Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Shadowplay (Pantomime #2) by Laura Lam - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Shadowplay (Pantomime #1)
Author: Laura Lam
Publication Date: January 7, 2014

Ashley's Shadowplay (#2) Pre-Reading
Synopsis: 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.


Review: I loved Pantomime. I thought it was new and refreshing and exciting, and I loved basically everything about it. So Shadowplay had quite a bit to live up to. And it did not disappoint in any way! 

I was pleasantly surprised that the excitement and intrigue of the circus in Pantomime was just as excellently done in a stage magic setting. Real magic is intertwined with slights of hand and illusions, and it just leads to an incredible backdrop for Micah's continuing adventures. I often felt like I was right there with Micah, learning the tricks and experiencing this new, unfamiliar world. I didn't think there was much more world building to be done, but Laura somehow managed to create a world within a world, and to expand upon Ellada and the rest of the archipelago. Incredible. 

While we get to see Micah and Drystan change and grow and flourish, we are also introduced to a menagerie of new characters. Cyan is so interesting, and I loved finding out pieces of her life. She has just as many secrets, if not more, than Micah, and I really enjoyed finding them out with Micah. Maske is also really interesting, and I think he was my favorite new character in Shadowplay. His past is riddled with sadness and mistakes, but Micah, Drystan, and Cyan help him to move through that and focus on the present and the future. I loved their interactions and the friendships that were formed. 

Speaking of the characters, the diversity that Laura includes in her characters is ridiculous. I don't think I've ever seen such a diverse group of people come together for common goals as I have throughout Pantomime and especially Shadowplay. Serious props for that, I think it's one of my favorite parts of the whole series so far. Besides the ridiculous world-building and the engrossing plot, of course. Their diversity makes the story just seem so real, even if it is fantasy.

Shadowplay definitely does NOT have that second-book syndrome, and is a must read for fans of Pantomime! I would also recommend this series to anyone looking for an excellent YA fantasy full of magic and intrigue and secrets and world-building and basically just a fantastic series. You don't want to miss these books. Go get them now! 5/5! 


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