SERIES: Micah Grey, #2
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA, Fantasy
REPRESENTATION: Genderfluid Intersex Bisexual MC, Bisexual Love Interest
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?
Shadowplay continues the Micah Grey trilogy, following on from Pantomime. Shadowplay picks up almost exactly after Pantomime left off, with Micah and Drystan on on the run and accused of murder.
The setting shifts from Ragona’s Circus to Jasper Maske’s run-down theatre.
In this book the cast is much smaller — tighter — due to the fact that none of the circus performers come with us, but there are two interesting new additions. Maske is a ruined, slightly shady, stage magician turned charlatan clairvoyant from Drystan’s past. He takes Micah and Drystan in when they’ve nowhere else to go and opens up new possibilities for them. Cyan is more of an age with Micah and Drystan, but is hiding secrets of her own, and joins the trio as a magician’s assistant. Both were great characters. Although Drystan was important in Pantomime, I wouldn’t have called him more than a supporting character. He definitely steps up in this novel and we find out a lot more about his past and personality.
Personally, my favourite things about Shadowplay were the magic and the atmosphere. They bland together and work perfectly in tandem. I don’t mean the fantasy elements (although they’re interesting too) but the old school stage-magic, senances and card tricks. This slightly disreputable job, in Maske’s abandoned theatre, lent the whole book a kind of musty, moth-eaten, vintage feeling that I absolutely loved.
And of course, like Pantomime, the whole thing comes together in a dramatic high-stakes performance: a public magical competition against Maske’s oldest rival.