A re-imagining of Peter Pan... Dust by Kara Swanson (Review & #Giveaway) @Celebrate_Lit

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and enter the tour giveaway below...

(Heirs of Neverland #1)
By Kara Swanson
YA Fantasy, Pirates, Retelling, Christian
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
July 21, 2020 by Enclave Escape


The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London... and a boy who shouldn't exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

DUST is a story where real life and magic mix as a girl searches for her missing brother and finds that Neverland might be real. The characters are well drawn and likable, the plot includes plenty of page-turning excitement along with a bit of magic, and there's a touch of romance. Definitely recommended to urban fantasy readers and those who enjoy fairy tale retellings.

Claire is so easy to relate to as a character. Life is a bit rough for her and she has some confidence and abandonment issues. For good reason. Peter is this super complex character with layers upon layers, some of which he hides from himself. On the surface, he's fun, brilliant and charming. Tiger Lilly is this steady, fierce, and calm presence and the most consistent of the characters. I really enjoyed getting to know each and couldn't help loving them all. It was interesting seeing Peter's over-confident personality mix with Claire's introverted and self-doubting one. Although Claire does have a serious backbone and a fierceness of her own.

The story moves at a good pace. I never found myself bored or feeling like there was too much going on. The romance was done really well, with some swoon-worthy feels, but also felt true to these characters. I also never felt like it took over the story, but played a part in Peter and Claire coming to terms with what they needed to do. This has been slated as Christian, but I didn't find anything religious. There were just some inspiring and positive messages about finding your own worth and about light being stronger than the dark. I honestly found the whole plot to be quite interesting. Peter Pan is a bit grown up and I think the author handles the whole situation of growing up like he did in Neverland and stealing kids away to there would be like. Then there's Claire and her brother with their growing up situation. Both post the question of the burdens and shadows we all carry and what choices we will make. I'm a fan of fairy tales and versions of fairy tales and I thought this one was really well done. Plus, there's a great lead-in to the next book with plenty of things that still need to be revealed.

The only thing that might be improved were just a few places where a bit more development was needed. There were a few parts where some things weren't explained or didn't quite work physically (like how Claire got her clothes and things transferred to another place), or where I couldn't believe that some would side with one side, but these were really minor.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I really enjoyed this one, reading it all in one sitting. Great characters, a good message, sweet romance, and just an overall entertaining, but also thought-provoking story made for a great read! If you're a fan of Peter Pan or magical realism, I'd definitely recommend this one. 

Content: Some violence, but clean.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre. The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order. Kara chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at karaswanson.com

More from Kara

I wrote Dust not just for those who grew up loving the original Peter Pan story — but especially for the children who were left behind. Those of us who never escaped through a window to a magical world, whose childhoods oftentimes felt a little shadowed.

Dust follows Peter Pan when he is cast out of Neverland, grounded in London. For the first time, this Peter has to start thinking about someone other than himself—and become a beacon to remind any Lost ones that there is still magic to be found.

Dust also follows a young woman named Claire who can create pixie dust, but is desperately afraid of herself because when her fears and insecurities leak out, her dust starts to burn. Claire has seen too many shadows to believe in fairytales anymore and is doing everything she can just to lock away the strange dust dripping from her fingertips. But when she meets Peter, he challenges everything she thought she knew.

I wrote Claire for those of us who may feel too weighted to even remember what it feels like to have hope lift your soul. Who can look at ourselves and all we see are our own shadows and shortcomings.

Throughout the course of the novel, Peter has to teach Claire how to see the spark of light inside herself that is far brighter than the darkness. As he helps this girl learn how to fly, Peter rediscovers what it is that truly makes him Peter Pan: the unquenchable childlike belief that there are weightless thoughts in all of us that can lift us out of the shadows.

This story is a love letter to anyone who has ever needed that reminder. We have value simply because we exist. We do not have to be weighed down by our shadows. There is still light that can lift our hearts if we have faith, trust…and a dash of the impossible.

Tour Schedule

Rebecca Tews, July 31
Emily Yager, August 2
Worthy2Read, August 5
Remembrancy, August 6
Wishful Endings, August 6
Nancy E Wood, August 9
Mia Reads, August 10
Simple Harvest Reads, August 11 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
Artistic Nobody, August 12
Pause for Tales, August 12

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara is giving away the grand prize package of a Dust-themed bundle that includes a signed hardcover, bookmarks, character cards, Peter + Claire art print, and an exclusive Dust pin!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Have you read this one yet or will you be? Are you a fan of retellings or Peter Pan?

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