Book two in the Pantomime series
By Laura Lam
Available now from Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot)
Read my review of Pantomime
PANTOMIME was one of my favorite books last year. I even nominated it for the Cybils, where it is now a finalist. SHADOWPLAY picks up right where PANTOMIME leaves off, with Micah and Drystan on the run and looking for a place to stay. It had been awhile since I'd read PANTOMIME, so I was a bit lost at sea until I read further and things started coming back to me.
Laura Lam really ramps up the worldbuilding in SHADOWPLAY. Much more is explained about the Phantom Damselfly and her history as well as how it connects to Micah. A new character, Cyan, is introduced. Her story intersects with Micah and Drystan's in a much deeper way than it would appear when she first joins them. The three become apprentices to a magician, Jasper Maske, all hiding in plain side and developing skills of illusion. It continues and transforms the circus theme of PANTOMIME. Plus, Maske gets them tangled up in a magician's duel, which is cool in an entirely different way from ancient magic and hiding from shady bounty hunters.
As for Micah's personal journey, he's much more comfortable with who he is and his body. (I'm using male pronouns in this review because Micah presents himself as a male during most of SHADOWPLAY.) He still has to deal with the emotional fallout from the events at the climax of PANTOMIME as well as his growing closer to the mysterious Drystan. (And yes, a great deal of Drystan's past is revealed.) It feels like a very natural progression, and a welcome one. Micah is growing up, which is good since he has some big decisions ahead of him.
I don't think SHADOWPLAY would make much sense to someone who hasn't read PANTOMIME. In fact, trying as I have to not spoil anything, I doubt this review makes much sense to someone who hasn't read PANTOMIME. So read PANTOMIME and then SHADOWPLAY because this series is full speed ahead. Lam drops a couple of plot twists in the last chapter that put the final pieces in to play. I can't wait to see how this series ends!