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.
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.
Swanson is the award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See and Peter Pan retelling Dust and Shadow. She helps young writers explore their passions as a faculty member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and also offers her own author coaching services.
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.
You can connect with Kara online where she chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author), and Twitter (@kswansonauthor).
☐ Debut novel ☐ Duology ☐ Portal fantasy ☐ Fairy tale ☐ Peter Pan retelling ☐ Phenomenal cover ☐ Modern setting ☐ Dual POV ☐ Characters with secrets ☐ Enemies to friends to lovers to . . . ☐ Morally gray characters ☐ Christian author and publisher ☐ Emphasis on mental health ☐ Themes on light and darkness
I keep saying "review to come" on my reviews, but then I don't feel like writing a review anymore after a day or two. Am I the only one who experiences this? It's super frustrating! So, even though I don't think I can quite convey how I feel for this book, I'm going to try.
Dust is one heck of a book! It shows the nuance of human life and the brokenness of the human spirit. Claire's gift is supposed to be a blessing, but for much of her life, it was a curse. Peter's carefree nature was also supposed to be a gift, but it brought about a curse. This book shows us that we have a choice to make. We can either let our brokenness and our circumstances overwhelm us with darkness, or we can rise above it all and turn it back to good.Dust isn't about perfectly good heroes fighting perfectly bad villains (although I bet Captain Hook is pretty bad). It's about the villainy that lives within us all and the light that shines brightest in the darkness.
Peter. I want to talk about Peter Pan first. I know society usually sees him as a boy without a worry in the world, but honestly, that comes with consequences. Kara Swanson's Peter is growing up, and he's realizing his ignorance and selfishness and it's overwhelming him.
Deep down, Peter is broken and conflicted. He’s never had anyone to look up to or anyone to take care of him or anyone to tell him right from wrong. He has a difficult time controlling himself, almost like a child trapped in a teen’s body. He can be too loud, too rough, too fidgety, and even too arrogant. But he also tries to be brave and kind and steadfast and to understand. He wants to fix things. He stumbles. He falls. And then he rises again. Neverland isn’t the only thing that’s broken. Peter’s broken, too. And Kara Swanson is a genius at showing readers his journey, his pain, and his internal conflict.
He’s Peter Pan, but there’s more to him than just confident leadership and lighthearted adventures.
Claire. Claire grew up in an entirely different world from the Neverland Peter knows, but she is broken, too. Her character is like an ode to all those who feel lost, who are lonely, and who believe they will never belong. And yet despite her flaws, Claire is also someone we can look up to. She is lonely, but she never gives up. She studied at school, works jobs, and pays rent for her own apartment. This is despite the fact that she lost her brother at a young age and doesn't have any parental support. She is hurt, but she still forgives. Peter lied to her, but her heart wanted her to remember the good that he'd shown her. She doesn't belong, but she always keeps searching. And in the end, she finds that she was meant for another world after all.
TW: One character attempted suicide in the past and has many scars from the aftermath. Two characters were a part of uncaring situations in foster care. Characters struggle with loneliness, trauma, anger, self-doubt, and self-loathing. Two scenes involve burning dust that leaves wounds. Both Peter's POV and Claire's POV are in first person, and these can feel heavy at times for people who are sensitive to, well, depressing stuff.
Content warnings: Fights with some mildly described stabbings and blood. Pirates drink at a rowdy bar. Peter uses “Cor” like a swear word (not sure what that’s about!). One person has flashbacks to a horrific memory of someone being burned. Another person has flashbacks about someone else’s death.
If you're like me, you spend what feels like hours searching on Google for retellings of some of your favorite stories. One of those books for me was Peter Pan. Imagine my joy when I found out that the author of one of my favorite novellas, The Girl Who Could See, was writing a retelling. This book definitely lived up to my expectations. Dust brought the much-loved characters to life in a way that was totally unique but still relied upon the original. It was really entertaining to read about Peter as he navigated growing up years worth in only a matter of a few weeks. He was awkward and sometimes rude, clumsy and fun. I really liked how this Peter Pan retelling had a twist. I won't say too much about it due to spoilers but Swanson's left me hanging. I sure hope that book two comes out soon. Now please excuse me, I have to go and find a finished copy of this novel.
