Friday, 3 March 2017

Review: Shadowplay

Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Old magics are waking. But will the world survive their return?

Micah Grey almost died when he fled the circus with Drystan - now he and the ex-clown seek to outrun disaster. Drystan persuades his old friend Jasper Maske, a once-renowned magician, to take them in. But when he agrees to teach them his trade, Maske is challenged to the ultimate high-stakes duel by his embittered arch-nemesis.

Micah must perfect his skills of illusion, while navigating a tender new love. An investigator is also hunting the person he once seemed to be - a noble family's runaway daughter. As the duel draws near, Micah increasingly suffers from visions showing him real magic and future terrors. Events that broke the ancient world are being replayed. But can Micah's latent powers influence this deadly pattern?

Okay guys, Shadowplay doesn't mess around! We jump in near enough right where Pantomime left off. Micah and Drystan are fleeing through the streets and they go to an old acquaintance of Drystan's. I really enjoyed this sequel, I'm not going to lie. I love how the author has handled Micah, he's been so well created and brought to life in the pages, and I enjoyed that the author hasn't made him in to a gimmick, she's treated him seriously and I love reading about him! 

The first book focused heavily on Micah and how he fared after running away from home, working out who he is, his struggles and so on. We got loads of Circus, but it wasn't huge in to the fantasy stuff, I enjoyed the parts of the world we got to see and the hints of the history and so on. I feel like in this book, the world the story is set in opened up more. We got to see more of it, we got more of the history in flashbacks which I thought was a fun way to handle it, rather than info dumping. It kept it fresh! Micah's circle know all about him, so there aren't quite the same struggles, and I focused on the plot more. Before reading Pantomime I had never come across a character like Micah before, and in no way is this a bad thing, but I feel like I was a little more focused on Micah in the first book than the story because I was interested in him. I'm still interested in him in this book, but I feel like Pantomime let us really get to know him, and in this book, we know Micah. We still get some curveballs, he's still interesting, but he's not new to me anymore if that makes sense? 

Shadowplay was very atmospheric and I felt it was very vivid, I had a good picture in my head of what the settings looked like both in the present and in the past. The pace was good. The plot really does thicken in this book. We get some questions answers, and we get left with more questions as we start to work through all the mysteries that have been left behind by the Alder and the Chimaera. I loved getting to see more of the world of the book, and more of the history as it fascinated me so much. I really feel like in Pantomime we where looking through a little peephole at the world of the book, and in this book we're looking with both eyes at the entire picture. 

We get two new characters, Cyan and Jasper Maske as well as a couple of others but I haven't quite figured out the other two new ones, or three actually. Although I'm 99% sure the Princess is what I think she is. I'm not sure I trust Lily or the Doctor, but we'll see. I spent the entire book reading about Cyan and Maske and really liking them and really wanting them to be trustworthy. Cyan was a lot of fun, and she had her own interesting gifts, and she and Micah become quite intertwined as the story progresses. Maske is a magician, and he's taken in these strays and is teaching them magic. I really felt for the poor guy more than once. But like Micah I spent most of the book waiting for the other shoe to drop! I was loving the little group vibe Drystan, Micah and Cyan had going on, figuring things out and so on. 

I'm not going to lie, I was immensely happy to see my ship sailing. I'd been lowkey shipping them during the first book but I really loved Micah's previous relationship and was devastated with how it ended but that clown was just lurking around and giving me the warm and fuzzies here and there. I loved Drystan in the first book, but I was never entirely sure about him. He has a lot of secrets and while we do get to learn more about him in this book, it's not much and I'm fairly certain he's still hiding things, but we'll see. I do really enjoy he and Micah though. 

You know what else I enjoyed? Some old school magic. Oh yeah. Magicians. Card tricks. Doves out of hats. All that stuff, but with some little twists here and there to make these big elaborate magic shows. I really loved it. Usually in a fantasy book magic is like fire, snow, water and so on. Or something the person just has. So I really enjoyed the focus this book had on magicians and illusions and so on. Personally, I thought it was a lot of fun. 

Shadowplay is a great continuation of the series, we get to see the bigger picture that is the world of the book, we get to see the imaginative and original quirks to it, as well as learn more of it's history. There's romance, there's magic and magicians, there's action and a Shadow lurking around. Micah gains some friends to share the burden with, as a bigger plot is hinted at. There's more plot twists, and a surprising ending that leaves you wanting more. 


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