Shadowplay is the sequel to Pantomime and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
Micah Grey is on the run from the circus, with Drystan, the white clown, in tow. Determined not to be returned to his noble family, he takes refuge with the once great magician, Jasper Maske. As he learns the tricks of the trade, he also starts to understand that magic is more than just an illusion and it’s real.
Parts of Shadowplay reminded me of The Prestige, with old style illusionists gripped in an ancient grudge. I loved the atmosphere of the theatre and the images conjured up by their performances. Yes, in the first book Micah/Gene ran away to join the circus and now he’s run away to join a magic show. Though life seems a little easier this time round.
Whilst Micah spent a lot of time in Pantomime worrying what other people thought of him, this is much more about acceptance. More people know his secret and everyone is accepting. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling about the story, despite there being darker aspects.
Of course, Micah is still in hiding and desperate to stay out of the reach of the Shadow on his tail. But he also wants to learn more about Kedi and what that means about him. I’m starting to identify Micah/Gene as a young man in my head, because I think that’s how he identifies himself, but there are still aspects of Gene sneaking through, especially in the narrative voice.
The unfolding relationship between Micah and Drystan is lovely and chaste and completely believable. I loved the moments when they curled up in bed together.
It’s a worthy follow up to the utterly fantastic Pantomime. It had a lot to live up to, and like many second books, it’s not quite as good as the first, but if you loved the first book, do carry on and read Shadowplay too. Whilst there is a bit more on the Vestige, I think I wanted more magic, something I suspect we’ll see in the future.
Shadowplay is published by Strange Chemistry and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 4th January 2014. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley and keep your eyes out for the blog tour, coming soon.
Also reviewed @ Uncorked Thoughts
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.