The Curse
by Xenanique Clarke

"This is what he wants, and what Pan wants, Pan gets."

Zylan has been living on the Island for over 540 years with Pan and the other rescued teens. They’re free to spend their days practicing magic, never aging, and never coming to any real harm. While most of the inhabitants are grateful, Zylan holds a grudge against Pan for ruining her life. As she works to reveal the truth about Pan, she finds herself in the center of a tangled history dating back five centuries and the real reason why Neverland exists. But danger is fast approaching the Island, and Zylan has to make a choice.

Blending adventure, magic, and a little romance together to put a new, modern twist on the lore of Peter Pan and Neverland, the biggest deviation in this story is the age and gender of the rescued. Pan brings both boys and girls in their teenage years to the Island, sending the message that young adults are worth saving. Here, the lore gets dark. Many of the rescued young adults are victims of abuse or neglect. The Island represents a second chance, much like Neverland is an escape from those horrors. There is, of course, relationship drama present on the Island, which tends to bog down the story somewhat. But what’s more interesting is how the inhabitants behave and grow without the pressures of their old societies, free from the people or things that hurt them. The magic in the story is also a strong, consistent element throughout. It follows the rules of having a price, which is part of Pan’s struggle. The story doesn’t really explore the origins of Neverland and the current curse, but one can assume that will be fleshed out in full in the sequel.

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