Crude Language: N/A
Romance: a kiss
Spiritual: not much
Violence: a bit but not really detailed
*I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts are my own and a positive review was not required.
*beams* WHERE IS BOOK 2?!?!?! I don't know why I *didn't* expect a cliffhanger. Anyway, this is going to be a very scattered review because I wasn't able to review it right away, but definitely read this.
Dust was beautiful. It wasn't what I was expecting. I'm not sure what I was expecting, really, but I did read TGWCS and this was definitely its own unique style.
I related so much to Claire, especially in unique ways as a chronic illness warrior. Chronic illness isn't mentioned in the book at all, but so many of Claire's struggles were things I connected with because of my sickness.
I don't know Kara well enough to know for sure, but I suspect that might be because parts of it *were* influenced by her own experience with Lyme disease.
I especially LOVED how well done the magic was in this book. It was so creative and I could always picture it so clearly. It made me want to fly off into the London sky. Plus, it was set in London. So that was fun. All the characters were also very well-rounded. No one was too perfect, but I understood why they each did what they did.
Content Warnings: -A character remembered a suicide attempt in their past (although I'm still unclear if it was a true suicide attempt or not) -Kidnapping, fighting, people almost getting burned to death, a pretty horrible (but not very described) death -A kiss -Words that I *think* were mild British cuss words? But I'd never heard most of them before, and so to me they didn't feel like cussing.
Despite some of the gruesome stuff mentioned above, it really wasn't as dark as I had prepared myself for. It *is* about a boy who never wants to grow up, after all. :)
Kara really is talented at creating such beautiful climaxes and scenes. I thought that kiss scene in TGWCS was so cool, but there are so many beautiful moments (not kissing) like that in Dust.
Finally, the quotes. There are so many I can't share rn because of spoilers, but here are some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes:
"You were created for more than to bear the weight of your shadows--but you have to choose to no longer let them define you. You have to choose to let the light shine through the shattered pieces."
"Even the pirates are staring at me like I'm a monster. Maybe I am."
"My dream was my darkest nightmare all along."
"So, I do what I do best. The impossible."
I guess I shall make myself stop there. But this was just... beautiful. Beautiful is the adjective I keep coming back to for this book.
2nd Read Through: Did I DM the author late at night in tears? Yes, yes I did. I forgot how much I loved this book.
(changed my rating to 5 stars instead of the original 4.5 after a reread)
I love this book. It's so delightful, so full of magic and whimsy, and it just makes my heart happy. <3 Peter Pan is my favorite character by far. I love him so much! I also love Claire, even though what she did at the end was totally evil and made me so furious.
Swanson's writing style is captivating, and she handles her themes and topics with wisdom. I highly recommend this book and its sequel, Shadow.
What a gloriously magical tale! This book is so full of whimsy and beauty, but so deep and resounding in how it deals with darkness and trauma. I was so captivated by this story from the first page.
The characters are so real and complex. Each new chapter reveals another layer of who they are, right down to the darkest shadows of their souls. Peter’s struggles of growing up and taking responsibility, Claire’s of not fitting in. Both of them not yet sure who they are. Both of them dealing with trauma from the past in different ways. I connected with them so deeply, and instantly fell in love with this wild ride of a fairytale.
This whole book is so vibrant and magical. I adored the setting of the London streets and how real it felt, while also so coated in pixie dust and magic. But it was so perfectly balanced out against the darker scenes, the mistakes the characters kept making, the lies, the fears, the trauma.
I was so entangled in this story, I couldn’t put it down. The action, the stakes, the deep connection to the characters, it kept me thinking about the book and itching to pick it up again. The ending wrenched my heart out, but it was also perfect, and I officially CANNOT WAIT for the sequel, Shadow!!
I loved this story so much and recommend it hugely to all lovers of fairytales and magic!
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
This was one of my most-anticipated reads for the year - for many years, actually. I love the author dearly and that always makes it hard to review books that feel, well, disappointing.
