Saturday, 18 January 2014

Shadowplay by Laura Lam **Review**

Shadowplay by Laura Lam
Series: Pantomime #2
Pages: 400
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release date: 17th December 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for my review copy

Goodreads synopsis:
This is the second book in the Pantomime series. If you've not read book one, this synopsis and review will contain spoilers.

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.

Wow. Just wow.
I'd been so excited to read this sequel to Pantomime that I started reading it almost as soon as I was approved for a review eBook. The first book was incredible, and I have to admit that I was a bit scared that the second book would not be as good. I need not have worried though - if anything, it was better!

Micah's life had been turned completely upside-down by the events of the first book, especially by the devastating events that provided the dramatic climax, so I was desperate to know how his life was going to have changed in the second novel, and how he and Drystan, the white clown, were going to survive with all that had happened. When they end up finding their way to the Kymri theatre, owned by an old magician that Drystan knew and worked with years earlier, I was ecstatic; we were going from the fantastical and slightly sinister world of the circus, into the realm of magic! Who could not be excited by that?!
Maske, the owner of the Kymri theatre, decides that he can trust Micah and Drystan and invites them to take shelter in the theatre. But all is not quite well. Not only are they still pursued by the law, strange things are still happening to Micah. The Phantom Damselfly is still speaking to him, but the visions are getting more intense, and he feels less in control of them. Bit despite this, Micah insists that he and Drystan should learn and perform magic under the tutoring and guidance of Maske, so that they might earn enough money to escape should they need to, and pay their way in return for the safe place Maske has provided for them while they're in hiding. He agrees and even provides them with a very clever disguise.
So many things happen in this book - if I listed everything, it might sound a bit chaotic (which might perfectly describe Micah and Drystan's life) - but the way that Laura strings the events of the novel together stops it from feeling so. It's fast-paced and thrilling, and often had me on the edge of my seat, but everything seemed to fall perfectly into place and nothing felt rushed.

Aside from the exciting new life that Micah and Drystan are leading at the theatre, and the alarming new revelations with the Phantom Damselfly, I also particularly enjoyed how the relationship between them was developing. I love both of their characters, but I have felt for Micah from the very beginning of the series, and really want to see him happy. Drystan seems to be the only one who can make him feel that way, at least at the beginning, and in the right way. Micah has people he knows in his life, but not that many people he feels he can trust completely. I watched with delight as their relationship got closer to that point.
Another character that they were introduced to, who I ended up falling for, was Cyan, the assistant that Maske bought into the theatre, despite Micah and Drystan's protests of not trusting another outsider. At first, I wasn't sure she was trustworthy, but with each thing I learnt about her, I loved her all the more. I really hope she continues to play a large part in the third book!

I'm so excited for the third book in this series. It has proven itself to be one of the most exciting, and certainly most unique fantasy series I've ever come across and I couldn't recommend it more!
If you haven't already read Pantomime, I urge you to do so and if you have and are waiting for Shadowplay to be released, get it as soon as you possibly can. I can assure you you won't be disappointed!
A rich, beautiful and sometimes frightening fantasy world perfect for anyone looking for something totally new and unique. It will surprise, mystify and shock you at every turn, and you won't want it to end!


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