Dust by Kara Swanson – Review


By Kara Swanson

Genre: Fantasy/Retelling

Publication Date: July 21st, 2020

Content Warnings: None

Enclave Publishing


My Review:

Taking a dive into Neverland has never felt so…sad. Lonely. Adventurous. Real.

Kara Swanson’s new book, Dust, is a retelling of Peter Pan, taking the innocent story for children and turning into something darker. Something more grown-up. Claire Kenton, an orphan and a girl with a gift that she doesn’t understand, wants one thing in life–to get her brother back. She doesn’t know where he is, or if he’s even still alive. All she knows is that he was kidnapped by Peter Pan.

All Peter wants is to return to Neverland. Since a catastrophe that left him and many other iconic characters such as Hook, Tigerlily, and the pixies, stranded in London, he has grown from a boy to a teenager. And he longs to return before he loses his childhood forever.

The narrative of the story launches quickly into Claire’s adventures and her search for her brother. Dust is lined with mysteries that left me hungering to know more, and magic that left me smiling. While the tone of Dust is more adult than the story of Peter Pan ever was, it still holds notes of that childlike innocence that draws the reader in.
Swanson’s characters are given depth, as each struggle with their own internal battles–Claire suffers from depression and self-hatred. Pan is running from his past. And both are pursuing a path to Neverland for their own reasons.

Overall, Dust is a heavy read, dealing with modern issues with grace and forgiveness. I really enjoyed the retelling, but ached somewhat at the childlike innocence taken from it. Still, it was a delightful book, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves Peter Pan, fantasy, retellings, and stories that deal with mental health.

I Rate It: 4 stars


About the Book:

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.


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.

Swanson is the award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See and Peter Pan retelling/sequel Dust (Enclave Publishing, July 2020).

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.

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