Things I liked: - Peter Pan retellings !!! Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, so I'm always down for another Neverland tale. - Ok but have you seen this cover?! It's even more stunning in person. - Tiger Lily is an actual Queen™ and no one can convince me otherwise. She has teal streaks in her hair and wears hippie clothes and is basically way cooler than I will ever be. (but I also want her to be my best friend pleaseeee) - I can tell this story has a lot of the author's heart & I love that!! - Some people may disagree but I actually loved that Dust dove into the darker themes of Peter Pan. There were a few aspects of Pan's backstory that just . . . dang. That's all I'm saying (#spoilers) but they're heftyyyy and I actually loved the dark themes. Because I'm weird like that? - Mental health rep! Ok, so to be honest, I appreciated this . . . but it was really, really hard to read. It was kind of triggering for me right now, just for where I'm at mentally. I full-on broke down during one chapter and had to set the book down for a while.
Things I didn't: - I really never connected with the characters. I tried so so hard, but there was always a huge disconnect between me and the story, and I don't know why. I am the Big Sad. - Not much . . . happens?? Like I expected the majority of this book to take place in Neverland, but they don't even get there in the first one. It just felt like nothing really happened. - It was very taxing to read. I just felt so tired from reading this. The amount of miscommunication + angst with the main characters (as well as some personal triggers) exhausted me. I felt like it took so much out of me and gave me nothing in return. - Yeah, that miscommunication I mentioned? Agh. A lot of it was completely unnecessary, and characters kept being like "oh my gosh I don't even know you any more" about literally. every. single. thing. Like, I have news for you, honey - you don't know squat about each other because you literally just met. (I realize I sound like a crotchety old woman in her rocking chair with her fifteen cats, but alas, that's what I am.) - It just felt a little awkward? The writing style didn't totally gel with me; it felt a little "off" and the pacing was all over the place. - Again, this just triggered a lot of personal things in my life right now and it was a Rough Experience
In conclusion: I am a very tired and sad bean. I wanted SO MUCH to like this but just really struggled to get into it. I will likely end up reading the sequel at some point (BECAUSE PETER PAN), but only when I'm in a better space mentally. :)
4.9 stars WHAT!??!?!?!!??! IT ENDS THERE?! Okay I don't think I can fully explain what I'm going through right now because of this book. But here goes anyway.
In all honesty, the book started out rather slow for me. But I also had an ebook version and I'm rather bad with ebooks vs physical copies so that could be it. But once I hit around page 70 or so I was completely and utterly (this is the part were we all cringe at yours truly) hooked.
Once I got past the beginning I was all in, like I got butterflies at one point and I that doesn't happen easily. I also found myself (to quote the book) saying this: "Well, that explains so much." I can't explain how fast I'm going to start the sequel as soon as I can. 🤩🤩🤩
I can't say too much without revealing some of the meat of the book so instead of my usual breakdown of the characters and plot I'm going to be switching it up into reasons why you should read this book (in the reasons I loved it), and what the book will have in it (the usual content, TW, etc).
✨Reasons I loved this book✨ ⏳ Claire has a very realistic battle with anxiety & grief ⏳ Our female mc isn't too cliche ⏳ The mental health struggles are represented accurately ⏳ It's super clean even with battles and struggles ⏳ This one is just smth I enjoyed but I liked the closer calls because it allowed me to get roped into the story more ⏳ The relationship between Tiger Lily & Claire ⏳ It's a fairytale mixed with mental health ⏳It's a book with romance but the romance bits don't overly overpower the plot
Content: 🏴☠️ Violence: I'll be honest there was a lot of action in this book but I'm usually pretty sensitive to action and it didn't get to me the way some books have (that's a good thing just to clarify) Some action pieces are more described so if you rly hate mentions of blood or getting hurt than maybe it might get to you idrk, there is also a pretty detailed memory of how a pixie died but I kinda rushed over it 🏴☠️ Drugs/alcohol: At one point both mcs go into a bar and there (obviously) we have some drinks and such but nothing over the top and nothing comes of it 🏴☠️ Sexual: Besides two lightly detailed kisses, nothing (a few men throughout give Claire unnerving looks but I'm very very sensitive to that and there was only one scene that threw me off and absolutely nothing came out of those looks (not even jokes made out loud)) 🏴☠️ Language: Clean as a whistle besides substitutes for curses which basically the entire book is filled with bc of Peter Pan's being TWs: Mentions of possible kidnapping, leering looks from men (light), struggles with anxiety, struggles with hopelessness, memories of a somewhat intentional suicide attempt, grief of loss of loved ones for long periods of time, memories of an abusive father Age recommendation: Based on triggers, maturity, etc I would say 15+ but that's my personal opinion and this books wouldn't be a problem to read younger
Peter Pan lovers, get the heck on board because THIS BOOK WAS A RIDE AND A HALF.
