Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: Shadowplay (Pantomime #2) by Laura Lam

Release date: January 2, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 400
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley

The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.

He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates.

People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus–the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he’s perfecting…

A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.
Shadowplay absolutely solidifies my complete love and admiration for this series. Not only do the mythology and world grow, but it's all set behind a stunning story of love, trust, and family--with magic!

Beginning almost immediately after Pantomime ended, Micah and Drystan are on the run, searching desperately for somewhere safe to stay. They come to Jasper Maske, a man Drystan knows from his secret past, and his Kymri Theatre. And though Drystan trusts Maske, Micah is less keen to do so. In order to make money to leave Ellada, Micah and Drystan begin to learn magic from Maske. Soon, Maske's old rival has challenged them to a duel that could restore Maske's once stellar reputation and give Micah and Drystan the means to leave the country. Even with this on their plates, Micah and Drystan are being pursued by more than one mysterious person, and Micah is coming to learn there is more magic in their world than ever imagined.

If you read this book (series, really) for no other reason, read it for Micah and his situation. (In an attempt not to reveal spoilers for those who haven't read the first book, it is a "situation".) It is unique and not something I've seen anywhere else, but that's not why it's so special to this series. What makes this series so special is the treatment. Never does the situation feel exploitative or there for shock value. And Micah's journey into acceptance is lovely and truly wonderful. He comes to feel comfortable in his skin, just as he is.

Part of this comfort stems from his relationship with Drystan, and this whole romance plot line is, honestly, beautiful, yet understated and slow. Drystan seems to take rather a backseat to Cyan, which makes sense given that she needs introduction like Drystan got in the first book, but there would have been no complaints had he been around a lot more. That being said, Cyan is an interesting character herself, with just as many secrets and as much history as the rest.

There is quite a lot revealed in this book, not only explaining certain moments from the first book but also setting up for the final book. We see a lot of Chimera and learn a lot about them and how they disappeared. It's obvious most people can't be trusted, and this should all lead into an explosive finale.

If you haven't read Pantomime, I thoroughly recommend that changes soon. (I've attempted to avoid spoilers for the first book, in the hopes that anyone who sees this will go and read it! Hence vagueness.) Shadowplay is a worthy sequel that expounds on everything set up in the first book and brings new strings into the fold. It reveals new characters and love. It is mysterious and magical. Read it, eh?

About the author:

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside of the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.

She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

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