s past come to light. Manos reveals that during his time as an accountant he made an enemy of a man only known as “the client” who was doing some illegal things as he tried to get rid of Manos, their situation seems very similar to that of witness protection. After leaving their home they temporarily move into the Crown Hotel where his mother and father will be working. Soon after Peter meets Josephine aka Joey whose parents also work at the hotel and she shows him around and points out all the wealthy families who live there like they do and a young daughter of an Heiress and a Lord; Caroline catches Peter’s eye but what intrigues him is the fact the hotel feels alive, oh and the fact the tenth floor is haunted.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, Peter decides to explore central park only to come across a gang called the Raiders picking on none other than Princess Caroline and when Peter helps her she agrees that they should be friends, and I could possibly see a romance developing between the pair as they get older. As time passes Peter falls into a routine of home-schooling and going to the park but he also meets some interesting people like Max, the magician who invites Peter and his family to his floor which Peter is delighted about. He also has the opportunity to see the haunted room although he doesn’t go inside because he is afraid the ghost will be there, but I have a feeling that curiosity will get the better of him.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, I was really enjoying the story and was flying through it. Despite Peter being the main male character, I really liked Hawkins, he seems so wise to the world and challenge Peter and Joey to look at problems with a different perspective which really helps them in terms of their math work. He is also a really fast reader much like myself, he is someone I could totally see myself being friends with. Despite only living at the hotel for a short period of time Peter seems to be making quite the impression on the residents especially Max and the Crawford’s. Lord Crawford even buys Peter a new jacket after his was torn rescuing Caroline’s hat. However, he does make an enemy of Atticus Snyder who seems to think everyone is beneath him and even repeatedly hits Peter. Things get interesting when Peter meets the ghost on the 10th floor; Cypress Fitzgerald who believes that Peter is his nephew Alexia. Cypress tells Peter that he has a gift and he has to tell him something important and to return to and although Peter promises to return he is still terrified he has come face to face with a real ghost.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Peter is liking boxing classes but when Max teaches him a few magic tricks to appease Mr. Webb as he adores magic, Peter is finally starting to feel like the Crown Hotel is becoming his home. When a winter blizzard moves in Peter and his friends get to experience the city under snow, but I was worried about Hawkins, he seems like he is homeless and spends as much time as he can with Peter in the hotel to avoid being out in the snow. While he is my favourite character I did feel sorry for him, having to steal food and sleep wherever he can.
As we cross into the second half of the novel I really liked the mystery of Cypress’ ghost developing and hoped we would see more of him very soon. I also hoped that the mystery of why many people in the hotel seem to recognise Peter from somewhere, is it strange I was getting vibes the Shining gave me? After the luxury of Christmas Joey and Peter must take their CAT tests when they learn that Hawkins attends the best private school in the area and is taking high school classes despite being only 11 or 12 which is amazing. Peter also decides to visit Cypress again, but he takes Josephine with him only to get really frightened and run away without interacting with the ghost of the 10th floor again. Things get difficult for better when a man begins enquiring about his father using their old name which no one at the Crown knows so Manos knows this is the Client and it is proven that he has connects with the Red Masque crime syndicate which has been robbing several banks in the area. While Peter is worried about having to move again, Manos agrees they should just lay low for a while and see how the situation pans out.
As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel, Peter gets even more bad news when Mr. Banks tells him Hawkins was caught stealing on CCTV and isn’t welcome in the Crown anymore and while Peter is shocked and appalled by his friends’ actions he knows he must set things right as stealing is wrong, not matter what background you come from. However, things get a little brighter when Caroline invites Peter to the Valentine’s day ball and he immediately begins taking lessons on the correct social procedures and manners as well as searching for some formal clothing. As we cross into the final section of the novel, Peter does well at the Valentine ball despite Atticus’ best attempts to make a fool of him but when he goes to the bathroom he finds a painting of a boy who looks exactly like Peter and obviously, the first thing he does is tell his friends.
After seeing the painting and learning it is called Alexia he knows he must visit mad Mr. Hayes who might not be so mad after all. Mr. Hayes tells Peter (who he thinks is Alexia) that Cypress founded an organisation that protected the Crown from gangs like the Red Masque and was killed protecting his home and somehow Peter is tied to all this history and mystery. Peter also begins to truly unravel the mystery of the Crown by learning that many years ago his family used to own it. As he prepares to meet Cypress once more he has an uneasy feeling, but Cypress explains that is his connection to the hotel and the danger it now faces. Cypress passes down the role and responsibility of the Phantom of New York to Peter and tells him to protect the hotel and his friends when the time comes very soon.
The final scenes of this novel were the most dramatic of the whole novel by far and it sets up a great storyline for the sequel which I am definitely going to be reading as soon as I can get my hands on it. The final chapter of the novel provided a nice ending to the novel as well as a wonderful set up for Peter’s next adventures as the Phantom of New York. Highly recommended, I couldn’t put it down once I’d started.
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This book was sent to me for review consideration by YA Bound Book Tours