Shadow by Kara Swanson (book review)


Hey, y’all! Sam here with a review of Shadow by Kara Swanson.

I got Dust, the first book in the duology, as an early reader copy a year ago with very high expectations. If you’ve read my previous review of that book, you know those expectations were not met. However, the book wasn’t completely horrible. It at least deserved to stars.

So I decided to give Shadow a chance, thinking that maybe it could redeem the duology. Except… no. This is the second most disappointed I’ve ever been about a book.

Here’s the blurb:

“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 veinsโ€”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.”

Now, let me go ahead and start with the thing I hated most about this story: it ruined Peter Pan. The character who used to be all fun, love, and fight is now considered the antagonist of the story. Without spoiling it, I can say that this was hinted to become the case in Dust, the prequel, but I never thought it’d go so far. See, in the first book, Peter Pan directly lied to the protagonist, Claire. Like, big-time lied. I thought maybe in this book we’d see a redemption. We’d seem him apologize and help Claire beat Captain Hook. The thing is, as the story progresses, Swanson makes it out as though Hook isn’t actually the bad guy. The book justifies all of his reasons for the evil he’s done. The book makes it so Hook is only bad because of how evil Peter Pan truly is.

Okay, I like a good retelling. Don’t get me wrong. But when you do a retelling, you can’t just make the original character evil like that! It just got on my nerves so much, y’all. SMH.

And the second thing that ticked me off… Claire. The protagonist of this story, Claire Kenton, is painted as this absolute perfect angel. She’s basically flawless. And her job is to make Peter Pan realize how evil he truly is. I- Y’all- I’m sorry. Claire just gets on my nerves! At least in the first book she was flawed. She had fears, she had desires…. But in this book? No. Her sole job is to make Pan realize he’s actually been the true villain of the story all along. Well, I suppose maybe she has one other job: being the stunningly gorgeous fairy-girl who has Pan falling all over her because of sexual attraction.

Now for the third thing that ruined the story: the magic. If it weren’t for this one factor, this book maybe could’ve been an enjoyable read. But the magic wasn’t magical–it was dark. The book got so… demonic that I almost couldn’t keep reading. The descriptions of what this dark magic did to people could also be used to describe literal demons. This wasn’t a factor that ticked me off like the other two things I mentioned. No. This physically disturbed me. Unfortunately, there’s really no way I can further describe how dark this was without potentially spoiling the story. So I’ll just use three works: evil, disturbing, and demonic.

That’s really all I have to say. I really wish this book had been better. But despite the bad experience I’ve had with this duology, I’ll still be giving “The Girl Who Could See,” Kara Swanson’s other book, a shot. Keep on the lookout for that review ๐Ÿ˜‰

That’s all for today! Overall, Shadow gets 1 of 5 stars. Sam out!

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