Books, Coffee, Fantasy, Intersex/m, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk

[Book Review] Shadowplay By Laura Lam & Gypsy Espresso The Magician

“I was raised as a girl, but now I live as a boy. But I am both.”

Shadowplay By Laura LamTitle: Shadowplay
Series: Micah Grey, Book 2
Author: Laura Lam
Publisher: Strange Chemistry Books
Publication date: January 7th 2014
Page Count: 400 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult (mild violence, mentions of death, and non-explicit mentions of intimacy)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Shadowplay

The sequel to Pantomime

The circus lies behind Micah Grey in dust and ashes.

He and the white clown, Drystan, take refuge with the once-great magician, Jasper Maske. When Maske agrees to teach them his trade, his embittered rival challenges them to a duel which could decide all of their fates. People also hunt both Micah and the person he was before the circus–the runaway daughter of a noble family. And Micah discovers there is magic and power in the world, far beyond the card tricks and illusions he’s perfecting…

A tale of phantom wings, a clockwork hand, and the delicate unfurling of new love, Shadowplay continues Micah Grey’s extraordinary journey.

My Review

It was love at first page.

Shadowplay is set in a world where stage magic and real magic touch, where steampunk, fantasy, and science fiction combine to make a completely absorbing world that draws you in and immerses you in the story unfolding before you. Micah and Drystan are on the run from events that took place in the previous book and are taken in by a magician, Jasper Maske, who agrees to teach them stage magic. Through Maske, the two make a new friend – Cyan. Cyan is different, not exactly like Micah, but with her own unique secrets. Cyan and Micah find out just how similar, and special, they are when a being from the past reaches out to them both and asks for their help to stop a terrible history from repeating.

The story is told through Micah’s first person perspective and he describes himself best when he says: “I was raised as a girl, but now I live as a boy. But I am both.” Micah is both fully male and fully female at the same time. The additional layer of gender identity weaved within this story of murders, magic, and machinery is very well done and I loved it. Micah’s romance with Drystan moved at a good pace with what felt like a natural and inevitable progression, not jumped into like we see in a lot of YA books. I found the characters in this book fascinating and original, different and unique, yet completely relatable.

Shadowplay is the second book in the Micah Grey series, and although I haven’t read the first book (Pantomime), I never felt lost. The world building is fantastically done and all the needed details are peppered in organically. I still want to read the first one, if only because this story was so engrossing that I want to get my hands on more. Shadowplay ends in a cliffhanger, which I’m not all that in to, but at least it assures me there is more to come in the world of Micah Grey and I find comfort in that.

This was a gorgeous read and I adored it from beginning to end. Even though I’ve read it in an e-format, I’m moved to go out a get a paper copy just so I can physically own a hard copy – I loved it that much. I highly recommend it and I plan to get my hands on the first book in this series as soon as I’m able.

Gypsy Espresso The Magician – a dark coffee blend with a smoky, spicy quality reminiscent of exotic incense filling the air and leaving behind a swirling tendril of the mystic in its wake, similar to what I imagine the atmosphere inside the Kymri Theatre to be like as one watches Maske’s Marionettes performing their magic act on stage.

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