Dust is about Claire, a nineteen-year-old girl who desperately wants to know what happened to her brother who disappeared six years ago. She refuses to believe in fairy tales, yet she can't tear herself away from the copy of Peter Pan that seems to hold clues to Connor's disappearance. And she also has mysterious dust that comes from her hands and til now has done nothing but harm.
And then there's Peter, who is stuck in London with no way of getting back to Neverland, which is falling apart more every second. His only hope might be Claire, whose dust might be able to do something good for a change.
But there's one problem: Claire hates Peter Pan with a passion.
So to start off with: if you're a fan of the Disney version of Peter Pan and not the book by J.M. Barrie, you should be prepared for a very different story than what you're expecting. The character Peter Pan is actually pretty twisted and a little dark, and that's what Dust plays off of. And may I just say that I think Kara nailed it. Peter in this story is an excellent older reflection of the troubling (now-troubled) boy we met in the original fairy tale. He's dealing with his past and Neverland's impending doom and he really just needs a hug. (Even if he IS still a bit of an imp.)
And then there's Claire. First off, I related so hard to her #introvertproblems and therefore immediately adopted her. And speaking of characters who need hugs?? THIS GIRL RIGHT HERE. She's so unsure and afraid and angry and at the same time sweet and loveable and I JUST NEED HER TO BE HAPPY.
Other things I loved:
Tiger Lily! Our fierce, kind tribal princess with some seriously awesome outfits. The villain! And by "loved", I mean "was absolutely infuriated by and want thrown off a ship ASAP". The setting! Because LONDON. THE PLOT TWISTS. Because HOLY COW, you guys. I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS. THE CLIFFHANGER. And by "loved", I mean "WHAT EVEN IS THIS HOW IS THIS LEGAL GIMME BOOK #2 IMMEDIATELY"
Like, seriously. I'm still traumatized over that ending.
Long story short: If you're a fan of the original Peter Pan story and want a sequel (so to speak) that honors it, THIS IS THE ONE FOR YOU. I absolutely cannot wait for book 2. Five stars!!
(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review!)
I never read retellings. I don’t read many fairytales. Going into Dust, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I loved Kara Swanson’s writing, and I was eager to read her work.
I was completely blown away.
I read Dust at the very beginning of quarantine, and in such an unprecedented, odd, and even scary time, Dust was a beacon of hope. A gripping, magical, and beautiful story, I could hardly stop reading.
From the very beginning, I was hooked. The plot was complex and detailed, and I loved how the chapters jumped back and forth between Claire’s and Peter’s point of views. This added to the suspense, giving me plot details from both characters’ sides of the story, and I could hardly stop reading.
And then the magic. Oh my goodness, the magic was beautiful. I don’t read much fantasy, but the magic in Dust was GREAT! It gave the book such a warm, cozy feeling. The pixies were adorable and creative, and I loved how they brought out neat aspects of Peter’s character.
I could go on and on about the characters. Peter and Claire were ADORABLE, and it was just so cute, I could hardly stand it. 😍
If you’re looking for books to read, Dust should be added to the top of your list! It was a truly beautiful and magical story, and I highly recommend it!
This book is one of the best books I've ever read.
