Neverland is not as it should be... Shadow by Kara Swanson (Review & #Giveaway) #peterpan #yafantasy #yalit #fairytale #retelling #newbook

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out this follow-up to
Dust, a Peter Pan retelling, and enter the giveaway below...

(Heirs of Neverland #2)
By Kara Swanson
YA Fantasy, Pirates, Retelling
Hardcover, Audiobook & ebook, 304 Pages
July 13, 2021 by Enclave Escape


Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.

Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.

Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.

To rescue Neverland from the inescapable shadow, the boy who never grew up and the girl who grew up too fast will have to sacrifice the only thing they have left: each other.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

SHADOW is a retelling of Peter Pan with a dark edge. Neverland is in trouble and at risk of turning corrupted and dark if some lost souls win. Peter, Claire and those who stand with them must do all these can to fight with the light they hold. It's a twisted tale with quite a bit of grit, but also friendship, fierce loyalty, redemption and love. Recommended to fans of Peter Pan and fantasy that goes a bit dark.

I really enjoyed the first book in this duology, Dust. I thought it was such a unique take on Peter Pan, and I really liked all the twists as well as the characters. There wasn't much of a recap in this second book, so if you don't remember the first book, you may want to go back and re-read it. This book completely takes place in Neverland and things were not going well. Claire didn't know who to trust and Peter wasn't completely on solid footing either. Things were just unravelling as a darkness spread. There was a lot of action with fighting and a couple of characters who were pretty dark and trying to take over. Neverland really came alive in this story, which was a very fun aspect. I still really liked these characters and enjoyed seeing their relationships develop with a bit of romance. The ending was also quite sweet, and I appreciated the author not tying everything up too perfectly.

I also had some issues with this story. It was quite a bit darker than the first book. Lots of heaviness with some references to tough situations and back stories. There was murder and a hint of suicide, both things that I wasn't really expecting. Beyond that, the story dragged for me and some things that happened didn't quite click realistically or maybe logically.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed this story, but it was also a difficult read. It's a heavier read. If twisted fairy tales with likable characters and plenty of grit is your thing, then I'd recommend this series.

Content: References to abuse, murder and suicide (no suicide actually occurred), as well as violence.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Heirs of Neverland #1)
By Kara Swanson
YA Fantasy, Pirates, Retelling
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.

Read my review HERE.  

(Affiliate links included.)

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, fairytales and bookish things online (@karaswansonauthor) and at

More from Kara

One of my favorite CS Lewis quotes is this:

“Some day you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

There’s something subtly profound about the idea that the very stories which captivate our imagination and shape our perspective on good and evil as children, will reveal more gems when we return to them later. When we’ve conquered some dragons of our own.

This was especially true when I write my Peter Pan retelling duology Dust and Shadow. These YA novels literally return to a fairy tale. I took a familiar story and dug even deeper, pushing Peter himself to grow a little more and see what new bits of pixie dust and hope there may be in a familiar story.

But there is another reason why our hearts gravitate toward fairy tales.

I think GK Chesterton put it brilliantly in a quote that is actually at the very front of Shadow:

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

Because maybe even more than being reminded of the whimsy of a fairy, we need the reminder that even in a world filled with dragons – they can be killed.

We can conquer.

And that simple truth, told a hundred different ways, will always lift our hearts and our chins.

Shadow was not an easy book to write – and it is not a particularly lighthearted tale. It is raw and vulnerable and at times lives up to it’s title in some darker moments. But there is always a sense of courage there too. A reminder that even in the shadowed places, the valleys, the instances that steal our breath and twist our hearts and make us wonder if all is lost –

There is another page to turn. Another step to take.

We are not finished.

No matter how young we are, we can strap on our armor, lift our swords, and fight for the light.

We are not overcome because our strength does not come from us.

It comes from our King.

And in the end, He will make all wrongs right, and there will be a happy ending to our tale, even if it may not be the ending we expect.

Because it may not be easy to slay the dragon, but as the fairy tales do remind us –

The important thing is that they can be slain.

Tour Schedule

Remembrancy, August 1

Worthy2Read, August 5

Wishful Endings, August 5

Mia Reads, August 6

Sodbusterliving, August 7

Mary Hake, August 7

Nancy E Wood, August 8

Artistic Nobody, August 10 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Simple Harvest Reads, August 12 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Kara Swanson is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

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

Do you enjoy reading fairy tale retellings? Have you read this series?

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