Shadowplay. Book Review

shadowplay-coverSHADOWPLAY by Laura Lam
Strange Chemistry, p/b, 400pp, £7.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

There is no time to think about what happened when he fled the circus. No time to dwell on what he did and the trouble he is in, pursued by the policiers and the Shadow. Micah is on the streets of Imachara, a runaway once again, the circus and the happiness he found in his new life left behind. His only hope now is the white clown, and the magician he is leading them to.

Jasper Maske was one of Ellada’s greatest magicians until a feud meant he could no longer practice magic. Now he lives in the old theatre with only his vestige and automaton for company. That is, until his old acquaintance turns up in a dubious state with a young boy in tow. If they want his help, and if they want to learn Maske’s secrets, they will have to trust him with theirs.

Shadowplay continues Micah’s story immediately where Pantomime left off and seamlessly moves the action from the circus to the magician’s theatre without losing any of the mystery and tension that book one built up. Micah’s strength as a protagonist is retained and the voice in which he tells his story remains consistent, connecting the reader with him at a deep level.

The layers of lies that Micah has used to protect himself continue to expand and his life and identity become ever more complicated as a result. Without giving away too many details, in this book Micah learns more about himself, his companion, and the world he inhabits, while once again having to make a new place for himself in it. New key characters enrich the dynamic and the combination of pace and beauty of the prose, like Pantomime, elevate Shadowplay above similar books.

Ellada is such a richly created world that it immediately draws the reader in. This is the kind of book you can lose yourself in for hours, exploring its magics and intrigues, spending time getting to know its characters and their secrets. It is the kind of story you are reluctant to leave behind when you reach the end and long to read again. Shadowplay is another intoxicating volume in a series that will be celebrated and enjoyed for a long time to come.