This book, for a little over 24 hours, swept me up in a 248-paged, whimsical, beautiful tale full of some of the best characters, writing, romance, and plot in the fantasy universe. I spent every free moment I had between the pages, hungrily gobbling up every second of it. It was an absolute delight to read.
It made me regret every single sci-fi plot idea I've had for books to be written in the future, and I found myself wanting to write a beautiful fantasy novel like this one. I found myself wanting ALL my future books to be beautiful fantasy novels.
I also am now going through an obsession with Peter Pan, but that's beside the point.
Words cannot describe how good this book is.
It has been described a lot of times as 'whimsical'... And I can see why! The word really fits it. It just fits... all of it. *makes wide gesture with hands to indicate 'all of it'* Other words that for it are: beautiful. Stunning. Divine. Supreme. Captivating. Breathtaking. Ravishing.
So, if you are a coherent human being on the surface of planet Earth, go read Dust by Kara Swanson. NOWWWWWW.
I had the privilege to read an early draft of the work earlier this year. The published version is even better. Swanson has a powerful knack of getting into her character's heads and weaves some wonderful deception and tension between them with the various secrets characters are keeping.
(Or at least the one's Peter's keeping. I guess it's mostly Peter. Though I suppose Hook probably has secrets of his own.)
Between some fantastic characters, a riveting conclusion, and a powerful setup for Shadow, I'm looking forward to seeing where this series leads. Excellent depiction of Hook to boot. This is a solid read.
This book is amazing. I especially love how Kara captured the boyish recklessness, immatureness of Peter Pan while still making him so much deeper of a character. Claire's personal journey of discovering who she is, what her dust is, and about her scars is inspiring and I'm sure can touch many hearts. I LOVED the growing relationship between Claire and Lily. We need more good girl relationships in fiction. Dust was a book full of magic and whimsy and nostalgia, but also something deeper and darker. But all still laced with hope and light. Oh and I nEED THE SECOND BOOK RIGHT NOW PLEASE.
DNF 25% I read it once to 25% then realised I was bored and had no idea what was happening as a result. I started again and got to 15%. I love reimaginings and other people have enjoyed this. Just not for me.
For some unknown reason, I just have no idea how to start this review. Like, y'all, it was sooooo good I'm pretty much speechless over here. And the more I think about the book, the more I just want to go read it all over again. Let's just start with the characters. Claire and Peter were THE bests part of the whole novel. They were sooo well developed and just jumping off the pages. And I loooved how they had specific goals and motives that just moved the plot forward. And then let's talk about the actual plot. Y'all it was just AMAZING!!! Every time I thought I knew exactly how it was going to go, Swanson would slap me in the fact by turning it in a different direction. And that ending... *clutches heart*
Actually, that ending is something we DO NOT speak of over here. Let's just say, the whole reason I cut off half a star was because of that ending. I mean, Claire literally let me angry. And characters never make me THAT mad. But, man, I was just fuming through those last pages.
But, this review is not the best place to rant and talk about how I was definitely not okay emotionally at the end.
Back to how awesome this book was. The plot twists were INCREDIBLE, and I believe there was only one or two I saw coming. Which is AMAZING 'cause I'm someone who can normally see the plot twists comin' from a mile away. ;) Oooh, and can we talk about how beautiful and inspiring the whole message in the story was???? The whole part about who the creator of the stars sees you to be just left me melting in a puddle of happy feels. GORGEOUS!!! And Swanson's writing voice was just soooo beautiful. I LOVED IT!!!!
This Peter Pan retelling/sequel was done in such a creative way that has now seriously made me want to check out other Peter Pan retellings and actually read the book that started it all by J. M. Barrie. I don't think I can recommend this book enough to all my fellow fantasy readers and those who adore the Peter Pan novel by J. M. Barrie. Dust is a book you definitely don't want to miss out on.
Now, all I have to do is survive the month-long wait until the sequel is released!!!! (Is it bad that I'm secretly hoping Peter's gonna show Claire how wrong she was in doing what she did at the end? XD)
I didn’t read the full version of Barrie’s novel until I was grown up (the horror!) but as a kid I had a big volume of fairy tales and children’s stories that included an excerpt, and I absolutely fell in love with Peter’s story. I thought the Disney cartoon was just OK, but I was a big fan of HOOK when it first came out (dating myself here!) and saw it several times.
