Thursday, 19 December 2013

Review: Shadowplay by Laura Lam

Title: Shadowplay (Pantomime #2)
Author: Laura Lam
Release date: January 7th 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 267
Source: 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.

I absolutely adored Laura Lam's debut novel, Pantomime, and I didn't think its sequel could top it. But man, was I wrong! Shadowplay is just as amazing, if not better. Even though the circus setting is gone, the magic is still there, and things get a whole lot more fantastical.

Laura's writing is impeccable, and that vivid magical element she had in Pantomime is still there in this one. Shadowplay picks up right where Pantomime left off, with Micah and Drystan on the run. They go to the only person Drystan can trust - Jasper Maske, a magician and ex-performer. As Maske teaches the two of them his tricks and illusions, Micah discovers a lot about who he really is, and what his purpose is. He also finds strength and comfort in Drystan, though they're both cautious when it comes to their being together. Danger is still lurking everywhere, and a lot of unanswered questions from the first novel are cleared up in this. While adding more, of course.

Micah's definitely becoming more comfortable with who he is in one way, but in terms of his abilities, things are still confusing. Also, I keep switching between thinking of him as Micah and Gene. Usually when there are moments with Drystan, I imagine Gene. I don't know why, traditional thinking I guess. But Gene is clearly diminishing, and Micah is getting more confident, which I really liked. I hope we get to find out more about his powers in the next book, because I'm left with so many questions after this one!

And oh my god guys, Drystan. He's honestly one of the best YA characters I've come across. We didn't get to see enough of him in Pantomime, but we definitely get loads of him in Shadowplay. He's still enigmatic, but we get to find out his story. And it's not a pretty one, but it made me empathize with him so much, and my heart totally went out to him. I love that he's always so calm in a crisis, and that he supports Micah through everything. Drystan's good, honest, and kind. He's like a pillar of support for those around him, and I can imagine that anyone would feel comfortable with him. Drystan's got his own demons to battle, but I have complete faith that he'll get past everything he's had to deal with.

There are a few new characters in this book, primarily Maske and Cyan. Cyan's an assisstant that Maske hires on account of the fact that he's known her forever, and she turns out to be really interesting with quite a few secrets of her own. The relationship dynamics in this book are great, and I loved how the characters interacted with one another, wondering if they should trust or not.

Some parts are definitely confusing and hard to understand, mostly the stuff centering around the damselfly we met in Pantomime. There's a lot more of her in this, and we find out her importance in everything. There's also quite a bit about the Alder and the Chimaera, which I found really intriguing. Though I missed the circus atmosphere, I really enjoyed the darker and mystical magic-centered setting as well. And I'm now wondering what the next book will bring.

This series is a must-read for all fantasy lovers. I literally couldn't put this one down! Shadowplay is captivating and enticing, with the most complex characters you'll ever come across. I loved every bit of this, and I'm now impatiently waiting for the next installment.

One of my favourite quotes from the eARC copy - 

Drystan centered me. No matter how much we scrabbled for purchase, our world continued to crumble about us. So we held onto each other and let the world fade away.

*Thank you to Strange Chemistry for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 5/5

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