Anyway, one of the problems I have with retellings or spinoffs of Peter Pan is that they often focus on Peter’s charm, daring and boyish heroism, without acknowledging that canonically Peter is a deeply damaged kid who can be selfish, ruthless and even downright scary at times in his refusal to ever grow up. So any sequel that simply ages him into a magical YA boyfriend without acknowledging and addressing the darker side of his character or the consequences of his past actions just doesn’t cut it for me... which is why I loved DUST so, so much, because Kara Swanson knows her canon Peter and doesn’t shy away from those issues at. all.
There are a lot of other things to love about DUST too — the term heroine’s traumatic past and her present struggles to believe in magic are well drawn, the unfolding backstory of how Peter ended up where he is and why is intriguing, and the nature of Tiger Lily’s “tribe” is addressed better than I’ve seen in other spinoffs, to name just a few. I even liked a couple of the new characters so much I had to DM Kara and beg to know if we’d be hearing more of their story!
Anyway, if you like Peter Pan stories in general and Peter-grows-up stories in particular, I think you’ll really enjoy this one. I know I did.
What can I even say?? Swanson's Dust is the best retelling of Peter Pan I've ever seen. Even as a reread, it's /amazing/. It's a story that just overflows with magic. And the characters! Are amazing! They're some of the best I've ever read - and though this book switches between the POVs of the two main characters (Peter and Claire), they both felt so distinctly /themselves/ that I never wanted to skip one character's chapter to read the other's. I loved Peter's snark and sass and general British-ness. And Claire is so very relatable - her growth throughout the book is /powerful/. Gah. I just legitimately have no words for this story. It's beautiful. It's amazing. I love it!!! It releases next month, so preorder thyself a copy.
(I received an advance copy from the publisher, all opinions are my own)
Read 2x HOW IS THIS SO GOOD?!?! And the end! *re-doing review* I forgot how good this was! I decided to re-read this before reading Shadow, bc I forgot everything. I have to say that was a good choice! lol
I never liked Peter Pan (well I never read the story and I haven't watched the movie in years), but I LOVE Peter Pan re-tellings! lol Peter pan always seemed creepy to me. Some guy who never grows up stealing children and taking them to "heaven" and some really creepy guy wrote it. (I really want to dig deeper into old books like this to see how creepy of a backstory they have. Like Alice in Wonderland was written by some drunk guy, etc. lol) But this is SO GOOD!!!!
originally DNF'd, decided to really quickly finish it just to make sure I didn't miss anything that would have helped in my thesis and I didn't lol this is pretty typical, pretty unoriginal, lots of "I'm not like other girls," told in multi POVs but cant tell the dif between any of them, and pretty unmemorable.
Alright. I’ll admit that the author did a great job with world building, had a unique angle that blends well with what we know of Peter Pan tale, and her characterization of Pan was great. But I have questions Miss Authoress. Lots of them. Because things…don’t make sense.
Warning: Ranting spoilers below. Read at your own risk. :)
Reviewing Dust was a pretty daunting task because there are not enough words in the human language to describe how fantastic this story is. The characters are real and dimensional, the conflict is gripping and emotional, and the story world is convincing. I geeked out over the perfectly placed Peter Pan references and thought the story's message was personal, relatable, and needed.
The central relationship between Peter and Claire was fantastic! Both characters are incredibly complex and nuanced, and they make a dynamic (and sometimes explosive) duo. It was honest, raw, and depicted well. I can't wait for the next story to see where Peter and Claire end up.
The story felt a tad on-the-nose at certain parts, but I understand why it's there. What didn't resound with me might resound with other readers; we're all different, and we cling to different things in our stories.
But back to the fangirling. Peter was my favorite character. His brokenness made sense, and I love how honest Kara was with him. He's so unique and real. I'm really looking forward to who he becomes.
This story gets an A+ for authentic characters, fearless storytelling, and a message of hope amidst darkness. I one hundred percent recommend this book to anyone looking for the next epic Peter Pan retelling.
This book was a fantastic blend of old fashioned fairy tale and modern urban fantasy. The pacing was quick, the pov deep and the stakes high. I loved the humor and dialogue style Swanson chose for this story. But aside from all the fun, fantasy and villainry, the message of hope and a way over and through the darkness was beautifully presented and heart-touching.
But seriously … someone make Peter eat vegetables. Too many sweets is not good for a growing boy ;).
Can I just say this book is truly magical?! “Dust” by Kara Swanson is a “Peter Pan” retelling that takes place after the events of the original story, so it is also a sequel. This story has many of the whimsical, magical elements that one expects from a “Peter Pan” retelling, but it also has a darker, more gritty side to it as well.
“Dust” is truly a masterpiece. The way Ms. Swanson writes is lyrical and witty. I especially love how she portrays Peter Pan and how she writes his voice in the story. She seems to capture the Pan we all know and love—cocky, mischievous, loveable. But he is also flawed and selfish and needs to grow up. Claire, our heroine, deals with mental health issues, a rough past and not fitting in. Peter helps Claire learn that she can fly and to not let the hard stuff drag her down. Through this relationship and story, faith is explored and the need to believe in who we are and do what we were born to do. One must find the light in their shadows and always hold on to hope. These are such amazing lessons expertly woven into a gripping story that I could not put down. “Dust” kept me reading and wanting to find out what went wrong in Neverland, where Claire’s brother is and many other questions. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is the cliffhanger. I need book two; NOW! Take a step into this magical story, you will not regret it.
Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating. Some examples of the content are: a person curses, but the words aren’t actually written; a girl tries to commit suicide; talk of bullies and violent parents; reference to a drunk parent; reference to the devil; a girl has a past of cutting herself.
Rating: I give this book 5 magical stars.
I want to thank Celebrate Lit, Kara Swanson and Enclave Publishing for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
Dust is a Peter Pan retelling introducing a brand new character called Claire who desperately wants to reunite with her lost brother.
Kara takes us on a mesmerising adventure with the way she weaves her descriptions throughout the whole book and I am left speechless with her way with words. I adore well written descriptions and she had matched that expectation so well.
This is the first book in the series and it doesn't answer many of the questions I may have by reaching the end of Dust. It definitely needs the second book, Shadow, coming out in July 2021, to answer my questions and see how the story unravels!
If you like retellings and/or magic, look no further ;)
i…have mixed feelings about this book. on one hand, the writing was beautiful. on the other hand, claire was kinda annoying (i got major not like other girls vibes from her), and the story overall felt kinda flat? i didn’t appreciate the way self harm and suicide were portrayed. i would have liked to have seen them dealt with differently.
overall, this was a fun read, and i will probably read the sequel, but it wasn’t one of my favorites.
Kara Swanson delivers the most vibrant, glittering Stars and lurking, heart-wrenching Shadows in an enchanting tale.
I cannot say that Peter Pan was ever one of my childhood favorites, but Kara brings the story to such life and truly makes the characters feel so utterly magical. Reading this book made me want to read the original. And it very much made me want to read the sequel!
Man! The characters are what make this story! Peter. I simply adored Peter from the first moment I met him. He captivated me and I was sold, hook, line, and sinker! I loved watching his character unfold and I can't wait to see more of him in the sequel. He felt so alive and real. His past and his motivations, his raw fear and determination, his crazy wiles and playful nature. I loved the innocence that warred within him like a desperate plea slipping from his grasp and the hint of something deeper, more mature struggling to take root. Claire was positively magical. A girl who drips pixie dust? Count me in! Sign me up! She was so easy to identify with that it wasn't even funny. This girl was devoted to her brother, the last remnant of her family, and scarred by a broken world. She was fiercely loyal, but struggled to trust. And I loved her for it.
The Guardian fascinated me. I just loved the duality of his role and the responsibility he held in his hands, the precarious balance his inheritance demanded. I hope we see more of him and his story at some point. Lily was super cool. She was sweet and strong and not someone I ever really considered much before. Kara brings a new side of her to life that piqued my interest. And, of course, Hook and the Lost Boys at odds in a new dynamic. My heart went out to the Lost Boys. Their dynamic with Peter, that loss, betrayal, hurt, confusion, and deep-rooted companionship was the stuff of stories. I've always admired their brotherhood and seeing it brought to life in such a way was really satisfying. I know there's more to Hook's story (and I can't wait to see that croc!), and I'm honestly intrigued by his past. Definitely hoping we get a bigger glimpse into that story.
And then there are the characters to come. I'm so excited to see what the conclusion brings. The crocodile. Hopefully more pixies. Oh, man, and everyone knows I'm obsessed with Tinkerbell! I know Neverland is broken and twisted right now, but I still can't wait to see mermaids and fairies and magic and everything else Kara's dreamed up!
The story starts out in California in a Circle K. I don't know why but this just made me smile. The first few scenes from Claire's perspective were so down to earth and zoomed in. I was right there with her. We moved to London and experienced the rich, historical town from both Peter and Claire's perspectives in the modern day. We saw some iconic spots and were introduced to a few special areas unique to this particular story. I really liked the pub, actually. That was a fun bit.
Dust follows a broken girl who is searching desperately for her abducted twin brother. Claire's devotion to Conner was touching and I spent much of the book wondering if she would ever really see him again. Her desperate search brings her onto a collison course for Peter Pan, a boy trapped in a rotting world. He misses his home and he'll do anything to get back. He's facing his own battles, but I don't know that he was truly prepared to match wits with Claire. But the story is far from over. The conclusion will catapult us into the finale, and I'm so hoping it will be just as amazing as this first part!
Kara writes with such a whimsical style! It's so fun to read her writing. She uses vivid imagery and powerful language to create an intense ride of a story. Reading her work is like being washed away by a wave to a whole new world in sharp focus. She fills her stories with magic and hope and contrasts dark and light, heavy and lightweight. The idea of flying in this story was almost tangible. I could practically taste the freedom Peter and Claire so yearned for. It truly is unique and captivating.
The story does not have any foul language, though Peter swears some and some of his British phrases may be considered swearing in some areas. I personally loved his quips, but that may just be me. There is very little violence, though some flashbacks allude to violent memories and the characters are clearly emotionally scarred (and physically in some cases). The romance is sweet and subtle. There are a few kisses, but nothing graphic or explicit. The themes are strong and there is a lot of dark vs. light in the novel. The characters deal with worth and regret, anger and hurt. They face dark pasts and challenge an uncertain future. I'd be comfortable giving this to a teen.
Note: I was given an advanced reader copy in order to post an early review. Also, can't wait to put this beauty on my shelf when it finally releases!
This book is the most magical and meaningful book I have ever read. Which is saying a lot because I read more than Belle and Hermione combined!!!
I was captivated from page one of this story and delighted throughout.
The Peter Pan character in this book is such a glorious hybrid of the classic Peter we all know and love and a Peter that is current and original and exciting. He's daring, and whimsical, and hilarious and he is also troubled in a way that is interesting and endearing. Every scene with Peter is a delightful adventure.
Claire is everything I want in a heroine. She is intelligent, brave, resourceful and curious. I was deeply touched by how fearful of her own magic Claire was. As someone who has often felt misunderstood, I was greatly inspired and empowered by Claire's character arc, which is beautifully written. My own light is shining brighter because of the time I spent with Claire.
I loved all the characters in the book, but will keep their identities secret so you can have the joy of discovering them yourself.
The plot is amazing. I am a Developmental Editor and so am very particular in assessing whether or not an author does justice to their clever concept. I had extremely high expectations when it came to DUST and Kara Swanson exceeded them in every way.
Swanson's imagery is beautiful and her descriptions are so vivid that I felt as if I were experiencing the sights, smells, and tastes along with the characters.
There are so many wonderful magical moments in this book that it is impossible to pick a favorite. I have read this story multiple times and have found something new to love each time.
The magic your heart is longing for awaits you in this book!